School of Music > About > Alumni > Lucinda Ali-Landing

Lucinda Ali-Landing, String Performance - MM '96

Lucinda Ali-Landing, Founding Director of the Hyde Park Suzuki Institute and violinist, began her studies at age six with her father James Holland, a violinist and violist. After studying for one year with her father, she then studied with Sarah Deneen and later Donna Ross.

While studying with Ross, she began her career with solo recitals, master classes, competitions, and orchestral playing. As a child, she was the concertmaster of the orchestra at the Music Center of the North Shore for three consecutive years, alongside her sister, cellist Carmen who acted as principal cello during that time. She went on to study orchestral music playing with the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, being the youngest member of the orchestra. At age 11, under the direction of Sir George Solti, Gordon Peters, Margaret Hillis, and Meng-Kong Tham, she played major orchestral works in Orchestral Hall, Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, and DePaul University until 1985.

During those years, Ms. Ali-Landing also stayed close to home, being a member of the South Side Family Chamber Orchestra (Leo C. Harris, Music Director), Gary Civic Symphony (Naomi Millender, Music Director) and her own family chamber ensemble. As a student at Kenwood Academy in Hyde Park, she played with the All-City Orchestra, winning the All-City Division I of the Instrumental Solo Festival in 1984. Also in the 80's, she received a Special Mention in the Illinois Young Performers Competition of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and the Society of American Musicians competition.

During the summer, she spent weeks at the University of the South at Sewanee Summer Music Festival in Tennessee, where she studied with Joseph Glymph, conductor of the Classical Symphony Orchestra in Chicago. She won a full-tuition scholarship at Northern Illinois University where she studied with Pierre Menard and the Vermeer Quartet. While there, she also played with the NIU Symphony, Rockford Symphony Orchestra, Kishwaukee Symphony Orchestra, and various venues around northern Illinois. She continued to play solo recitals performing major concertos by Mendelssohn, Tchaikovsky, Mozart, Bach, Saint-Saens, and Sibelius while earning her Bachelor of Music degree from Northern Illinois University.

Ms. Ali-Landing chose to pursue her professional career at DePaul School of Music in Chicago, where she blossomed under the tutelage of Mark Zinger. She was also a fellowship student of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago and the DePaul Symphony Orchestra acting as concertmaster/assistant concertmaster as well as the concertmaster of the Opera Orchestra at DePaul. This afforded her the opportunity to get her Master of Music degree in Violin Performance on a full-tuition scholarship.

She obtained her teacher training at the Chicago Suzuki Institute in Deerfield with Craig Timmerman, and later the same summer studied at Indiana University with Mimi Zweig. Embracing the methods of these teaching pioneers, she started teaching at Sherwood Conservatory of Music in Chicago with Stacia Spencer. There she taught dozens of children and later grew her own program that still exists today. As the Director of the Chicago Young Violinist Program at Sherwood, she has inspired many parents to be excited about having musical children. In 1998, Ms. Ali-Landing founded the Hyde Park Suzuki Institute. After receiving her Kindermusik training, she began an early-childhood music program as well as several other musical initiatives at the Institute.

Currently, she is in the first violin section of the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra and the Chicago Sinfonietta. As part of the Chicago Sinfonietta, she is in the Joffrey Ballet Orchestra and has performed Cinderella, Romeo and Juliet, Midsummer Night's Dream and more. She is a freelance artist who has performed with artists such as Ray Charles, Barry White, The Winans, Brian McKnight, Oprah Winfrey, Three Mo Tenors, Ben Vereen, and others.

Ms. Ali-Landing is affiliated with several organizations, most notably Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., the Suzuki Association of the Americas, and the Chicago Music Association. She currently resides in the South Shore with her husband and four lovely children.

Interview Questions:

What musical experience led you to founding the Hyde Park Suzuki Institute?

Lucinda: My experiences as child violinist, accomplished and aspiring to being in a professional orchestra one day lead me on a journey through years of lessons, youth orchestra, summer camps, undergrad and grad school in violin performance much like many others. Starting a music school I knew I could create a community that focused on providing a rich, fun and supportive social experience for children that looked like me.

What aspect of your work as an educator and director do you find most rewarding?

As an educator I LOVE being a part of children’s “ah ha” moments of understanding a concept or learning a new skill. As a director I enjoy the freedom to create what’s needed in order to support our families’ goals.

Similarly- what aspect of your performance career do you find most rewarding?

As a performer it is rewarding to bring audiences a visual experience as much as the experience of sound. Performing in the country’s most prestigious Concert Halls especially with children in the audience, waving back at them and sometimes meeting them afterwards brings it full circle for me.

Do you have a favorite composer? If so, what do you enjoy most about their work?

My favorite composer is a friend who I met at DePaul in grad school, Regina Baiocchi. It was cool to be a part of a composer’s life and be able to ask questions, see the amazing creative process and perform her works.

Is there a recent performance you've seen or participated in that made a lasting impression on you?

Chicago Sinfonietta’s recent performance of “Get Out” at the Auditorium Theatre was genius. Performing under the baton of composer/conductor Michael Abels was equally as exciting as watching the audience gasp, laugh, and be a part of the performance. Interactive live audiences are everything.

Chicago has a rich musical scene. Outside of organizations you are personally involved with, what groups, venues or ensembles do you love to support?

Classical music is my thing, but I also love gospel, old school R&B, Funk, hip hop and anything with a beat that makes you move. Churches, venues on the South Side and little “hole-in-the-wall” clubs.

Are there local organizations that you wish received greater recognition?

I’d trade recognition for equitable funding any day. Any organization that is doing grassroots work for marginalized communities on a shoe-string budget gets my vote.

What do you envision for the future of our Chicago music community?

I imagine walking down the street, after school hours, in any neighborhood and seeing an instrument case in every child’s hands. That means every school in every neighborhood has an instrumental music program.​