Resident Artist Week (RAW)



We are uniquely positioned to provide the many benefits of live music to our community, and we take that responsibility seriously. It was our pleasure to launch this innovative outreach program in our 118th Season as a way to give back to the community which has supported us for over a century.


  • To infiltrate the community with the many benefits of music – to entertain, soothe and heal, and educate
  • To take people by surprise and engage them with the universal language of music
  • Invite people to question pre-existing notions of classical music and the PSO
  • To emphasize fun and innovation as integral to the Symphony’s brand
  • To bring music to those who may benefit from music but cannot  attend concerts
  • To enrich school curricula and expose local students to the stories, experiences, career tracks, and talents of professional musicians

Guest Artists


Harmony Zhu

Wednesday, October 19 to Saturday, October 22, 2016

Sponsors: OSF HealthCare and Soderstrom Skin Institute

harmony-zhu-pianoA happy girl with a big smile, Harmony Zhu is a prodigy with multiple talents. She has been featured on CBC News, NPR’s From the Top, as well as NBC’s The Ellen DeGeneres Show three times for her exceptional gifts in composing, performing and chess. Harmony has distinguished herself by consistently winning first prizes and scholarships in piano competitions and chess tournaments from an early age, competing within older age categories. Over the years, she has performed extensively in international music festivals and concert series in Europe, Asia and North America, in such prestigious venues as Verizon Hall, Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, Jordan Hall, Harris Concert Hall, and Koerner Hall.  Her ability to touch emotions with her original melodies and incredible charisma has inspired people worldwide.

Harmony started studying at the Juilliard Pre-college when she was 8 years old, as the youngest student there, under the tutelage of Dr. Yoheved Kaplinsky, Chair of the Piano Department of Juilliard. Harmony won the Juilliard Pre-college Concerto Competition during her first year of study there, as the youngest winner ever in the history of the competition, and gave her winning performance of the concerto at Lincoln Center in May. Later in the same year, Harmony also became the youngest ever pianist to give a solo recital in Juilliard as an honor for outstanding students. Harmony is also studying composition with Dr. Ira Taxin in Juilliard. In early 2016, Harmony was invited to perform in two concerts at the Florida Concert Series, as the youngest ever invited, in which she performed one of her own compositions and received critical acclaim.

In the spring of 2015, Harmony won the Grand Prize at the VI Chopin International Competition in Connecticut, She set records in both being the youngest winner in history and earning the highest mark ever at 99.8.  In the same year, Harmony was invited to perform in three concerts at the International Chopin Festival in Poland, as the youngest pianist ever to perform there. Later in the summer, she was invited to perform at Harris Concert Hall three times at the Aspen Music Festival. In 2015, Harmony was featured on NPR’s From the Top Show recorded in Boston at Jordan Hall.

Harmony has been invited to perform at the Carnegie Hall three times. In 2015, she had the privilege to be invited to open the International Festival “Passion of Music 2015” at the Carnegie Hall. In 2014, 8 year old Harmony was named one of the “30 Hot Canadian Classical Musicians Under 30”, as the youngest ever in history, a recognition of her uncommon accomplishments at a young age.


Venues and Appearances

  • Lunch and Learn
  • Donor Reception Meet & Greet – Private Event
  • TV and radio appearances
  • Visit with residents of Lutheran Hillside Village
  • Appearance at Dunlap High School with chess demonstrations, performance, and discussion
  • Visit with Bright Futures pre-school and performance
  • Guest soloist with the Peoria Symphony Orchestra on the 119th season concert “Prodigies”



Richard Hirschl

Wednesday, November 16 to Saturday, November 19, 2016


4/16/08 1:34:35 PM - Chicago Symphony Orchestra Portrait of Cellist Richard Hirschl © Todd Rosenberg Photography 2008

Richard Hirschl joined the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s cello section in 1989. A native of Washington, Missouri, he began cello lessons with his father, an amateur cellist. His intermediate studies were with Savely Schuster, associate principal cellist of the St. Louis Symphony. He was accepted into the class of Leonard Rose and Channing Robbins at the Juilliard School, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in 1987 and a master’s degree in 1988. Hirschl was an associate teacher at Juilliard before moving to Chicago. He was the winner of the 1988 Juilliard Concerto Competition, 1988 Irving M. Klein International String Competition and 1980 St. Louis Symphony Scholarship Competition.

In addition to his New York debut with the Juilliard Orchestra at Avery Fisher Hall, Hirschl has given concerto performances with the Peoria Symphony, Jupiter Symphony, St. Louis Philharmonic, Maracaibo Symphony (Venezuela), National Repertory Orchestra, St. Louis Chamber Orchestra and Philharmonia Virtuosi of New York. He is pleased to be playing the Brahms Double Concerto with CSO Assistant Concertmaster David Taylor and the Ars Viva Symphony Orchestra in September and the Strauss Don Quixote with CSO violist Lawrence Neuman and the St. Louis Philharmonic in March this season. He has appeared in chamber music performances with celebrated pianists Daniel Barenboim, András Schiff and Ursula Oppens, cellist Lynn Harrell and violinist Vadim Repin. He is on the faculty of the Chicago Conservatory for the Performing Arts at Roosevelt University where he also serves as head of the string department and has a large class of private students. He plays a beautiful Venetian cello made by Matteo Goffriller in 1710. He is the proud father of Ava Clare and Vivian Rose Hirschl.

Scheduled Venues and Appearances

  • Private dinner with Sponsors
  • Area school visits including Morton High School, Quest Middle and High Schools and Peoria Heights Grade School/Bright Futures
  • Performance and Q & A Panel with Peoria Playhouse – Play, Practice, Perform: Nurturing Life Long Achievement
  • TV and radio interviews
  • Master Class at Bradley University
  • Visit to residents of Lutheran Hillside Village/Performance




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