Willie Pickens, jazz piano instructor in the NIU School of Music, has earned another wonderful review. Noted jazz critic Howard Reich of the Chicago Tribune reviewed Willie's performance at the Jazz Showcase of Friday, November 29.
Among the many laudatory comments Mr. Reich made was this: "...the music was consistently deep in message and often brilliant in delivery. No wonder the room was packed to capacity, with a line of hopeful customers stretching half a block outside in the winter chill."
The full review may be read here. Congratulations, Willie!
Saturday, November 30, 2013
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Fans of the NIU Jazz Ensemble, under the direction of Professor Ronald Carter, know how "hot" the band is. We were excited to see a review of one of the band's recent performances, espousing what we already know!
In Madison, Wisconsin's Madison Magazine, critic Greg Hettmansberger penned a review entitled "Throw Out the Thermometer - It Was a Hot Night in Sun Prairie." Clearly Mr. Hettmansberger was impressed!
Among several glowing remarks, the review states "Carter hails from Georgia, and appropriately opened with a rip-roaring “Sweet Georgia Brown,” way faster than the Harlem Globetrotters could have used for their shoot-arounds. A major highlight of their first set was “Spring Can Hang You Up the Most,” which opens and closes as a ballad, while switching gears for a wild ride middle section. Trombonist Jaron McCarr was a consummate soloist throughout the number."
We encourage you to read the full review (link above). Congratulations to Ron and the band!
Mall Adventures (Lithography, 2013)
We are delighted that NIU School of Art student John Cheney has had work accepted to the 3rd Student International Small Print Show, known as "SIPS14," which will be presented in two cities in Egypt.
Monday Morning Coffee (Lithography, 2013)
According to their Facebook page, SIPS14 is an annual international printmaking exhibition dedicated to students. The exhibition aims to promote the works of talented young artists from allover the world, and represents an excellent opportunity of exposure for young printmaking artists
The show will open at Minia University in Minya, Egypt, on March 25, 2014, and following its run there will then be presented in a gallery in Cairo.The showing at Minia University will be in conjunction with the international art conference of the faculty of fine arts.
Congratulations are in order for NIU School of Theatre and Dance instructor Luke Krueger - Luke was recently notified that he has another play accepted for publication! As you may be aware, publication for a playwright is extremely difficult. There are few publishers of plays, and plenty of writers scratching to get one of the coveted slots. So this is very exciting news, indeed.
Canterbury Tales was written in 2012 for the incoming freshman BFA acting majors at NIU and their showcase performance for the School of Theatre and Dance. The play is not simply a retelling of the tales. Rather, the story is intertwined with the intrigue at the court of Richard II and his fight with Henry Bolingbroke, and the struggle for English to become the language of court. Luke says that the tales themselves were fun to create in that he also translated them from the original middle English, although some French and middle English still survived in the script. The piece was directed and developed with the help of another School of Theatre and Dance faculty member, Stanton Davis.
Luke has had the pleasure over the last three years of writing the freshman showcase pieces. Of the three that he has written, two will now be published (Young Goodman Brown  was published by Playscripts, Inc. , and now Canterbury Tales , will be published by Next Stage Press ); Us American Players, the freshman BFA showcase piece for this year, has not yet been circulated to publishers.
When Canterbury Tales is published, it will include the original production information: who played what role, the director, designers, stage manager, and that the NIU School of Theatre and Dance produced it under the direction of Alexander Gelman. It is quite thrilling to think that we have now had two consecutive BFA classes who can show published scripts with their names in them as the original cast.
Monday, November 25, 2013
The NIU Steel Band continues to earn wonderful reviews internationally. This past Sunday, the band, under the direction of Liam Teague and Cliff Alexis, performed their annual fall concert in the Boutell Memorial Concert Hall of the NIU School of Music.
Appearing on the renowned steel pan web site When Steel Talks, the review states "So what was new and different? First off, a Rock guitarist and a brass section participated in some numbers in the first half of the program - immediately presenting the world with tremendous musical possibilities when you have a collaboration of a steel orchestra with conventional musical instruments. The performances pleasantly presented more voices and colors in a way not commonly heard or digested, to the audience. In addition, it opened both their minds and those of the students to future artistic possibilities.
The full review may be read here. Congratulations Liam, Cliff, all guest artists and the members of the Steel Band!
Kerry Freedman, Professor of Art+Design Education in the NIU School of Art, has recently returned from her second trip abroad this semester. Kerry was distinguished by being invited to provide addresses at two significant conferences this fall.
In Pamplona, Spain, Kerry was invited to present her paper “Art Outside of School: Youth Visual Culture Learning Communities.” This international symposium focused on youth culture and was titled Mapping and Assessing the Research about Young People as Visual Culture Producers. The conference focused on the emerging field of research about youth participatory culture, and Kerry spoke about her international project on youth visual culture learning communities.
In London, UK, Kerry provided the keynote address, entitled “Turning Art Education Outside In: How Institutional Change Can Support Contemporary Practice.“ This was at a conference on higher education schools of art titled Progressive Arts Education: Inclusion, Change, and Intervention, sponsored by the University of the Arts and held at the British Library. It focused on diversifying student populations in higher education arts programs. Kerry spoke about research (hers and others) on youth culture and the ways that we can draw on knowledge about youth arts experiences and activities outside of school to support students' entrance into art programs.
Kaia String Quartet (photo credit: Ryan C. Kolegas)
We're pleased to report that the current Graduate String Quartet in Residence at the NIU School of Music, the Kaia Quartet, is receiving praise from noted quarters.
The quartet has been named the "Quartet in Residence" for the Chicago Latino Music Festival. This distinction brings with it the opportunity for the quartet to work with many internationally renowned Latino music artists over a two-month period.
This past weekend the Kaia Quartet performed the world premiere of Gustavo Leone's "Absurdopera" as part of the festival. Of their performance, reviewer Andrew Patner in the Chicago Sun Times writes "The young Kaia String Quartet...were wholly in touch with Leone's ideas and effective musical language...."
The entire review may be read here. Congratulations to the members of the Kaia Quartet!