Showing posts from 2011

Internet2 Recognizes Efforts of NIU School of Music

During the fall member meeting of Internet2, the NIU School of Music was a vital partner in demonstrating a new technology known as LOLA. This LOw LAtency software product allowed for two musicians, 1000 miles apart, to perform together live and in high definition.

Paul Bauer, Director of the NIU School of Music, Dan Nichols, School of Music technology expert, and Cheng-Hou Lee, professor of 'cello and member of NIU's Avalon String Quartet, were all instrumental in making this work. Cheng-Hou performed in DeKalb in the School of Music's recital hall, while violinist Marjorie Bagley performed at the conference in Raleigh, North Carolina.

An excellent article on the Internet2 website may be found here.

Art Professor's and Students' Work on Exhibition at Norris Center

NIU School of Art professor Charlotte Rollman and several of her graduate students will have their works on display at the Norris Cultural Arts Center in St. Charles. The exhibition is entitled Turn It On Its Side and opens Saturday, January 14, 2012.

Charlotte tells us, "Turn It On Its Side is a comment on my art critiquing style. When one looks so intensely at one's own art you can't see where the problems are.

"So, by looking at the art on it's side or even upside down, it becomes very clear and easily finished. The continuing advanced students are so used to me moving their art, it was an obvious choice for the title for our group exhibit. The quilt design is a great impression of our critiques by the quality and variety, something I take pride in as well."

The graduate students represented in the show are from the fall Hoffman Estates classes that Charlotte teaches under the auspices of NIU's College of Visual and Performing Arts external programs off…

Two Music Professors Earn Kudos in Chicago Tribune

Art Davis

Tom Garling

Chicago Tribune arts critic and noted jazz aficionado Howard Reich wrote a nice review of the recent performance of the Chicago Jazz Orchestra. In the review, Reich singles out a few of the members of the CJO, including two who are on the NIU School of Music faculty - Art Davis and Tom Garling.

Of Art Davis, Reich says "Two veteran soloists stood out...Art Davis...kept his lines lean and sleek, a sharply conceived counterpoint to Schneider's arabesques. Here were fire and ice playing off of one another to striking effect."

Reich points out Tom Garling by writing "The first set's tour de force came in trombonist Tom Garling's "Metamorphosis," ...(which) unfolded as a miniature jazz concerto, Garling's trombone lines riffing head-to-head against the band in some passages, riding its rhythmic thrust in others."

The entire review may be found here.

Congratulations Art and Tom!

Ambassador from Trinidad and Tobago Visits CVPA

CVPA Dean Rich Holly with Ambassador Dr. Neil Parsan

On November 19 and 20, the NIU College of Visual and Performing Arts hosted the Ambassador to the United States from Trinidad and Tobago, Dr. Neil Parsan. In addition to attending the NIU Steel Band concert and providing words of encouragement and support to the NIU community, Ambassador Parsan met with CVPA Dean Rich Holly, steel band co-directors Clifford Alexis and Liam Teague, significant steel band donor Lester Trilla and several NIU dignitaries during his time on the NIU campus.

Dr. Parsan is extremely passionate about finding ways in which NIU can partner with entities in Trinidad and Tobago to further the exposure and reach of the steel pan, the national instrument of Trinidad and Tobago. As a result of several hours of meetings and conversations, we’ll be looking to create internships for NIU steel pan students to perform with the major steel bands in Trinidad and Tobago, work toward scholarship opportunities for more Trinida…

Art History Division Announces Guest Lecturer

Stephen Eskilson of Eastern Illinois University will join the NIU Art History Division to provide his lecture entitled "Détournement—Subversive Visual Communication." The lecture takes place on Wednesday, November 16, at 6:15 p.m. in Gabel Hall room 126.

Professor Eskilson’s lecture springs from an exhibition he curated this autumn at Eastern Illinois University. The exhibition takes as its starting point the visual and conceptual strategies of the Situationist Internationale (SI), the French avant-garde group that “officially” existed between 1957 and 1972. Led by Guy Debord after 1962, members of the SI produced theoretical tracts along with ironic examples of what they termed détournement, the subversion of elements of the mass media. Détournement literally means “to deflect or redirect” and suggests a strategy of turning known ideas or images into something new and different with the intent to communicate subversive ideas in a familiar guise. Debord and Gil J. Wolman …

Art + Design Educators Create City at STEMFest

The NIU Art + Design Education Division student chapter of the National Art Education Association (NAEA) hosted "Build a Lego City" at Northern Illinois University’s STEMfest 2011. Visitors to "Build a Lego City" explored the integration of engineering and art through the creation of skyscrapers and other urban architectural structures with Lego building blocks. They also explored architectural design and engineering concepts in the digital realm using Lego Digital Designer software.

Please visit the website to see documentation of the event, including video, photos, and a slideshow.

Here is one video from the event:

CVPA Earns International Awards

The NIU College of Visual and Performing Arts is very proud to announce that we have won two significant campus-wide awards. At a reception honoring international education at NIU on Monday, November 14, the NIU School of Music was honored to receive the sole award for “Outstanding Department Contribution to International Education at NIU" for 2011.

The School of Music has nearly one-third of its faculty hailing from countries other than the United States, and enrolls students from throughout the world. The School's commitment to world music and ethnomusicology studies, along with it's ground-breaking use of Internet2 technology to extend the reach of our faculty and to bring the world to NIU through state-of-the-art technology, were noted during the presenter's remarks at the award ceremony.

We're just as proud that NIU School of Art ProfessorJon Ashmann won the International Educator of the Year Award at the same ceremony. Jon has led study abroad programs to nume…

Chamber Choir Performs at National Convention

Dr. Johnson and members of the Chamber Choir with Alice Parker

Dr. Johnson and Dr. Arania

NIU Chamber Choir in rehearsal at Colorado State University

On Friday, November 4, the Northern Illinois University Chamber Choir once again took the stage to perform at a National Collegiate Choral Organization National Convention. The group traveled to Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado, to share their talents with the nation's finest collegiate choral conductors and programs. The Chamber Choir, under the direction of Dr. Eric A. Johnson, performed selections of Israeli choral music and NIU voice faculty member Orna Arania lectured on important historical and compositional trends of Israel. The lecture and concert were extremely well-received, noting the high musicianship of the choir, refined conducting, and compelling delivery of information.

While attending the convention, our students also had the opportunity to attend many concerts and interest sessions. Highlights include…

Percussion Alum Performs Philip Glass Concerto

Conductor Julian Kuerti, Dick Jensen, Philip Glass and Patrick Schleker

Patrick Schleker, a 2004 alumnus of the NIU School of Music and now the Principal Timpanist of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, performed as soloist on Philip Glass' "Concerto Fantasy for Two Timpanists and Orchestra" with the CSO and with Mr. Glass present.

Performing the 2nd timpanist part was CSO Assistant Principal Timpanist Dick Jensen. The work features the two soloists performing on 14 timpani!

There is an excellent review of the concert here.

Congratulations, Patrick!

Time Arts Graduate Student Featured Nationally

Jason Judd, and second year MFA student studying Time Arts in the NIU School of Art, has recently been featured in two national publications.

His writing, entitled "Survival Tips," appears in the latest issue of Methods of Being. Methods of Being is an ongoing collection of artists writings that develop a sense of the nature of making things. The writings are not artist statements, but rather statements of being an artist.

Jason is also featured in an interview in the current issue of Bite magazine. Bite magazine taps into youth culture with focus on art, fashion, media and design.

Jason approaches his art work through a variety of media - video, photography, and installation. His work becomes an attempt to answer questions of being through romantic notions and distorted common sense.

Congratulations, Jason!

Percussion Professor's Duo Releases Second Album

New Amsterdam Records, whose name has become synonymous with the sweeping array of quality music across classical’s burgeoning independent scene, issues two deeply expressive releases on Tuesday, November 15: composer Gregory Spears’ timeless Requiem, which premiered victoriously in 2010, and flute/percussion duo Due East’s sophomore release, drawn only once, featuring a stalwart pair of multimedia works from composer John Supko, presented in both CD and 5.1 surround sound DVD formats.

Both albums will be launched in a concert at Galapagos Art Space on Monday, November 21 (7:00 PM doors, 8:00 PM show). Gregory Spears’ Requiem will be performed in full, followed by John Supko’s Littoral, an epic 35-minute multi-media work involving surround sound audio and live music for Due East, coupled with gorgeous videography by Kristine Marx.

In drawn only once, Due East (Erin Lesser, flute; Greg Beyer, percussion, NIU professor) features two of John Supko’s multimedia projects, Littoral and This w…

The 2nd NIU New Music Festival Announced

New York City-based Ensemble to visit NIU School of Music for 2nd NIU New Music Festival


On Tuesday and Wednesday, November 1-2, 2011, the NIU School of Music’s New Music Ensemble, under the direction of Dr. Gregory Beyer, will be joined by New York City-based ensemble Yarn/Wire to present two fantastic programs of music by major composers of the 20th Century. This multi-day event will be the second festival in the ensemble’s history, the first taking place in the Spring of 2010 when another New York City-based collective, Wet Ink came to the School of Music. Yarn/Wire features an ensemble of two pianos and two percussionists, an “unlikely” ensemble that nevertheless boasts a repertoire of amazing depth and history.

The programs were designed around Yarn/Wire and feature music by Luciano Berio (1925-2003), Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971) and George Crumb (b. 1929). Both Berio and Crumb have written masterworks for the two piano/two percussion combination. The i…

Art Cafe a Hit at NIU's STEMFest

October 22 saw the 2nd Annual STEMFest at NIU's Convocation Center. As part of the dozens of exhibits for the thousands of attendees to see and interact with, the NIU Division of Art and Design Education presented Art Cafe, their learning emporium on the popular Second Life website.

Professor Lilly Lu and several graduate students staffed the exhibit and were very busy all day with interested and excited children.

In addition to the photos here, feel free to view all of our photos from the event here.

Dance Professor Choreographs Show in Chicago

Paula Frasz, professor of dance in the NIU School of Theatre and Dance, brings her original choreography to an upcoming show in Chicago.

"The Escape," three Tennessee Williams plays and three corresponding modern dances, opens at the American Theater Company in Chicago for a six-performance run starting Thursday, November 3. Paula choreographed the dances which act as prequel, sequel and finale to the three plays. Each dance and play deals with the act of escape in a different way.

In the first, three members of a Mississippi chain gang listen while their compatriot tries to escape. The dance looks at five African-American dancers and their attempt to escape the larger bonds of racism and bigotry. Actors sing authentic chain gang songs as accompaniment.

"Summer At The Lake" deals with a sensitive boy and his overbearing mother who spend their last summer at a lake house before it is sold. He escapes reality by walking into the lake forever. The dance shows …

Avalon String Quartet Earns Great Reviews

This past Sunday, October 23, NIU's Avalon String Quartet begin their 9-part series at the Art Institute of Chicago in which they will perform, over the coming months, the entire Beethoven String Quartet cycle, 17 works in all. Sunday's concert programming was designed to "book end" the series, and thus featured Beethoven's first and last quartets.

The Quartet earned a fabulous review from reviewer Dennis Polkow of Chicago Classical Review. Of the performance, Mr. Polkow writes "There are other quartets that have achieved more beautiful tone for this final quartet, but few that can traverse such a cornucopia of musical ideas so fully realized as a unit." You can read the entire review here.

Also in attendance for the first part of Sunday's concert was Chicago Tribune critic John von Rhein. Apparently Mr. von Rhein attended several performances this weekend and has written a review encapsulating several of them. He remarked "...the cycle is off to…

Museum Studies Program Earns Several Awards

NIU's Graduate Certificate in Museum Studies program has, for the fourth consecutive year, earned multiple awards from the Illinois Association of Museums.

In the photos above, you can see Jo Burke, Director of the NIU Art Museum, and Peter van Ael, Coordinator of the Museum Studies Program, accepting awards from the president of the IAM Board of Directors, David Becker.

Our friends at NIU Today have penned a very nice article about the awards - please check it out here!

Upcoming Events in the CVPA!

COLLEGE OF VISUAL & PERFORMING ARTS – October EventsOctober 20, 2011Visit us on our website, follow The Arts @ NIU Blog or stop by our Facebook page for more information.
We have several wonderful events - please check out our events page to discover our offerings!

Painting Professor has Show in New York

Frank Trankina, professor of painting in the NIU School of Art, will have his works shown at the Regina Rex Gallery as part of the show entitled "Deja Vu."

As the Regina Rex website explains: "This exhibition features works that reveal the process of their own making while sharing an interest in form and illusion. Often made in one medium and then again in another, each artist in the exhibition appropriates images and materials from their own studio practice. Most use painting as either the origin or the destination for a given work. Not unlike experiencing the uncanny sensation that a present event may have occurred in the past, all the works featured have been made once, and then again."

In Frank's case, he places items in a still-life arrangement, and then creates a painting of the still-life.

The show runs from October 22 to November 20. Congratulations, Frank!

Trumpet Concerto Makes NIU Premiere Performance

Mark Ponzo

Tom Bough

One of the most noted concertos for trumpet is the Concerto in E-flat for Trumpet and Strings, by J. B. G. Neruda, a Bohemian contemporary of noted classical music composers Handel and Haydn.

Professor Tom Bough of the NIU School of Music arranged the Concerto for concert band, and the piece is now published by Cimarron Music Press. The piece will have its NIU premiere performance on Wednesday, November 9, in a concert featuring the NIU Wind Symphony (under Dr. Bough's direction) with NIU professor of trumpet Dr. Mark Ponzo appearing as soloist. The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. and will be held in the Boutell Memorial Concert Hall in the Music Building.

The concert will feature several additional noted works for concert band as well as a massed trumpet ensemble. For more information, please send an email to

Percussion Professor in Finals of Prestigious Competition

Greg Beyer, professor of percussion in the NIU School of Music, along with his wife, flautist Erin Lesser (a member of the faculty at the Lawrence Conservatory of Music), comprise the music duo Due East. We've just learned that Due East has made the finals of the Concert Artists Guild competition. The CAG competition is noteworthy in that it is the only international competition that, as part of the prize, includes several years of professional management and booking of performances. CAG is arguably the most prestigious competition for young performers.

Concert Artists Guild says their mission "is to discover, nurture and promote young build sustainable careers." Each year their competition begins with approximately 350 musicians and chamber music groups, which, through competition, are reduced to 12 finalists. Ultimately three or four finalists will be chosen as winners each year.

The finals are this coming Wednesday, October 19, and the awards ceremony is …

Olson Gallery Publishes Catalog

The Jack Olson Gallery in the NIU School of Art has published a catalog to accompany and document the exhibition Inked: Tattoo Imagery in Contemporary Art, an exhibition co-curated by Olson Gallery and NIU Museum Studies Program Coordinator Peter Van Ael and NIU Museum Studies alumna and MA in Metals/Jewelry candidate Agnes Ma. The catalog contains interviews the curators conducted with the artists, and is lavishly illustrated, reproducing all works included in the exhibition and documenting the actual exhibition with photographs by Museum Studies and MFA in Photography candidate Sarah Rivers. The catalog may be previewed here.

School of Art Professor's Film to be Screened

Bart Woodstrup, professor in the Time Arts area of the NIU School of Art and new media artist, has two upcoming showings of the film Song Cycle for Haruki Murakami, which is a collaborative effort between Bart and NIU School of Music alum Matthew Dotson (MM 2005).

On October 15 Song Cycle for Haruki Murakami (2007) will be screened in "DL: short cuts to Japan" at the Black Box Kino im Filmmuseum, Duesseldorf, Germany. This is a film fest "dedicated to Japan in experimental cinema and video art - celebrating the 150 anniversary of Japanese-German diplomatic relations."

Song Cycle for Haruki Murakami will also be screened on November 5th at SCREAM Festival 2011: Sounding Images - located at the Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater in the Walt Disney Concert Hall complex, Los Angeles.

The impetus of this work was four quotes out of Haruki Murakami’s novel “The Wind-Up Bird Chronicles.” The intention was to create a kind of pseudo-narrative out of just these four quotes; c…

Upcoming Guest Speaker Highlighted

Art Historian Ann Gunter of Northwestern University will provide a lecture entitled "Gifts, Exchange, and Acquisition: Greece and its Near Eastern Neighbors" on Monday, October 10, at 5:00 p.m. in room 100 of the Visual Arts Building (Arends Hall). This lecture is part of the Elizabeth Allen Visiting Lectures in Art History series.

Our friends at NIU Today have provided an excellent article about Ann and her upcoming lecture - please read the article here!

Upcoming Events at the CVPA

Visit us on our website, follow this blog, or stop by our Facebook page for more information.


Early Fall exhibitions will celebrate wit, social commentary, process and technique in variously scaled contemporary sculpture.

Through October 29, 2011
In the House: Sculpture for the Home
While focus has often been on large-scale outdoor public displays of sculpture, In the House surveys smaller work appropriate for the interiors of the home. Group exhibition of contemporary tabletop and wall sculpture in various media and techniques explore a variety of concerns, issues, processes and techniques. Includes Jerry Bleem, Juan Angel Chavez, Michael Ferris, Michael Gross, John Himmelfarb, Gary Justis, Michael Ransdell and Margaret Wharton. Guest curated by sculptor/educator/collector Michael Bennett.

In the Studio and In the Garden: John Balsley Sculpture and Collage
Solo show of figurative metal sculpture and colorful collage prints by Northern Illinois University alum, John Balsley…

Dance Program Provides High School Workshops

King Prep dance students in one of the NIU dance studios

On Thursday, September 29, the dance program of the NIU School of Theatre and Dance hosted a series of workshops for twenty dance students from King College Prep High School in Chicago, Illinois. The students' dance teacher is Nia Calmese, a graduate of NIU with emphases in art education and dance performance.

Throughout the day, workshops were provided by NIU dance professors Judy Chitwood, Paula Frasz, and Brian Carey Chung. In addition, current NIU dance majors performed for the students from King.

Noted Operatic Tenor to Present Master Class

American tenor Roy Cornelius Smith will present a vocal master class at the NIU School of Music on Friday, October 7. The master class will be held in the Boutell Memorial Concert Hall from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. and is free of charge and open to the public.

Six NIU vocal students will participate in the master class, which is hosted by NIU School of Music faculty member Myron Myers. Mr. Smith and the students will be accompanied by NIU piano professor William Koehler.

Roy Cornelius Smith is fast becoming known for his voice of great natural beauty, his compelling dramatic interpretations, and his outstanding musicianship. He has been heard on some of the world's great operatic stages including the Metropolitan Opera, La Scala Milan, Salzburger Festspiele, Volksoper Wien, Lyric Opera of Chicago, and the New Israeli Opera. He has also appeared with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Orchestra del Teatro Carlo Felice, Orchestre Métropolitain du Grand Montréal and…

Upcoming Events at the CVPA!

Visit us on our website, follow this blog, or stop by our Facebook page for more information.


Early fall exhibitions will celebrate wit, social commentary, process and technique in variously scaled contemporary sculpture.

August 23 – October 29, 2011

In the House: Sculpture for the Home
While focus has often been on large-scale outdoor public displays of sculpture, In the House surveys smaller work appropriate for the interiors of the home. Group exhibition of contemporary tabletop and wall sculpture in various media and techniques explore a variety of concerns, issues, processes and techniques. Includes Jerry Bleem, Juan Angel Chavez, Michael Ferris, Michael Gross, John Himmelfarb, Gary Justis, Michael Ransdell and Margaret Wharton. Guest curated by sculptor/educator/collector Michael Bennett.

In the Studio and In the Garden: John Balsley Sculpture and Collage
Solo show of figurative metal sculpture and colorful collage prints by Northern Illinois University alum, John Bal…

Music Professor Appointed to National Board

Professor Ron Carter of the NIU School of Music has recently been appointed to the Organizing Board of the Minority Band Directors National Association.

The MBDNA will hold their inaugural meeting this coming December in Chicago as part of the world's largest music education convention, the Midwest Clinic.

Congratulations, Ron!

Community School of the Arts Receives NEA Grant