Cedille Records Honors Merit School of Music with the Cedille 2017 Musical Partnership Award

Merit School of Music President and Executive Director Charles Grode addresses guests at Cedille Soiree 2017 after accepting Cedille Records’ 2017 Musical Partnership Award on behalf of Merit (photo by Elliot Mandel)


Cedille Records honored Chicago’s Merit School of Music with its 2017 Musical Partnership Award at its Cedille Soiree2017 benefit on Sunday, September 10. The event took place at Venue Six10 at the Spertus Institute in downtown Chicago.

Honoring the top Chicago community music school was a highlight of the evening, which attracted distinguished Merit alums DeMarre and Anthony McGill, principal flute of the Seattle Symphony Orchestra and principal clarinet of the New York Philharmonic respectively, who were on hand as Merit President and Executive Director Charles Grode accepted the award on behalf of the organization.

“Cedille Records is thrilled to honor Merit School of Music with this year’s Musical Partnership Award, which honors organizations that have demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to strengthening Chicago’s vibrant and diverse classical music community through their support of local musicians,” said Cedille Records founder and president James Ginsburg. “Merit’s dedication to enriching lives through music education has a profound impact not only on the lives of its students, but on Chicago’s cultural community as a whole.”

​“We are honored that Cedille chose to recognize Merit’s work and are so pleased that the organization is putting a spotlight on the importance of music and partnerships across Chicago, and on Merit’s distinctive contribution,” responded Grode. “Merit is unique in its combined focus on core values of excellence and inclusion. This means we provide access to excellent teaching for a student body that reflects the diversity of our city – so that young people of all ethnicities and socioeconomic circumstances have the opportunity to achieve their full potential in and through music.” 

​Merit School of Music is a nationally accredited music school helping young people transform their lives by removing barriers to high-quality music education. Merit frequently partners with artists and peer organizations, such as Cedille, to promote music education. For example, Cedille artists Lincoln Trio, Chicago’s acclaimed chamber music ensemble, have served as resident artists at Merit for several years, leading master classes and mentoring the 300+ students enrolled in the Alice S. Pfaelzer Tuition-Free Conservatory, the school’s highest level of music instruction.

Cedille has also used Merit’s Anne and Howard Gottlieb Hall as a recording studio for some of its top-performing classical albums, including several by Merit alums and faculty. In fact, Cedille Records artist, internationally acclaimed baritone Thomas Hampson, will record a new album in Merit’s Gottlieb Hall at the end of October. At that time, he will also offer a master class for Merit’s solo voice students, which will be free and open to the public. 

Cedille Soiree 2017 opened with a performance by The McGill/McHale Trio, comprising the McGill brothers and pianist Michael McHale. The trio debuted selections from their new Cedille Records release “Portraits – Works for Flute, Clarinet and Piano.”

​Acclaimed pianist Jorge Federico Osorio also performed, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg added star power when she presented Cedille’s Martin D. Ginsburg Award to philanthropists and classical music enthusiasts Beverly and Bill Rosoff.