Chicago Symphony Orchestra Fellowship Program Announces Winner

Venezuelan violinist Gabriela Lara is to become the first CSO Fellow beginning in 2022-23 season

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The Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO) will host its inaugural Fellowship Program starting in September 2022, with a focus on expanding training opportunities for young musicians who come from groups that are not traditionally represented in symphony orchestras.

Developed with support from Zell Music Director Riccardo Muti, the CSO Members’ Committee, and Chicago Federation of Musicians, the fellowship was available for up to three applicants of Black, Latino, or Indigenous backgrounds.

As the chosen fellow, Gabriela Lara will gain significant experience rehearsing and performing with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the renowned conductors that lead it. She will receive mentorship from CSO musicians to better equip her to win auditions in U.S. orchestras — including access to up to 10, one-hour private lessons with a CSO musician annually. Lara will also receive compensation to perform a minimum of 20 subscription weeks with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, as well as financial support to attend auditions.

A graduate of the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University, where she was a student of Almita Vamos, Gabriela Lara is the recipient of a 2022 Project Inclusion Fellowship from the Grant Park Symphony Orchestra. In 2021, Lara was also the second-place winner in the Sphinx Solo Competition and the winner of the Frank Preuss International Violin Competition.

Originally from Barquisimeto, Venezuela, Lara began her violin studies at age 8. She was a member of the Latin American Violin Academy, where she was a student of Jose Francisco del Castillo and Francisco Diaz.

Lara was also a member of “El Sistema” in Venezuela, where she served as a Concertmaster of the Lara Youth Orchestra and the National Youth Orchestra of Venezuela in 2017 and performed with Gustavo Dudamel and the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra as part of a 2016 European Tour.