Dushkin Award recipient Joshua Bell, Honorary Gala Chair George Gingold, and Music Institute of Chicago President and CEO Mark George. Photo by Jennifer Girard

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The Music Institute of Chicago, one of the nation’s oldest and largest community music schools, welcomed more than 350 guests to its 86th anniversary gala last month. The event raised more than $850,000 from a combination of table sponsorships, ticket sales, and outright contributions.

The evening included an elegant dinner and awards presentation. Musical performances took place throughout the evening and featured young musicians from Music Institute outreach, Community Music School and Academy programs. At the end of the evening, Dushkin Award recipient Joshua Bell surprised guests with a performance of Bach’s Concerto for Two Violins, Strings and Continuo in D Minor alongside Music Institute students.

The Dushkin Award, established 30 years ago and named for the Music Institute’s founders, Dorothy and David Dushkin, recognizes international luminaries in the world of music for their contributions to the art form, as well as to the education of youth.

The Music Institute also presented its seventh annual Cultural Visionary Award for Chicago, which recognizes individuals who have provided visionary philanthropic and civic leadership for the broad spectrum of arts in Chicago and Illinois, to Lois M. and Harrison I. Steans.

In addition, the Music Institute acknowledged the nearly 40-year legacy of violin and viola faculty Roland and Almita Vamos with the Richard D. Colburn Award for Teaching Excellence, an annual award to faculty members who exemplify the high standard of excellence Colburn demonstrated in his many musical endeavors.