Momoko Hasselbring Seko, a master’s horn student of Gail Williams, and Wenting Shi, a doctoral piano student of James Giles, have been named 2023 Fellows in Classical Music by the Luminarts Cultural Foundation. Each received 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.
Momoko Hasselbring Seko
Committed to artistic integrity as a classical musician while evolving an authentic and personal approach to DEI values, Momo Hasselbring Seko is expanding vocabulary on the French horn by drawing repertoire and stylistic, technical, and conceptual principles from world folk and contemporary genres. Inspired by feminist theories of musical collaboration and co-creation, she has spent the last two years curating duet repertoire for French horn and jazz guitar through a series of local performances of co-arranged and co-composed pieces, alongside developing a series of collaborative improvisatory “games” accessible and playable to musicians of any skill level and from any background. Momo is a founding member of the Braeburn Brass Quintet, which showcases classical instrumentation by performing contemporary compositions that challenge, engage, impact, and resonate.
Momo teaches a studio of horn students at several local high schools and has performed with classical ensembles such as the Elmhurst Symphony Orchestra, Folks Operetta, Rockford Symphony Orchestra, and Music of the Baroque, as well as novel ensembles such as The Shins, Chico Freeman’s Legacy Project, Mik Nawooj, and the Braeburn Brass quintet. An Evanston native, she received her Bachelor of Music degree summa cum laude from DePaul University.
Wenting Shi started playing the piano at age four and won first prize in a national competition in China at age five. In 2004, she won the first prize in China’s Gu’Lang’yu National Piano Competition for Young Artists and first prize in the Beethoven Music Festival National Competition, which led to a solo debut in Germany at the Beethoven Music Festival. She has since claimed numerous prizes worldwide including in the Serge & Olga Koussevitzky Young Artist Awards Piano Competition, CT Young Artist Piano Competition, the Georges Cziffra Prize presented by Cziffra Stiftung of Austria, San Jose International Piano Competition, and International Toronto Piano Competition. More recently, she received the silver prize at the 5th Hong Kong International Piano Competition in 2019 and the Berlin Artur Schnabel Prize in 2022.
Wenting holds Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees from The Juilliard School, where she received the Arthur Rubinstein Prize for Academic and Artistic Achievements; a Master of Musical Arts degree from the Yale School of Music; and a Master of Arts degree with highest honors from the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna. In 2022, she was admitted to Konzertexamen—Germany’s highest educational level in instrumental performance—at Berlin University of the Arts, where she is pursuing further studies concurrently with her doctoral studies at Northwestern.