American Suzuki Institute celebrates 50 years with virtual, live performances

​Violinist James Ehnes will perform in a virtual concert at 4:45 p.m. July 24.

The American Suzuki Institute (ASI) will celebrate its 50th anniversary this month with both live and virtual performances as part of the Jubilee Celebration.

Sponsored by the Aber Suzuki Center (ASC) at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, the two-week institute will be held online July 18-23 and in person July 25-31.

A virtual Jubilee Celebration concert will be held at 4:45 p.m. Saturday, July 24, featuring internationally known guest artists, violinist James Ehnes and pianist Andrew Armstrong. Join this virtual performance and a Q and A session by registering at

Ehnes has performed with orchestras in major American cities and across the world. Recently he performed with the MET Orchestra at Carnegie Hall, the San Francisco Symphony and the London Symphony. He is an artist in residence with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. He and Armstrong, an internationally known pianist, are touring together to perform Beethoven's violin sonatas.

Live performances will be held during the second week at Michelsen Hall in the Noel Fine Arts Center, 1800 Portage St., Stevens Point. The following concerts are free and open to the public:

  • Monday, July 26, 7 p.m., Guest Artist Concert, Discipulus String Quartet
  • Tuesday, July 27, 4 p.m., ASI Honors Recital; 7 p.m., ASI Faculty Recital
  • Thursday, July 29, 4 p.m., ASI Honors Recital; 7 p.m., Chamber Music Ensemble Concert
  • Friday, July 30, 7 p.m., Chamber Orchestra Concert

Debuting in 1971, the American Suzuki Institute was the first of its kind outside of Japan. When Margery Aber brought together faculty to teach children from all over the U.S., she set the precedent. This is the first Suzuki institute to mark 50 years, said ASC Director Ann Marie Novak.

"The fact that we are here celebrating 50 years of joy in educating children from all over the world, and the fact that at least 50 other institutes have sprung up over the decades, speaks volumes about Miss Aber's vision and the quality of her work," said Novak.

To mark this milestone, an art piece, the "ASI Tree of Life," has been commissioned as an online creation this year and a permanent canvas for 2022 and future institutes. The tree will feature Aber and original faculty as the roots and trunk; ASI faculty as the branches; and families, supporters and friends as the leaves. Donations to this project can be made at Donors will be featured on the leaves.

ASI annually draws more than 1,000 people to Stevens Point, with families and teachers from 35 states and 12 different countries. The American Suzuki Institute is known as one of the premier teacher-training centers in the world. When the institute was founded, the philosophy and method of teaching music to children at a very young age, by ear, and with parental involvement, was a novel idea. Now, the method and philosophy envisioned by Shinichi Suzuki has taught both music and life skills to millions of children and adults the world over.

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