GOLD COAST — Music lovers who've been trekking to Evanston, Winnetka or Lake Forest for Music Institute of Chicago concerts and classes can soon skip the hike: The 83-year-old institution plans to open a new campus downtown.
The Chicago site will be located in the Gratz Center, a facility built recently as an addition to Fourth Presbyterian Church, 126 E. Chestnut St., and will host some of the 70-plus concerts the institute arranges yearly.
Opening in September, the Gratz Center hub will include classes for children and adults, expanding the program that currently serves more than 3,000 students, according to the institute.
"Downtown residents have clamored for access to the Music Institute’s excellent programs for many years," Savitri Pai, a center trustee and alumna living in Chicago, said in a statement. "Now people can benefit from the Music Institute’s programs without having to drive to the northern suburbs."
The institute also plans to close its Highland Park campus this summer and expand the Lake Forest location.
"The Music Institute of Chicago is dedicated to providing the highest quality music education in a supportive and nurturing musical environment," President and CEO Mark George said in a release. "Concentrating our resources at campus hubs allows us to enrich and expand our programming and foster a vibrant and engaging musical community."