Free Berwyn concert to present winning Ukranian violist, Serbian pianist

BERWYN – Project 88, the free Berwyn concert series showcasing acclaimed musicians from around the globe, continues its second season at 6 p.m. May 18 with a performance by Ukrainian violist Nikita Haas and Serbian pianist Stefani Babic.

The pair will perform works by Mikhail Glinka, Nikolai Kryukov, Johannes Brahms and other composers at Unity Lutheran Church, 6720 W. 31st St., Berwyn.

The May 18 concert is the third in the second annual True Unity Concert Series, which features monthly concerts through November. Project 88 also includes the week-long Lucile Evans Music Festival, happening Nov. 18 to 23, and Into the Musical World: Concerts for Youth, a year-long series of daytime performances for local students. The project is spearheaded by founding artistic director Élider DiPaula, an Argentine concert pianist teaching and performing in the United States.

Babic began studying piano in Serbia and trained with Nera Grukic and Olga Borzenko before coming to the United States, where she was among six soloists selected to be recorded and broadcast in WFMT’s Fall Piano Showcase Recital. She specializes in contemporary music, and is known for premiering numerous original works by Chicago-based composers, as well as performances with the 2018 North Shore Chamber Music Festival.

Haas studied violin in his native Ukraine before switching to viola, training at the Kyiv Institute of Music and in the Netherlands at the Maastricht Conservatory. In the Ukraine, he was the winner of two national performance competitions, Kyiv’s New Names Ukraine and the International Chamber Music Competition. He is finishing his master's degree in fine arts for performance at Chicago’s Roosevelt University. He has performed with the Kyiv Philharmonic and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra among ensembles in Europe and the United States.

Project 88’s season continues as follows. All concerts begin at 6 p.m. at Unity Lutheran in Berwyn.

• June 15: Soprano Michelle Areyzaga and pianist Dana Brown perform works by Leonard Bernstein, Gwyneth Walker and Wayland Rogers

• Sept. 7: Brazilian pianist Laura Umbelino performs solo pieces, then joins Élider DiPaula to perform a series of works for piano four hands, all written by the living Brazilian composer Ronaldo Miranda

• Sept. 28: Élider DiPaula performs works by Heitor Villa-Lobos in honor of the 60th anniversary of his death

• Oct. 19: Grammy-awarded baritone Kevin McMillan and pianist Gabriel Dobner perform song cycles by Schumann on poems by Heinrich Heine

• Nov. 9: Violinists Stefan Hersh and Agnieszka Likos, violist Sixto Franco, cellist Patrycja Likos and pianist Élider DiPaula perform piano quintets by César Franck and Dmitri Shostakovich

• Nov. 18 to 23: Lucile Evans Music Festival, a week-long celebration of classical music, when all are invited to attend evening master classes and a series of public concerts. Master class students will be selected by audition, with no age limit and no audition fee required.

For more information about Project 88's concert series, visit or call 708-788-4132.