A member of the Chicago Symphony Chorus since 1990, soprano Alicia Monastero Akers is a native of Green Oaks, Ill. She holds two degrees from Northwestern University: bachelor of music in music education and a master of music is voice performance.
What work(s) this season are you are most looking forward to performing, and why?
The June performances of Rossini’s Stabat mater and Mozart’s Kyrie in D Minor.
Tell us about some of your favorite non-classical musicians, music, pieces of music, or songs:
I listen to a lot of contemporary a cappella music because that is what my students are interested in and eager to sing. Recently, Pentatonix has made a strong impact on pop music and has created challenging yet accessible arrangements for voices. I love finding music that makes kids excited to sing in ensembles.
Was there a specific moment or experience during which you first connected with choral singing?
I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t involved in choral singing. However, one specific experience that reaffirmed and reconnected me with the power and beauty of choral singing was during our performance of Verdi’s Requiem in 2013. Maestro Muti guided us through the most glorious concert where the performers and audience members shared a profound musical experience that truly touched the mind, body and soul.
What is your most memorable CSC performance or experience?
I have vivid memories of singing Schoenberg’s Moses und Aaron and Brahms’ German Requiem in Berlin in 1999 while pregnant with my daughter. Her physical reaction to each work made those performances unforgettable for me!
Do you play another instrument or perform in non-classical vocal style or setting? 
I have been the choir director at Deerfield High School since 1990, and I find that each symphony chorus rehearsal and performance offers me the unique opportunity to share what I learn as a performer with my high school students. I steal quotes and ideas from each conductor who takes the podium and try to use what I learn in my teaching. There is no better professional development as a musician or as a public school music teacher than singing with the finest symphony chorus in the world.