Showing posts from October, 2012

Several Alumni Accomplishments to Brag About!

The NIU College of Visual and Performing Arts is very proud of our alumni and we're happy to bring you some good news about several alums:

Pedro Wiliis-Barbosa, tenor, graduate of the NIU School of Theatre and Dance, is taking a graduate degree at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. He has been accepted into the Young Artists Program at Cedar Rapids Opera, and will premier the leading role in the commissioned opera "Frankenboy!" by Robert Lindsay-Nassif as part of the Iowa elementary and middle school tour.

James Stevko, graduate of the dance performance program in the NIU School of Theatre and Dance, is dancing in Verdi's "Un Ballo in Maschera" at the Metropolitan Opera this month. He will return to the Lyric Opera of Chicago in the new year to dance in their production of Wagner's "Die Meistersinger von N├╝rnberg."

David Govertson, bass, NIU School of Music graduate and current participant in the Lyric Opera of Chicago's Young Arti…

NIU Traveling Art Exhibits Becoming Popular

"Green Scale" at Elgin Public Museum
"Tattoo" at Central Michigan University
The NIU College of Visual and Performing Arts began an initiative two years ago, to turn popular exhibits curated by the students in our Museum Studies program into traveling exhibits, when appropriate. The fruits of those labors are paying off, with two such exhibitions having been picked up by other museums.

"The Green Scale: Weighing in on the Green Movement" recently closed at the Elgin Public Museum of Natural History, where it was on view from mid-July through mid-September.

"Tattoo: An American Evolution" recently closed at Central Michigan University (Park Library). The exhibition was on view August 13-Sept. 21.

Congratulations to our students, as well as Peter Van Ael, Olson Gallery Director, who oversees these projects.

Gallery Director's Work to Appear in Noted Museum


Peter Van Ael, Director of the Jack Olson Gallery in the NIU School of Art, has had one of his works accepted for inclusion in an upcoming exhibition.

Peter's reduction woodcut print "Swarm" was selected for inclusion in The 2012 Harnett Biennial of American Prints exhibition at the Joel and Lila Harnett Museum of Art, University of Richmond Museums. Carl Solway, President of the Carl Solway Gallery, Cincinnati, Ohio, selected prints by 47 artists to be in the exhibition.

Congratulations, Peter!

NIU Jazz Ensemble Wows in Columbus Day Parade

The award-winning NIU Jazz Ensemble, under the direction of Professor Ron Carter, performed on a float during Chicago's very popular Columbus Day Parade.

A video of the band in the parade is available here, and the band appears at the 14:20 mark (it is possible to skip ahead to that point). We're thinking the announcer had Columbus on his mind when he announced the band as being from Northern Italian University...but otherwise, the band played as spectacularly as usual to great crowd response.

Trumpet Professor Earns Fine Review

Mark Ponzo

Mark Ponzo, professor of trumpet in the NIU School of Music, performs frequently with the New Sousa Band under the direction of noted Sousa expert Keith Brion. Mark has performed throughout the world as a member of this ensemble.

A recent performance of the New Sousa Band in Green Bay, Wisconsin, earned a fine review from critic Warren Gerds. Mr. Gerds particularly pointed out Mark's playing, by saying "As a reminder of how Brion draws from the ranks of top band players in the country, Mark Ponzo was featured on cornet in a showcase written by Sousa cornetist Herbert L. Clarke. Ponzo expressed every tricky nuance of From the Shores of the Mighty Pacific.”

Congratulations, Mark!

New Media Concerts Announced

Jim Phelps

Jim Phelps, professor of electronic and computer music in the NIU School of Music, announces a series of three concerts entitled "ALWAYS COMING: a culture war in three short nights." The concerts will be October 22, 23 and 24, all beginning at 8:00 p.m. in the Music Building Recital Hall.

These concerts, featuring experimental and mixed-media works, consist entirely of music composed and performed by Dr. Phelps, with the assistance of three guest artists: Husain Abdulaziz (passionate observationist - Oct. 22), Patrik Windsor (composer/guitarist - Oct. 23) and Michael Taylor (musician/audio technology specialist - Oct. 24). Phelps will present fixed-media computer music components and will also perform with electric guitars, electric violin and piano.

Jim tells us: "ALWAYS COMING: a culture war in three short nights" presents a personification of "confused metaphor" on both micro and macro strata. The three-movement (three-night) work metaph…

Dance Faculty Garner Excellent Review in NYC

 Collective Body/Dancelab
 Danszloop Chicago
NIU School of Theatre and Dance faculty members Paula Frasz and Brian Carey Chung recently collaborated on a performance with their respective professional dance companies, Danszloop Chicago and Collective Body/Dancelab. Following performances in Chicago and New York City, they received a terrific review of their New York performance by Matthew Donnell in

Brian Chung's choreography was featured in two works by Collective Body/Dancelab, Let's Pretend We're All Wearing Sunglasses, and Bloom. About Bloom, Mr. Donnell writes "The dancers in the piece were as strong technically as they had been theatrically in the first piece of the evening. Dancing both on flat and en pointe in a series of group sections, duos, and trios, the ladies lines were clean and beautiful, and the men expertly achieved Chung’s demanding movement."

Danszloop Chicago presented three works, Old Woman of Wexford, Entertainment, and Eater o…