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Internationally Renowned Musicians Perform to Benefit North Park Student

Deborah Wanderley dos Santos

Ricardo Castro, Alex Klein, and Richard Young to Perform in Anderson Chapel on April 20

CHICAGO, IL (March 29, 2007) — "I immediately saw Deborah's remarkable talent," recalls violist Richard Young, who first heard current North Park student violinist Deborah Wanderley dos Santos perform in 2004 at a music festival in Curitiba, Brazil. Young, an American and founding member of the acclaimed Vermeer String Quarter, eventually met Wanderley dos Santos via Brazilian Alex Klein, former principal oboist for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO). And shortly thereafter, joined by Brazilian pianist Ricardo Castro, these three professional musicians dedicated themselves to helping Deborah get the training so many American and European students take for granted.

On Friday, April 20 at 7:30 p.m., Castro, Klein and Young – three men who "exemplify the North Park Spirit," according to University President David L. Parkyn, Ph.D. – will perform a benefit concert to support Wanderley dos Santos’ education in the North Park University School of Music, where she's currently enrolled as a sophomore. Tickets are $30. For information and reservations, click here or call (773) 244-5625.

In the grip of dystonia
Alex Klein
was forced to give up his position as a Principal Oboist of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (a role he'd proudly held since 1992) when doctors diagnosed him with a rare neurological movement disorder called dystonia in 2004. Dystonia forces muscles to contract and twist. Before his departure, however, Klein won a Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Soloist with Orchestra for his recording of the Richard Strauss Oboe Concerto, with Daniel Barenboim and the CSO.

He began his musical studies in his native Brazil at the age of nine, and made his solo orchestral debut the following year. During his teenage years he toured and performed as a soloist, recitalist, and as a member of several professional orchestras in Brazil. Today, Klein performs as a soloist and as a conductor at his alma mater, Oberlin Conservatory.

"He plays in the court of giants…"
Perhaps the best-known pianist in South American, Ricardo Castro received worldwide acclaim as the first Latin-born winner of the prestigious Leeds International Piano Competition. Winning at Leeds launched Castro's international career, as he began giving recitals in some of the largest concert halls in the world. He has performed with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, BBC Symphony, Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields and Royal Liverpool Orchestra, among others. Le Monde de la Musique says of Castro, "He already plays in the court of giants… A pianist to be followed closely." Castro currently teaches at Fribourg Conservatory in Switzerland and is involved in many social projects for children in his native country of Brazil.

An American in Brazil
At the age of 13, Richard Young was already delighting Queen Elizabeth of Belgium with the beautiful soundings of his viola. Since then, Young has been soloist with various orchestras and has given recitals throughout the U.S. Young currently performs with the Grammy-nominated Vermeer String Quartet. He originally became interested in Brazil while a member of the New Hungarian Quartet. "I just adore being there," says Young, "mostly because the young people have so much passion, not only for music but for practicing." Since first visiting Brazil, Young has made several return visits to teach and perform at festivals and universities around the country.

"The school was my refuge…"
Alex Klein "discovered" Deborah Wanderley dos Santos at a music festival in Caritiba, Brazil. And he later introduced her to Richard Young – an introduction that proved life-altering for Deborah. "Richard taught me the importance of both social and personal responsibility," she recalls. "He taught me to always do my best. We work hard because we know music can transform lives."

Wanderley dos Santos began playing the violin at a free music school in Brasilia, Brazil at age 10 and studied there for seven years. "My life outside was very difficult because of problems with my family and our financial situation," says Deborah. "The school was my refuge. As soon as I put my feet inside those doors, all of my problems seemed to disappear." Now at North Park, she is working toward a degree in music performance. She says North Park has given her an amazing opportunity to grow and enjoys the cultural diversity the school and the city of Chicago have to offer.