Music institute to hold 28th annual Gala Concert

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Students of MILI prepare for the upcoming gala concert at Carnegie Hall. (Left to right) Sayaka Inatome, Izzah Nazzir, Jason Liu, Samantha Shea. (Photo courtesy of Geri Kushner)

Celebrating its 28th year as a music school and precollege program, the Music Institute of Long Island will hold its 2018 Gala Concert on Monday, June 25, in Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall.

Sixty-four students will perform pieces from composers such as Vivaldi and Tchaikovsky in front of a crowd of hundreds. The students playing range in age from 4 to 18, in addition to some returning alumni.

The institute, on Plandome Road in Manhasset, offers classes in violin, viola, cello, double bass, guitar, piano, jazz piano, flute, clarinet, saxophone, trumpet, trombone, tuba and voice.

“This is a very unique concert as it will feature several exceptional soloists and a variety of chamber music groups,” sisters Carol and Geri Kushner, the directors and founders of the institute, said in an email.

“There is just so much talent here,” said Geri Kushner. “Our students actually want to be here because they love it. They come from Queens to Nassau to all the way out in Suffolk County. Our students want to come here and they love classical music. That’s what makes our program so special.”

Quartets, soloists and large groups will perform. Many of the students who are graduating have been in the institute since they were 3 years old.

Sherri Shi started with MILI in the piano program when she was 4. Immediately, she began to win competitions along the East Coast. Shi later learned how to play the flute and violin, and received all-state recognition in both in her senior year. She will continue her musical journey this fall at the University of Pennsylvania.

“Shi is a perfect example of someone who has been with us since she was in our beginner’s music appreciation class for 3- and 4-year-olds. She’s grown into a very humble, talented young woman,” Geri Kushner said. Shi will be a violin soloist at the gala concert.

“We do many concerts throughout the year, such as nursing homes and cerebral palsy help centers, to perform live music for those who can’t, but we do this gala concert to include as many kids as we can,” said Geri Kushner. Over a dozen groups will perform.

The institute was established in 1990 by the sisters, acclaimed musicians who have studied with music professors such as Raphael Bronstein, Ivan Galamian and Yfrah Neaman.

Carol received her Bachelor of Music degree from the Manhattan School of Music and later taught at multiple institutions throughout New York City, Long Island and Mexico. Geri received her Bachelor of Music degree from the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College. Since then, she has taught and directed at Hofstra University and the Dalton School in Manhattan. She has toured in the metropolitan area, Mexico, England and Japan.

When asked about the future of the music institute, Geri Kushner said, “I think we just have so many passionate students here that classical music will never really die out. This is the 28th year as a music school, and we intend on keeping this tradition alive for much, much longer.”

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