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Showing posts from June, 2011

We're Making A Movie!

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Yes, that's right! The NIU College of Visual and Performing Arts is making our first full-length feature film, based on Mark Twain's short story "$30,000 Bequest." Alex Gelman, the Director of the NIU School of Theatre and Dance, adapted the story for the stage several years ago, and he's re-adapted it now into a screenplay. Alex is serving as Director of the film.

We have partnered with NIU's department of Media Services, the NIU College of Health and Human Sciences, and Chicago's Organic Theater Company to produce the film. We are also engaging student interns from the NIU Department of Communication, so this is a wonderful campus-wide endeavor.

We've been in pre-production for several months, and everything is gearing up rapidly now. We begin filming on Tuesday, June 28, with an expected end of filming on July 10 (a very short time frame!). We expect post-production will take 9 months to a year, with release of the film in summer 2012.

Please bookmark…

Coordinator of Jazz Studies to Perform at Lincoln Center

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The 12th Annual Jazz at Lincoln Center Band Director Academy will be held at Jazz At Lincoln Center in New York City, June 24-27, 2011. NIU School of Music Professor Ronald Carter is Lead Faculty and Program Director for the Band Director Academy which will have over 80 middle school, high school and college band directors attending from all over the world to learn "Big band Rehearsal Techniques."

The event culminates with a two-set performance Monday evening, June 27, at the famous Dizzy's Club Coca Cola jazz club at Lincoln Center. The Band Director Academy Faculty All Stars will feature Ron Carter on sax, clarinet and vocals, along with Terell Stafford on trumpet (Director of Jazz Studies, Temple University), Reginald Thomas on piano (jazz faculty member, Michigan State University), Rodney Whitaker on bass (Director of Jazz Studies at Michigan State University), Steve Sveum on sax (music director, Sun Prairie, WI), and Alvin Atkinson on drums (jazz faculty member, New …

Dance Professor's Professional Troupe Earns Terrific Review

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Danszloop Chicago is the professional dance company run by NIU School of Theatre and Dance professor Paula Frasz. Danszloop just completed their series of performances at Stage 773 in Chicago entitled "The Escapes." These three dances were originated for and premiered at the Provincetown Tennessee Williams Festival, and were inspired by three Tennessee Williams plays.

For their work, Danszloop earned an excellent review in SeeChicagoDance.com. Among several glowing sentences, reviewer Sid Smith says "...Frasz luxuriates in a smart and powerful metaphor, one layered with rich meaning beautifully explored throughout."

The review also notes the fine work NIU costume design professor Melanie Parks for this show.

Congratulations Paula and Melanie!

Music Alum Earns Kudos in Review

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Brent Roman, a 2002 graduate of the NIU School of Music, has performed around the world as a percussion section leader with various Cirque du Soleil shows. Recently Brent moved back to Chicago to pursue other interests. Among other projects with which he's involved, Brent is currently performing for the production of George Gershwin's "Porgy and Bess" at the Court Theatre in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago.

The show has received tremendous reviews from the leading theater critics in Chicago, including Chris Jones of the Chicago Tribune and Hedy Weiss of the Chicago Sun-Times.

In Hedy Weiss's review, she singles Brent out for his contribution to the success of the show. Above are two photos showing Brent's set up for the production. Unlike most musical productions, Brent is not in a pit - he's on stage with the actors!

Steel Pan Professor Interviewed While at Major Festival

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Liam Teague, associate professor of steel pan and co-director of the Steel Band in the NIU School of Music, was recently a featured guest artist along with his group Panoramic at the 2011 International Percussion Ensemble Festival in San Jose, Costa Rica. In between workshops and performances, Liam was interviewed by Ricardo Gallardo, the leader of the Mexican percussion group Tambuco.

NIU Philharmonic Conductor Chosen for Elite Summer Study Program

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Lucia Matos, assistant professor and Conductor of the NIU Philharmonic in the School of Music, has learned that she has been selected as one of only ten 2011 Conducting Fellows in the conducting program of the elite National Arts Centre's Summer Music Institute in Ottawa, Canada. This is also the first time in NAC's history that two women are among the 10 chosen Conducting Fellows.

Created in 1999 by visionary NAC Orchestra Music Director Pinchas Zukerman, the NAC Summer Music Institute has become a world-renowned magnet for the best young Canadian and international classical artists, providing world-class instruction for especially gifted young musicians, conductors, and composers. Over the years, the SMI has provided training to 761 participants from across Canada and 37 other countries around the world.

Congratulations, Lucia!

Art Education Professor Receives National Grant

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Kerry Freedman, professor and head of the Art Education division in the NIU School of Art, just received word that she's been awarded a grant to continue her work on the international project she is directing. The title of the project is "Art Education and Visual Learning Networks: Lessons about Creativity and Cognition from Auto-Didactic Visual Culture Communities." The grant was awarded by the National Art Education Foundation.

Dr. Freedman's project is an international research study of the auto-didactic and peer-teaching processes used by adolescents and young adults in visual culture communities to develop the visual and linguistic practices required to know, understand, and create their own cultural practices within and around such forms. She and the members of her research team are studying the artistic and social practices of adolescents and young adults who form themselves into groups, with little or no older adult influence, around a visual culture interest …