Kathleen Yuan, 21, studies violin performance with Desirée Ruhstrat at Northwestern University, as well as journalism and design. Yuan was a 2017 violin fellow at the Music Academy of the West and a two-time finalist of the Northwestern University Concerto Competition. She is passionate about chamber music and has closely studied with members of the Takács, Dover, and Vermeer String Quartets. Yuan is also committed to performing contemporary music and has worked with living composers such as Jennifer Higdon, Steve Reich, Matthew Aucoin, and various Chicago composers. Outside of performance, Yuan served as a public relations intern at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and has received a Northwestern Undergraduate Research Grant to explore new avenues for classical music in mixed reality



Aidan Perreault, 21, studied violin performance with Shmuel Ashkenasi at Northwestern University, in addition to math and computer science. He is a two-time finalist of the Thaviu String Competition at Northwestern, and has also soloed with the Midwest Young Artists Symphony orchestra, the North Suburban Symphony orchestra, and the University of Illinois at Chicago orchestra as the winner of their concerto competitions. He has studied chamber music with members of the Vermeer and Dover quartets, and was awarded first prize in the junior division of the Fischoff Chamber Music Competition as part of Quartet Fuoco. He recently graduated from Northwestern and will be pursuing a PhD in computer science at Stanford University in the fall

Ión López Leal, born 1998 in Germany, started playing double bass in 2012 with Reimond Püschel, a member of the “Dresdener Staatskapelle”. He finished school five years later and started his studies in Dresden. After the first Year in Dresden he received the full scholarship for the Royal Academy of Music in London, where he is studying now with Graham Mitchell, Tom Goodman and Dominic Seldis. 

In 2016 he won the first price for the German youth competition in the age group for musicians in the age of 17-18. He got the possibility to perform in the final Concert and was also chosen for the yearly CD of that competition. Two years later he performed the Vanhal concerto with the “Dresdener Kapellsolisten” in the new year’s concert of the Conservatory for Music in Dresden. 

In his first year at the Academy he was awarded first prize in the “Alex Ross” Double Bass Competition and Ión performed at the Barns Music Festival 2019 and got invited back for the year 2020.

Ión played in a lot of different masterclasses, for example he was part of the masterclass for young musicians in Kronberg, where he performed the string quintett by Dvorak. He was also part of the masterclass “Epoche f”, where Ión was able to work with members of Ensemble modern and the conductor Lukas Vis. He has been selected to participate in the “Bottesini Competition 2019”.

“My most inspiring project I have ever done, was probably the “young music podium Venice Dresden” with the Violinist Stafano Montanari. His style and the way he approaches to music was one of the key moments in my life. After these two weeks of rehearsing and performing in the most beautiful villages, I learned the beauty of classical music in every way.”



Eighteen year old Grace Kim has been playing the violin since the age of seven and currently studies with Desiree Ruhstrat of the Lincoln Trio. She will be attending the University of Chicago this coming fall. Grace joined the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras in 2012 and is now second violin principal of the esteemed organization’s top orchestra. Since then, she has toured Central Europe in 2017 and the Baltics in 2019, worked with Yo-Yo Ma, Ben Folds, The Second City, Third Coast Percussion, Rachel Barton Pine, and performed multiple times at the United Center during the halftime show for the Chicago Bulls and collaborated with the team on other projects. Grace was a winner of the New Philharmonic’s Young People’s Competition, Neuqua Valley Concerto Competition, and Stanger Young Artist Competition, has been featured in the House Concert in Chicago series, and was a featured performer alongside The Piano Guys at the Ravinia Pavilion and Chicago Theatre. She has served as the assistant second violin principal in the Chicago Youth in Music Festival under the baton of Riccardo Muti and has participated since 2015. In 2016, she joined Filarmónica Joven de Colombia with the Lincoln Trio on their national tour led by Dante Santiago Anzolini, and in 2017, she participated in Curtis’ Young Artist Summer Program. Grace also teaches violin to middle and elementary school students.



Rachel Hsu will be a freshman at Princeton University in the coming fall and has been studying with Desiree for the past fourteen years. Rachel began playing violin at the age of three and since then has won numerous awards, making her solo debut at age 7 in 2009 with the Oistrakh Symphony Orchestra as the winner of the DePaul Concerto festival. She was a YoungArts winner in 2018 and has been featured as both a violin and piano soloist on WFMT’s Introductions, Music in the Loft, the Young Steinway Concert Series, WGN’s Chicago Live radio program, Pilgrim Chamber Players’ Stars of Tomorrow, and Ravinia’s Kraft Kids Concert Series.
As a member of the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra, Rachel has toured China in 2014, Central Europe in 2017, and the Baltics in 2019. She has been concertmaster for the past three years. Additionally, she has participated in the Chicago Youth in Music Festival under Riccardo Muti since 2014 and was the concertmaster of IMEA’s All-State Honors orchestra under Cliff Colnot in 2017. Rachel also joined the Filarmonica Joven de Colombia along with the Lincoln Trio and various soloists on their tour in Colombia led by Dante Anzolini in 2016. In 2017, she participated in and was second violin principal at Curtis’ Young Artist Summer Program. She also performed at CArnegie Hall as a member of the New York String Orchestra Seminar in 2017 under Jaime Laredo. In the summer of 2019, Rachel attended the Aspen Music Festival and School on fellowship, studying with Masao Kawasaki.