Joseph Connor ’19 MMus, a doctoral saxophone student of Taimur Sullivan, and Qi Kong, a doctoral piano student of James Giles, have been named 2022 Fellows in Classical Music by the Luminarts Cultural Foundation. Each will receive a $10,000 award.

The Luminarts Cultural Foundation cultivates Chicago’s vibrant arts community by supporting exemplary young artists through its competitive programs that offer financial awards, artistic opportunities, and mentoring that bridge the gap between education and career. Fellows will receive continued support from the foundation through professional development, performance opportunities, and additional project grant funding.

Joseph Connor

Saxophonist Joseph Connor is active as a soloist, chamber musician, improviser, and educator. He won third place in the 2018 North American Saxophone Alliance Collegiate Solo Competition and first place in the 2020 MTNA Chamber Winds Competition as a member of the Fuse Quartet. He was also a finalist in the 2020 North American Saxophone Alliance Collegiate Solo Competition. Connor has performed in solo, chamber, and ensemble settings in venues across the US and abroad including Shanghai Symphony Orchestra Hall, Carnegie Hall, Forbidden City Concert Hall, Tsuen Wan Town Hall, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Park West, and Studio Z, among others. As a soloist and orchestral player, Joseph has appeared with the Northwestern University, Lawrence University, La Crosse, Fox Valley, Green Bay Civic, and Oshkosh Symphony Orchestras. Joseph holds a MM in saxophone performance from Northwestern University and a BM in saxophone performance and instrumental music education from Lawrence University.

Qi Kong

Praised by the New York Times for his “elegant and sensitive” playing, pianist Qi Kong was the first prize winner of the 2021 Northwestern University Concerto Competition, the 2016 Mieczyslaw Munz International Piano Competition in New York City, the 2013 Aspen Music Festival Piano Concerto Competition, and the 2009 Bösendorfer & Schimmel International Piano Competition. Kong has performed throughout the United States as well as in Europe and China, including concerts at Alice Tully Hall of Lincoln Center, Jordan Hall and Sanders Theatre in Boston, Benedict Music Tent in Aspen, Newmark Theatre in Portland, Hahn Hall in Santa Barbara, Philharmonic Hall in Warsaw, Tel Aviv Museum of Art, and Shanghai Concert Hall, among others. He has collaborated with Aspen Philharmonic Orchestra (Brahms); Boston Landmarks Orchestra (Grieg); Jupiter Symphony Chamber Players (Stravinsky and Kapustin); and Compagnie Marie Chouinard from Quebec (Chopin). Kong is a graduate of the Juilliard School and Yale University.


  • Taimur Sullivan
  • James Giles
  • piano
  • woodwinds