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 inclusion of Stravinsky’s masterwork from his early period, Les Noces (1914-1917) is a special “not-so-new” musical treat that rounds out the two spectacular programs, as it involves four pianos, six percussionists, a concert choir and four vocal soloists.

The mounting of this ambitious set of programs has proved to be a fantastic opportunity for the students of the ensemble and a rare occasion for the NIU School of Music faculty to work so closely on such a large undertaking. No less than six members of the School of Music Faculty, including the entire vocal faculty, will present their musical talents on these programs. Additional guest musicians include Cor Cantiamo, a professional choir directed by NIU Choral Studies Professor, Eric Johnson, and consisting of several outstanding NIU alumni; as well as three vocal instructors from Carthage College in Wisconsin: Corinne Ness (NIU alumna), Sarah Gorke and Klaus Georg.

Preceding each 8PM concert is a pre-concert lecture offered by NIU Associate Professor of Music History, Brian Hart. Hart has additionally written fantastic program notes that will accompany each concert. These lectures begin at 7PM and will allow members of the audience to listen to a detailed and lively historical account of the major works on the program and the composers who wrote them.

In an ongoing collaboration inside the College of Visual and Performing Arts, School of Art Associate Professor Aleksandra Giza has created another incredible poster for this pair of concerts. Copies of this poster will be signed by the artists and available for purchase at the concert.

Both pairs of 7PM lectures and 8PM concerts are being held in the School of Music’s Boutell Memorial Concert Hall and all events are free and open to the public. Don’t miss out on these exciting programs that bring to life amazing musical masterworks and New York City-based musical excellence to the NIU community!

Any questions or comments should be directed to the New Music Ensemble Director, Dr. Gregory Beyer: 815.753.7981 or

Created in 2008 by its director, Dr. Gregory Beyer, the Northern Illinois University New Music Ensemble is a performance group dedicated to historically groundbreaking music of the 20th Century and the emerging musical voices of the 21st Century. It officially meets each spring semester to mount a concert of works by a single composer (or collection of related/connected composers) to expose students to the wide range of musical expression that is avant-garde music making. With its flexible instrumentation allowing it to present diverse repertoire, the NIU NME has to date presented concerts of music by Steve Reich, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Olivier Messiaen, composers of the Wet Ink Ensemble (NYC), Shulamit Ran and David M. Gordon (Chicago), and music by Luciano Berio, George Crumb and Igor Stravinsky alongside guest artists, Yarn/Wire (NYC).

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