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Acclaimed violinist and Yamaha artist Mads Tolling dazzled students and concert attendees alike at his appearance last Thursday at VanderCook College of Music in Chicago. 

Tolling presented a master class on improvisation to VanderCook students in the afternoon and performed with the school’s Philharmonic Orchestra in the evening.

Approximately 250 people attended the September 27 concert, which opened with a rousing version of Mark Ronson’s “Uptown Funk” arranged by Tolling. Other highlights included Richard Rodgers’ “My Favorite Things,” Duke Ellington’s “C-Jam Blues,” and pieces by Oliver Nelson, Swedish folk legends Väsen, and Brian Balmages.

Tolling’s appearance was sponsored by Yamaha and Quinlan & Fabish Music Company as part of an ongoing initiative to bring Yamaha artists to VanderCook for specialized master classes. The initiative is the third of its kind among Yamaha’s outreach programs. Yamaha, Quinlan & Fabish, and the 109-year-old VanderCook College of Music all share the philosophy of enriching lives through high quality music education, and empowering musicians and music teachers at all levels.  Yamaha also provided Boston Brass and Jeff Rupert as artists in the past two years.

Tolling performed on an electric violin for the both the concert and the afternoon’s master class. Tolling demonstrated many techniques and encouraged several students to improvise – a first for many– to Herbie Hancock’s “Watermelon Man.” Both the master class and the concert were held at the college’s performance space, a historic Mies van der Rohe building on the Illinois Institute of Technology campus. VanderCook has secured almost half the funding needed to renovate the building in its $5 million capital campaign. 



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