In 1977, we added the weekly Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts in Preston Bradley Hall of the Chicago Cultural Center to provide performance opportunities for emerging musicians early in their professional careers and a ‘lunch-break for the soul’ for the public. The series was inspired by the lunchtime concerts given by Dame Myra Hess at London’s National Gallery throughout World War II.
In 1982, we introduced Live Music Now! (currently known as Young People's Concerts) for students in grades K – 8 to experience live performances. The concerts have grown to reach more than 90 Chicago Public Schools annually.
In October 2016, the International Music Foundation and Rush Hour Concerts (RHC), two premier classical music presenters in Chicago, came together in a merged organization. Rush Hour Concerts, founded by pianist and civic leader Deborah Sobol in 2000 originated as a summer concert series at St. James Cathedral. In 2011, Make Music Chicago, a citywide, daylong celebration of music making on the summer solstice, June 21, was added, followed by the addition of a professional ensemble residency program in Chicago’s neighborhoods in 2012.