"I love having a neighborhood music school, small and intimate…. Going to music lessons and learning music is a … community activity, like buying bread or milk, not some huge ordeal in some magnificent edifice. Because it’s part of our daily neighborhood schedule, our everyday life, it has made expanding into big ordeals in magnificent edifices like the Lyric Opera a natural progression - we are grounded in a musical life." -Musical Offering parent of three budding musicians
Who We Are
The Musical Offering is a musical home for beginners to bloom and for more experienced musicians to explore their craft. We are proud of our process-oriented teaching philosophy, professional and friendly faculty, investments in local schools, and partnerships with arts organizations equally committed to making music more accessible to all. In 2007, we won the Evanston Mayor’s Award for the Arts in recognition of our history as an arts incubator and the quality of our programming.
Our Teaching Philosophy
The Musical Offering provides students and teachers with collaborative opportunities to learn and perform. We hire gifted teachers who share a process-oriented teaching philosophy and the belief that students learn best in an engaging atmosphere. We carefully match teachers and students to maximize learning potential and enjoyment of music education. A process-oriented teaching philosophy guides students on a course to the joyful mastery of music. On this journey, they acquire and develop intellectual, emotional, and physical tools such as diligence, critical thinking, expressiveness, and dexterity to harness the potential of music to enhance their lives. This training translates into every area of learning and life.
Founded by Kirsten Hedegaard and Rick Ferguson in 1999, the school has well over 140 students and eighteen faculty members. Students, from preschoolers to retirees, reflect Evanston’s racial, ethnic, and income diversity. The group and private class offerings continue to grow and are responsive to student requests. The MO offers scholarships for students who need financial assistance.
JS Bach's The Musical Offering
The Musical Offering is a collection of canons and fugues and other pieces of music by Johann Sebastian Bach, all based on a single musical theme given to him by Frederick II of Prussia (Frederick the Great), to whom they are dedicated. The Ricercar a 6, a six-voice fugue which is the highpoint of the entire work, was put forward by the musicologist Charles Rosen as the most significant piano composition in history. This Ricercar is also occasionally called the Prussian Fugue, a name used by Bach himself. The collection has its roots in a meeting between Bach and Frederick II on May 7, 1747. The meeting, taking place at the King's residence in Potsdam, came about because Bach's son Carl Philipp Emanuel was employed there as court musician. Frederick wanted to show the elder Bach a novelty, the piano, which had been invented some years earlier. The King owned several of the experimental instruments.
During his anticipated visit to Frederick's palace in Potsdam, Bach, who was well known for his skill at improvising, received from Frederick a long and complex musical theme on which to improvise a three-voice fugue. He did so, but Frederick then challenged him to improvise a six-voice fugue on the same theme. The public present thought that just a malicious caprice by the King, intent upon humiliating philosophers and artists. Bach answered that he would need to work the score and send it to the King afterwards. He then returned to Leipzig to write out the Thema Regium ("theme of the king"):
Two months after the meeting, Bach published a set of pieces based on this theme which we now know as The Musical Offering. Bach inscribed the piece "Regis Iussu Cantio Et Reliqua Canonica Arte Resoluta" (the theme given by the king, with additions, resolved in the canonic style), the first letters of which spell out the word ricercar, a well-known genre of the time.