About Canzonetta

Strings are the foundation of a symphony orchestra

  • The Canzonetta Path allows students to simultaneously grow as individual musicians and as members of a group. Members of each orchestra become skilled at playing in small and large string ensembles and string orchestras, and, because strings are the foundation of the full symphony orchestra, the transition into the full symphony orchestra is seamless and organic.
  • Chamber groups are coached by Mr. Kagan or Mrs. Schramm.
  • Mr. Kagan has a magical touch for helping students perform at a higher level, surpassing what they (or their teachers) thought they were capable of doing.

Meet the Canzonetta Directors

Mr. Kagan, Conductor and Artistic Director

Hilel Kagan was born into a family of opera singers in Riga, Latvia. His parents, both opera stars in the Riga Opera, instilled in him a love of theater, music and drama. Mr. Kagan attended the Riga Conservatory and graduated with a degree in violin performance.  He became an active violin performer in many cities throughout the Soviet Union. Mr. Kagan also studied stage directing at the St. Petersburg Conservatory (formerly the Leningrad Conservatory). He was then Stage Director for the Musical Theatre in Riga. Mr. Kagan was principal second violin in the Lyric Opera Orchestra of Chicago for 32 years and founded Concertante di Chicago, a critically acclaimed chamber orchestra.

Helia Schramm, Artistic Director

Helia Schramm is a masterful violinist and violin teacher.  She appeared as soloist with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at ages 10 and 12 in its Youth Series.  She was concertmistress of Civic Orchestra and first violinist of Arcturus String Quartet, performing many concerts in Chicago and throughout the Midwest. She was principal second violinist of the Philharmonic Orchestra at the Aspen Music Festival and served on the faculty of the Suzuki Institute at Stevens Point, Wisconsin. She also served on the faculty of Music Institute of Chicago for 25 years.  Mrs. Schramm was founder and director of the Lincolnwood School of Music. Mrs. Schramm studied violin with George Perlman, Paul Stassevich, Pierre Menard, Donald Weilerstein and Gerardo Ribiera; she studied chamber music with the Julliard Quartet and the Cleveland Quartet. She conducted master classes at the Roubaix Conservatory in France.