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Showing posts from August, 2010

NIU's Cliff Alexis Earns Another Honor

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Cliff Alexis, world-renowned steel pan builder, tuner, composer and arranger, and co-director of NIU's famed Steel Band, has earned another well-deserved award.

Readers of this blog may recall that Cliff was honored this past spring with the Abstract Entertainment Lifetime Achievement Award. Now, Cliff will be returning to Minneapolis in September to be inducted into the Mid-America Music Hall of Fame. In the 1970's, while living and teaching in the Twin Cities area, Cliff was a member of the calypso and soca group Shangoya. Because of their lasting influence on the music scene in the Twin Cities, Shangoya is being inducted in the Hall of Fame and Cliff is honored to have been a part of this ground-breaking ensemble.

As part of the festivities, Shangoya will perform at the Hall of Fame Festival on September 18.

Award-Winning Composer in Residence at NIU

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Syrian-born award-winning composer Kareem Roustom is coming to the NIU School of Music on September 9 for a two-day residency program. Steeped in the musical traditions of the Arab Near East and trained in Western music, Roustom is a musically bi-lingual composer who has collaborated with a wide variety of artists ranging from the Philadelphia Orchestra to Shakira. His recent concert music works include “Resonances” for Arabic violin, cello, hand percussion and string quartet (commissioned by Philadelphia Orchestra cellist Ohad Bar-David) and “The Son of Man” a large-scale choral work, spanning almost 70 minutes, and is set to text by Khalil Gibran. As an active composer of film music, Roustom has scored a number of short and feature-length films including the award-winning “Amreeka” (Sundance & Cannes Festivals). Of his score for“Amreeka” the Hollywood Reporter wrote "Kareem Roustom's Middle Eastern-flavored score contributes greatly" and of his recent score to the…

NIU Music Alumna Continues Making Headlines

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Readers of this blog will remember a recent post about Nicole Mitchell, who received the "Jazz Flutist of the Year" Award from the Jazz Journalists Association.

Now, Nicole has been featured in the Chicago Tribune as the "star" of the upcoming Chicago Jazz Festival.

Tribune jazz critic Howard Reich has written an extensive and, frankly, glowing article about Nicole, her life, and her upcoming performances at the Chicago Jazz Festival. About Nicole, Reich says "Mitchell's ferocious determination, combined with the virtuosity and sensuousness of her playing, has made her one of the most talked-about flutists in jazz...."

Steel Pan Professor and Alumnus Receive Excellent Review

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On Sunday, August 15, NIU School of Music Professor Liam Teague performed as soloist with the National Sinfonia of Trinidad and Tobago. Liam performed the world premiere of a work by NIU School of Music alumnus Ben Wahlund, entitled "Only When Eternity Nears."

Both the composition and Liam's performance were extremely well-received, as can be found in a review of the performance in Trinidad and Tobago's Newsday. Reviewer Anne Hilton called Liam's performance of Ben's piece "the highlight of the evening."

NIU Alum Earns Mr. Holland's Opus Award

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Readers are likely familiar with the 1995 major motion picture "Mr. Holland's Opus," which featured Richard Dreyfus as Glenn Holland, the composer-turned-school music teacher who discovers how meaningful teaching is. One year after the film's debut, the Mr. Holland's Opus Foundation was founded by the film's composer, Michael Kamen, as his commitment to music education. The foundation has become one of the United States' most significant resources in assisting needy school music programs with the instruments and resources they need to survive and flourish.

The Foundation added annual awards to their mission in 2003, and we are honored that William "Bill" Doolan, a 1972 graduate of the NIU School of Music, has received a 2010 Mr. Holland's Opus Foundation Award. Bill joins an elite group of music teachers who have demonstrated a strong commitment to music education and who meet stringent teaching and musical parameters in order to earn this no…

Clarinet Professor Enjoying Busy Year

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Gregory Barrett, Associate Professor of Clarinet in the NIU School of Music, has been very busy this summer and will continue with several noted activities this fall.

Greg taught and performed for two weeks this summer at the Birch Creek Music Performance Center Symphony Session in Door County, Wisconsin. In addition, he performed a recital with NIU piano faculty member JeongSoo Kim at the 2010 International Clarinet Association ClarinetFest in Austin, Texas.

Resulting from an NIU Committee for the Improvement of Undergraduate Education Grant, Dr. Barrett completed the composition of 24 clarinet etudes, each based on folk music from a different country.

In September he will be a guest recitalist for the Finnish Clarinet Society's 30th Anniversary Concert in Helsinki. He will premiere and record a newly commissioned work by Olli Virtaperko and also present a recital at the Sibelius Library in Turku, Finland.

In October he will perform with the Ars Viva Symphony Orchestra, comprised of…

Music Alum's School Jazz Band Earns Noted Honors

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Roosevelt Griffin is a 2001 graduate of the NIU School of Music who just shared some great news with us. Roosevelt is the Band Director at Gwendolyn Brooks Middle School in Harvey, IL. He tells us that despite the hardships of the city, he has a group of wonderful students who have the honor of being the first middle school band chosen to perform at the annual Chicago Jazz Festival. The Gwendolyn Brooks Jazz Band of Harvey, IL will perform at the 32nd Annual Chicago Jazz Festival on the Young Lions Stage. The performance will be in Grant Park on Saturday, September 4, 2010 at 2:25 pm. Roosevelt has invited another NIU alum to be their special guest, Christopher Davis (trumpet).

In additional to this wonderful news, this same band has been selected to perform at the internationally renowned Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic this coming December. NIU's Ron Carter, director of jazz studies, will be one of the special guests at this event.

Congratulations, Roosevelt!

Art History Professor Receives International Designation

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Sinclair Bell, assistant professor of art history in the NIU School of Art, recently learned that he has been designated a Research Ambassador to the German Academic Exchange Service (Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst or DAAD), the international research and study arm of the German government. Next week Sinclair will be in New York City with the other American research ambassadors for training provided by DAAD. More information is expected to be posted on their website following the training.

Piano Professor Performs at Smithsonian Institution

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William Goldenberg, Distinguished Professor of Piano at NIU, and his sister, Susan Goldenberg, violinist in the Kansas City Symphony, have performed as the Goldenberg Duo for 30 years at various universities and performing arts series. On August 8, the Duo will perform at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C. as part of that institution's ongoing performing arts series.

Previous performance appearances include the University of Missouri-Kansas City, University of Missouri-Columbia, Central Missouri State University and Kansas City’s Ruel Joyce Series. The Duo has enthusiastically captured audiences at the Amalfi Coast Festival in Italy, The Les Arts George V Series in Paris, and the St.Peter’s Church Series in England. They traveled to China in 2004 for performances and masterclasses in Beijing, Shanghai. In 2005, the Duo performed concerts in Stockholm, Sweden and Bergen, Norway. Their British Columbia Tour in 2006 included a Vancouver Art Gallery recital and The…