Master of Music student Andrew Cannestra

Pianist Andrew Cannestra will elevate his concert career as the recipient of the prestigious Aeolian Classics Emerging Artist Award. The competition gives one Chicago College of Performing Arts (CCPA) student the opportunity to record a professional debut album on the major international label.

Cannestra is a current Master of Music degree candidate at the CCPA, studying under the tutelage of Adam Neiman, assistant professor of piano and head of the String Chamber Music program. 

Already an accomplished pianist, composer and improviser, Cannestra’s performance was unanimously lauded by the jury for its probing artistic vision in a program that included the Dutilleux Piano Sonata and the Beethoven Sonata in C minor, Op. 111. 

“Playing for a completely empty hall for the competition was certainly a challenge in this way, and it's a feeling I'm sure almost everyone at CCPA has experienced,” he said. “For me, music making has always been communicating and emotionally connecting with an audience, with the hope that by sharing that which I most love, I'm somehow making my listeners' quality of life just a bit better.”

The emerging artist award helps one talented young artist each year offset the production and marketing costs of creating their first album. In addition to the production of a solo debut CD album with international distribution on Aeolian Classics, the award presents the winner in a series of concerts throughout Chicago (Ganz Hall, Guarneri Hall, Henry Fogel Presents and Grace Episcopal Church) and provides professional mentoring services.

Cannestra joins a distinguished roster of past award winners who have gone on to successful performance careers – for more information, go to

The fifth edition of the competition featured five finalists in a series of full recitals livestreamed from Ganz Hall on January 30, 2021. Listen to the livestream on YouTube here.

In addition to Mr. Cannestra, the finalists of the 2021 Aeolian Classics Emerging Artist Competition were:

Subin Oh, flute Student of Eugenia Moliner
Hugo Saavedra, trombone Student of Jay Friedman and Reed Capshaw
Jia Meng, piano Student of Winston Choi
Héctor Melicoff Rosso, piano Student of Jorge Federico Osorio

Members of the jury included:

David Commanday Music Director of the Heartland Festival Orchestra
Rudy Marcozzi CCPA Dean
Adam Neiman CEO of Aeolian Classics, LLC
MingHuan Xu CCPA Head of Strings
Michael Holmes CCPA Head of Winds
Charles Schuchat CCPA Head of Brass
Igor Fedotov CCPA Viola Faculty
Jorge Federico Osorio CCPA Piano Faculty
Julian Hersh CCPA Chamber Music Faculty

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