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Trio Chicago & Friends is an American music ensemble praised for its annual tours to remote parts of the globe as cultural ambassadors. The group has been consistently recognized for its stylistic versatility in concerts, and for its master classes and teaching interchanges with local students. TC&F features American music by composers such as Gershwin, Ellington, Bernstein, Copland, Pat Metheny, Cole Porter and Irving Berlin.

Trio Chicago & Friends made the first of three initial tours to China in 1996, and in 1999 they accompanied the Governor of lllinois on an historic state trade and cultural delegation to Cuba, followed by a return visit in 2000. The musicians’ spirit of adventure has since taken them to Belize, Venezuela, Barbados, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Myanmar, Turkey, Ethiopia, Mali, Zambia, Uganda, the Russian Far East, Djibouti, Jordan, Egypt, Mongolia, Paraguay, Botswana, Australia, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, United Arab Emirates, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Palau, South Korea, Singapore, Peru, Kuwait, Chile, and again to China in 2012. As cultural ambassadors, Trio Chicago & Friends often works through and enhances the activities of United States Embassies. In 2003, at the invitation of Ethiopian President Girma, Trio Chicago & Friends performed at the National Palace for the opening event in a series celebrating the Centenary of Ethiopian-American relations. In 2005, the group returned to Vietnam for the tenth anniversary celebration of the normalizing of relations between the US and Vietnam. In 2006, the group was honored at the US State Dept. in Washington, D.C. “for sustained and exceptional contributions and services to cultural diplomacy in Africa.” In early 2007, TC&F performed at the invitation of the Cambodian Government at the World Culture Expo in Angkor Wat. In May, 2008, the US State Dept. again presented an award to the group "for sustained excellence in promoting cultural diplomacy and mutual understanding through music in the East Asian and Pacific region."

The group is led by one of Chicago’s most distinguished violinists, Elliott Golub, who served as concertmaster of Chicago’s Music of the Baroque since its inception in 1972 to 2006. Mr. Golub was formerly concertmaster of the Contemporary Chamber Players of the University of Chicago. In Washington, D.C., he was invited to play at the Kennedy Center, Library of Congress, and the White House. In 2006, he received the William Hall Sherwood Award "for outstanding contributions to the arts," and in 2010 received the Distinguished Alumni Award from the Cleveland Institute of Music "for excellence in promoting cultural diplomacy as an ambassador of music to the world." In 2011, he received the Otto Wirth Award for Lifetime Achievement from Roosevelt University.

Co-founder Marlou Johnston, who plays the viola and violin, has been concertmaster and soloist with the Kankakee (Illinois) Symphony Orchestra since 1982. She was formerly concertmaster of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago. In 2004, she received the Distinguished Achievement Award from Carleton College (Minnesota) for "outstanding accomplishments and leadership in the field of music."

Flutist Laura Hamm has studied with Jean Pierre Rampal and James Galway, and received a master of music degree and a certificate in flute performance from Northwestern University. She has participated in numerous music festivals throughout the world. Ms. Hamm is on the faculty of the Music Institute of Chicago.

Soprano Suna Gunther received her doctorate from Indiana University and teaches at several music academies in Lexington, Kentucky.  She is the assistant music director of University of Kentucky’s Schmidt Opera Outreach Program and previously taught music theory at Indiana University. Ms. Gunther’s varied operatic resume includes Cunegonde (Candide), Pamina (The Magic Flute), Josephine (HMS Pinafore), and Madame Lidoine (Dialogue of the Carmelites). She has performed with the Richmond Symphony, Apollo Chorus, Indianapolis Baroque Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Grant Park Chorus, and Light Opera Works.

Pianist Susan Chou is a doctoral candidate in Piano Performance at Indiana University, where she was awarded a full scholarship to study with Menahem Pressler. In addition to giving numerous solo and chamber recitals, she has worked with prominent musicians such as Cliff Colnot, Julian Martin, Ursula Oppens, Miriam Fried and Victor Yampolsky. 

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