Pianist Welz Kauffman doubles as president and CEO of the Ravinia Festival, ensuring the accessibility of classical music to Chicagoland residents of diverse backgrounds. As such, Kauffman has expanded the The Steans Institute for Young Artists, the professional studies wing of North America's oldest music festival, which transforms gifted musicians into expert performing artists. He has commissioned new work for Steans Artists from noted composers included Ned Rorem, Jake Heggie, and Lita Grier. The newest addition to Grier's Ravinia-commissioned Songs from Spoon River — "Ann Rutledge" — is part of the festival's 2009 season-spanning, bicentennial salute to the birth of Abraham Lincoln. As a pianist, Kauffman won the Tanglewood Young Artist Award and performed concertos with five prestigious orchestras. He is a regular performer at the Ravinia Festival, where he often accompanies Ravinia-commissioned projects. He has also participated in master classes with John Browning, Alicia de Larrocha, Alfred Brendel, Tamás Vásáry, Lang Lang, Peter Serkin, and Karl Ulrich Schnabel.