Friday, March 7, 2014
The Avalon String Quartet, quartet-in-residence at the NIU School of Music, is on a short tour of California. From their recent performances at The Music Guild, reviewer Tony Frankel penned a wonderful review entitled "I Found my Love in Avalon" in Stage and Cinema.
Among several noteworthy remarks, Mr. Frankel states "This is one of the most meticulously amalgamated ensembles I have seen. The training of these focused collaborators - namely with the Juilliard, Emerson and Vermeer Quartets - consistently shows itself in elegance, clarity, blend and give-and-take. They're polished, vibrant, and straightforward but never cheeky."
You may read the entire review here.
Congratulations, Blaise, Marie, Tony and Cheng-Hou!
Tuesday, March 4, 2014
Fareed Haque, Professor of Guitar in the NIU School of Music, has released his latest recording with his group the Flat Earth Ensemble, entitled Trance Hypothesis.
Trance Hypothesis has received an excellent review in PopMatters, by reviewer Rob Caldwell. About one track Mellow Mood, Caldwell states "The cool, late-nite jazz electronica of the track features tasteful Wes Montgomery licks filtered through a soft-psych prism, plus organ and subtle sitar." Caldwell has much to say about several of the tracks - you can read the entire review here.
Friday, February 28, 2014
Michael Rea, assistant professor of sculpture in the NIU School of Art, will have an upcoming solo exhibition in Chicago.
The exhibition, entitled Exile on Main Street, will be held at Devening Projects and Editions, 3039 West Carroll, Chicago. This will be Mike's first solo show in the gallery.
The exhibition will take place in the off space and features a major new installation feature sculpture inspired by film. The exhibition runs from March 9 - April 12, 2014; the opening reception takes place on Sunday, March 9, from 4 - 7pm.
For over a decade, Chicago artist Mike Rea has used his bombastic wooden sculptures to conflate notions of working hard and playing hard. Regenerated moments of cinematic horror, science fiction, comedy and drama intermingle with memory to form bizarre personal narratives. The aggregate of this mix is uncanny and often thrills and confounds his audience. Rea's sculptures carry forward the familiar; very quickly those recognizable elements are subverted and meaning and understanding go haywire. Whether the work operates as conventional sculpture or as props within interactive installations and performances, these typically large-scale works sensitively reflect a culture of humor, violence and vulgarity.
Although he continues to mine pop culture and its stereotypes, in Exile on Main Street Mike Rea is discovering some edgy new themes. Pulling from the margins of literature and films, he's taking set pieces that one might barely notice and moves them front and center. Chain link fences, bathroom stalls and graffiti are meticulously reproduced in wood to become poetic moments of the desired and the strange. Replicated boom mics place the audience on the set, casting them as complicit participants in his production. Thrown into the mix is a set of three moody masks that hover nearby. The last and perhaps most peculiar sculpture is a large, mute wooden gong that makes the viewer aware of its comedic implications and racial associations. These objects and sets are familiar; they're almost clichéd in certain filmic and literary genres. Ultimately, it's the way Rea uses material from the constructed reality of fiction and places it directly in our own. The result is both funny and unnerving.
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Larry Williams, Dean Rich Holly, Tom Bough
Concerto for Horn and Wind Band, by Dr. Thomas Bough, professor in the NIU School of Music, received its world premiere performance on Wednesday, February 26, with noted horn soloist Larry Williams performing the solo horn part. Dr. Bough conducted the NIU Wind Symphony in the premiere of his work.
The Concerto is the result of several meetings, collaborations and conversations between Tom and Larry. They are both artist/clinicians for the Yamaha Corporation of America (Tom is a tubist), and as such have appeared together providing brass instrument clinics across the United States. Tom and the Wind Symphony also recorded the work, with Larry as soloist, for an upcoming CD of Tom's compositions.
Larry Williams, Laura Fairfield, John Fairfield
Prior to the evening performance, Larry was the featured guest at NIU's Horn Day, which also featured horn professor John Fairfield. In attendance at the concert were several area horn players, from middle school through adult, and including Laura Fairfield, John's wife, also an accomplished professional horn player.
Friday, February 21, 2014
We're happy to report that NIU Art History Professor Mary Quinlan is receiving national notoriety recently. Her most recent book has continued earning great reviews, many of which are excerpted on the page via the link. Other recent great reviews have come in from the College Art Association CAA Reviews, and one published in Renaissance Quarterly.
Mary has also had several prestigious invitations related to this book, each an hour-long presentation followed by Q&A. Invitations include those to the Newberry Library in Chicago (April), the University of Chicago (November), and the University of Wisconsin - Madison (November).
Additionally, Mary received an invitation to speak in the Lauro de Bosis lecture series at Harvard University (March 10). There are several unique features of the Harvard talk: A core group of Harvard graduate students will have read the book and written a formal book review on it, and one of these is selected for publication on Harvard's De Bosis site. In addition, Mary will be interviewed for a video that then will be posted on YouTube.
Thursday, February 20, 2014
We've just learned that Liam Teague, co-director of the the world-renowned Steel Pan program in the NIU School of Music, has been chosen by the Anthony M. Sabga Caribbean Awards for Excellence committee as the 2014 Laureate in Arts and Letters. Launched in 2005, these awards are the leading recognition program in the Caribbean for the arts, sciences, and public and civic work. According to the awards' website, the awards are meant "...to recognize significant Caribbean achievement, to encourage and to support the pursuit of excellence by Caribbean persons, for the benefit of the region."
Tuesday, February 11, 2014
The NIU School of Music is pleased to announce the upcoming "Horn Day," on February 26. The featured performer for the event is noted horn soloist Larry Williams, and the day will also feature NIU professors Thomas Bough and John Fairfield, along with the NIU Wind Symphony. The event is free of charge.
As part of the day, participants will take part in masterclasses and rehearsals, and the evening concert of the NIU Wind Symphony will feature Larry Williams performing the World Premiere of Dr. Bough's Concerto for Horn and Wind Band.
We hope you'll be able to join us for this great day of horn playing! Here are the details of the day:
NIU Horn Day
Featuring Larry Williams
February 26th, 2014 - NIU School of Music
Dr. Thomas Bough and the NIU Wind Symphony | NIU Horn Professor John Fairfield
Horn Concerto Premiere | Horn Masterclass
Free Concert | Free Pizza Dinner for Students
About Larry Williams:
"An outstanding artist-soloist with fine tone, excellent intonation, superb accuracy, and superior musicianship"
- Philip Farkas
Mr. Williams is one of the "50 Leaders of Tomorrow".
- Ebony Magazine
Larry Williams is currently Artistic Director/Principal Horn of American Studio Orchestra, Principal Horn of The Black Pearl Chamber Orchestra and member of The Philadelphia Big Brass and Lyric Brass Quintet.
Williams formerly served as Principal Horn of The New World Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Sir Michael Tilson Thomas, and has performed with the Baltimore, Pittsburgh, and San Francisco Symphony Orchestras. Learn more at: www.LarryWilliams.us
Schedule of Events:
12:30-1:00 – Check in at the School of Music Lobby
1:00-2:50 – Observe a Wind Symphony Rehearsal, Directed by Dr. Thomas Bough
3:15-3:50 – Breathing Gym Masterclass with Dr. Thomas Bough
4:00-5:50 – Horn Masterclass with Larry Williams and NIU Horn Professor John Fairfield. Bring your horns and a solo or etude to play. You could be selected to have a “mini lesson” with Larry Williams or John Fairfield during the masterclass!
6:00-7:30 – Free pizza dinner and “Meet and Greet” with NIU music students
8:00 – Wind Symphony Concert, NIU’s Boutell Memorial Concert Hall, Larry Williams, guest soloist. Free and open to the public.
Let us know if you plan to attend this exciting event - RSVP by February 14 to Kate Swope,
firstname.lastname@example.org or (815)753-7971. Please include your name, age, school, and how many participants you plan to bring with you.