Showing posts from March, 2011

Community School of the Arts Announces Summer Programs

The NIU Community School of the Arts is now accepting registrations for their summer programs. A visit to their website provides information about the day camps, classes, ensembles, and private lessons that are available for children and adults. The summer session begins the week of June 13 and runs throughout June and July. Most classes and all lessons are taught on the DeKalb campus of Northern Illinois University.

Private lessons in music and art are offered on most musical instruments and in different specialties of visual art. Teachers are NIU students and faculty, as well as community artists. Students and teachers meet every week for six weeks and are taught at times and days that are convenient to both students and teachers.

The community school offers a number of day camps for children. These camps offer in-depth hands-on arts experiences and are taught by NIU alumni, faculty, and students. Space is limited, so early registratio…

School of Music and Art Museum Present Collaborations

The NIU School of Music and the NIU Art Museum are collaborating on several exhibitions and performances over the next few weeks.

The first such collaboration is "Visual Music," for which there will be a museum opening at 4:30 on March 31, and a concert in the Recital Hall in the Music Building beginning at 8:00 that evening.

Professor Robert Fleisher of the School of Music has been working with musicologist and composer Theresa Sauer over a period of months in developing the exhibition and performances. Ms. Sauer is known for her collection of visually stimulating musical scores in the "Notations 21" book she published in 2009. Several of the scores included in the book will be on exhibit at the Art Museum.

The "Visual Music" concert will feature music by several composers whose work is included in NOTATIONS 21: Theresa Sauer, Kyong Mee Choi (Roosevelt University), Paul Paccione (Western Illinois University), John Cage (whose 1969 book, NOTATIONS, was the i…

NIU Art Museum Featured in Noted Chicago Magazine

The current issue of the popular magazine Chicago Gallery News features the NIU Art Museum in an interview. In the interview, NIU Art Museum Director Jo Burke discusses what it's like to operate an art museum in a university setting, and the close ties the Art Museum has with the community.

Click on the image above to read the full interview.

Music Alum Earns National Notoriety

Jeff Nesseth, director of choral ensembles and chair of the fine arts department at Central High School in Burlington, Illinois, earned is Bachelor of Music degree in 1995 and his Master of Music degree in 2002 from the NIU School of Music.

The the current issue of the national journal Choral Director Magazine features Jeff in their cover article, in which he discusses his choral program and the travel opportunities that he and his students are able to take advantage of.

Click on the images above to read the full article.

Congratulations, Jeff!

Illinois State Museum Purchases Works by NIU Painting Professor

"Study for Line Up"

"Line Up"

We're happy to announce that two paintings by NIU School of Art professor Frank Trankina are now part of the permanent collection of the Illinois State Museum in Springfield, Illinois.

The two works are "Line Up," an oil on linen, 24" x 36" work, and "Study for Line Up," a gouache on paper, 7" x 10" work.

Congratulations, Frank!

Life-Saving Artists Gain National Exposure

Manny Hernandez

Lisa Ballantine

You may recall the previous posts about retired NIU School of Art professor Manny Hernandez and his inexpensive yet extremely reliable water filters, and how he's traveled the world helping villages fabricate the filters in order for them to have potable water.

One of Manny's former students, Lisa Ballantine, began a non-profit organization dedicated to producing these filters, and even moved her operation to the Dominican Republic. With the early 2010 earthquake and devastation in Haiti, the DR operation is running at full capacity and she's built a second factory, this one in Haiti.

The amazing work of Lisa and her group were the recent feature in a Chicago Tribune article, and the article was also picked up by The L.A. Times.

School of Music Forges Partnerships in Costa Rica

Since August 2010, the NIU School of Music has been working to establish partnerships with two institutions in San Jose, Costa Rica - La UNED, Universidad Nacional de EducatiĆ³n a Distancia, and Instituto Nacional de Musica. From March 11 to 16, several School of Music representatives were in San Jose to demonstrate not only the power of Internet2 technology as it relates to education, but also how inexpensive it can be to access Internet2.

Following meetings with top administrators at both schools, the final event of the week was having NIU music professor Rodrigo Villanueva provide a master class to more than 20 students and faculty from Instituto Nacional de Musica. Rodrigo was set up in the NIU Music Building, and appeared on a 50-inch monitor in real time and in high definition at a studio at La UNED. The master class was scheduled for one hour, but it was going so well that it extended to two hours and was stopped at that point only because several of the INM students had rehearsa…

Noted Music Educator to Present Workshop at NIU

Renowned Orff-Schulwerk specialist, music educator Brian Burnett, will come to the NIU School of Music to share with music teachers in the Northern Illinois area a practical assessment strategy to help students develop music skills. In this workshop, participants will be engaged in music and movement lessons actively. Through these activities, participants will be introduced to several important assessment tools, such as rubric design, grading criteria, and self evaluation that help students reflect on their learning. This workshop is sponsored by Great Chicago Orff-Schulwerk Chapter, Fox Valley Orff-Schulwerk Chapter, and the NIU School of Music, and is open to everyone. For more information, please contact Dr. Jui-Ching Wang ( or call 815-753-7979.

About the Workshop:
Title: Assessment for Learning in the Music Class
Location: Music Building room 171, School of Music, Northern Illinois University. Free parking is available.
Time: 9:00am - 1:30pm, April 9,…

2nd Annual NIU World Music Festival

The 2nd Annual World Music Festival at the Northern Illinois University School of Music will take place from April 5 through April 13. Following the festival's very successful debut in 2010, world music lovers are looking forward to this year's events:

April 5, 8:00, Boutell Hall - Middle Eastern Ensemble with guest artist Naeif Rafeh

April 8, 6:30, Recital Hall - "Dima and Friends," Syrian music concert

April 8, 8:00, Boutell Hall - Latin Jazz Ensemble, Greg Beyer, director

April 9, 7:00, Boutell Hall - S.Y.O.T.O.S. featuring renowned trombonist Chris Washburne

April 10, 3:00, Boutell Hall - World Music Concert, featuring music of Africa, Brazil, China, Cuba, the Middle East, and Thailand

April 13, 8:00, Boutell Hall - Chinese Ensemble, Yung-Hsin Chen, director

Professor Jui-Ching Wang of the NIU School of Music is to be congratulated for directing several of the performances and for putting together the entire festival.

Voice Professor On the Road Again

Robert Sims, professor of voice in the NIU School of Music, has been appearing nationwide with the terrific Georgia Guitar Quartet. Their next appearance is scheduled for March 22 at Concord University in Athens, West Virginia.

For the March 22 concert, Robert will perform works by Bernstein, Chopin, Copland, Bob Dylan, Ravel and Scarlatti.

Check out the wonderful videos Robert and the Quartet have made!

Music Alumna Earning More International Recognition

You may recall the post about NIU School of Music alumna Amirah Ali (here) detailing her song making it to the finals of the John Lennon Songwriting Contest in 2010.

Now, Amirah and her song "Katakanlah" are among the finalists in the International Songwriting Competition. Judges for this competition include Peter Gabriel, Rihanna, and many other noted musicians, songwriters and industry icons. "Katakanlah" and the other finalists were chosen out of more than 15,000 entries.

In addition, Amirah is readying a new video of "Katakanlah" for MTV - you can see a video about the making of the MTV video here.

Theatre Professor Designs Major Automotive Event

In early December 2010, in advance of the January 2011 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Ford Motor Company held a preview event inside its Michigan Assembly Plant for around 200 invited members of the automotive press. The task of designing an environment within the functioning manufacturing facility was a challenge that was welcomed by Terry McClellan, Professor in the NIU School of Theatre and Dance. The design for this live event was used to successfully introduce the new 2012 Ford model line-up including concept cars Vertrek and Cmax. The scenic design included a special branded entry, a raked audience seating area and a stage area with a 40’ wide proscenium arch structure which incorporated a variety of theatrical means to reveal the vehicles including scrim curtains, wide format front projection screen and multiple turntables. The set included a 24' high main stage and a custom 38-foot diameter turntable. A smaller 18-foot turntable was …

Theatre Faculty Member Has Play Published

The Chicago Cast of "Sullivan"

Luke Krueger, faculty member in the NIU School of Theatre and Dance, just received word that his play, "Sullivan: The Place Where People Come to Die," will be published and marketed by Next Stage Press. Congratulations, Luke!

"Sullivan: The Place Where People Come to Die" is about the small town of Sullivan, located just outside of the city of Nowhere. Sullivan is odd in that specially themed funeral homes are the only commerce; the mayor is openly crooked; the wealthiest man in town donates his money to build bell towers on college campuses and preserving mascots with offensive Native American themes; a woman in town speaks only in lines from "The Princess Bride"; and virgin births seem to be a nonchalant announcement. This is what Eric Sullivan returns to for his ten-year high school reunion, at which he discovers that out of a class of 99, no one remembers him. Since leaving Sullivan, he became a decorate…

Music Professor Performing Nationwide

Dr. Thomas Bough, Associate Professor in the NIU School of Music and Director of Athletic Bands, completed his composition "Suite Tuba" for tuba soloist and wind ensemble during 2010. As a tubist, Tom has been invited to perform his work ten times since the work's premiere in early November, 2010. Performance venues include several Illinois high schools, and with the U.S. Army Band in Washington, D.C., with the Scottsdale (AZ) Concert Band, and this weekend at the Midwest Regional Tuba-Euphonium Conference to be held at Central Michigan University.

Tom premiered the work here at NIU, with his colleague Dr. Ronnie Wooten as conductor. His most recent performance was with the Metamora (IL) High School Wind Ensemble, which received great coverage from the local NBC affiliated television station, and the segment featuring Tom can be viewed here.