Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Dance Professor's Work Earns Rave Review

 Paula Frasz, professor of Dance in the NIU School of Theatre and Dance, has choreographed a new piece entitled "Frida" for the current season of Aerial Dance Chicago.

In the Chicago Tribune, critic Sid Smith noted "One decidedly welcome addition is "Frida," by veteran area dance maker Paula Frasz. Frasz offers an intricate, elaborate work that slyly doesn't belabor the aerial aspects, but turns instead on standard choreography that here and there finds its way into a hanging, trapeze-like circle." Smith later states "In a piece abstractly about artist Frida Kahlo's struggles and pains, the image is a haunting one, part of a piece that eventually makes rushing use of its corps and nicely plays off its music by Alfredo Rolando Ortiz and Rodrigo Y Gabriela."

This year's Aerial Dance Chicago show is called "Garden of Souls" and can be seen through June 10 at the Ruth Page Center for the Arts, 1016 N. Dearborn, Chicago.

Congratulations, Paula!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Two Painting Professors Have Show in Tokyo

 Frank Trankina, Malin Kong Cinema

 Nina Rizzo, Niagara - Illuminated Falls

We are pleased to announce that NIU School of Art painting professors Frank Trankina and Nina Rizzo are part of a show entitled "Malin Kong" at the Megumi Ogita Gallery in Tokyo, Japan. The show runs from May 11 to May 26.

Congratulations Frank and Nina!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Clarinet Professor Had Exciting Spring Semester

Gregory Barrett, Professor of Clarinet in the NIU School of Music, has had a very productive and exciting spring 2012 semester.

Here at NIU Greg hosted Burt Hara, principal clarinetist of the Minnesota Orchestra for the annual NIU Clarinet Cornucopia. Greg also hosted Gabor Varga, prinicpal clarinetist of the Hungarian Radio Orchestra, who presented a master class and performed Greg's concert etude "Tiszan Innen Dunantul," which is based on a Hungarian folk song.

Greg performed with the Ars Viva Symphony Orchestra at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie, gave both a performance and a master class at the Reykjavik College of Music in Rekjavik, Iceland, and performed two chamber music works with the Slee Sinfonietta in residence at the Center for 21st Century Music at SUNY-Buffalo.

Also active as a composer and arranger, Greg's "24 Clarinet Etudes From the World" have been published by Gerard Billaudot Editeur, Paris. In addition, his published arrangement of Jean Sibelius' "En Saga Septet" was performed by the Saskatoon Symphony Chamber Players (Canada) and Ensemble MidVest (Denmark) where it was broadcast by the Danish Broadcasting Corporation.

Music Graduate Student Featured at Bishop's Ordination

NIU School of Music graduate student John Boehlefeld is currently completing his third NIU degree in vocal performance, studying with voice professor Myron Myers. In addition to his tireless work at NIU, John serves as the Music Director at St. Mary/St. Patrick Catholic Church in Durand, Illinois. Due to his level of artistry and familiarity with the music of the Catholic Church, John was chosen to be the cantor at yesterday's ordination of the new Bishop of the Diocese of Rockford, David Malloy.

There is a nice article on the website of television station WREX - you can read it here.

During his years at NIU, John has performed with the Concert Choir, Chamber Choir, and primarily with Opera Theater. At NIU John also participated in master classes with noted singers Frank Lopardo and Roy Smith.

At the Bishop's ordination, in addition to John, the NIU School of Music was very well represented. Also performing was School of Music Coordinator of Admissions Lynn Slater, the NIU Student Brass Quintet (Garth Anderson, Paige Anderson, Kate Swope, Ian Fitzwater, and Matt Poulos), Vicki Long on bassoon, Penelope Turgeon on flute, and Daniel Eastwood on timpani.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Music Professor Featured in Major Magazine, Earns Award

Greg Beyer, percussion professor in the NIU School of Music, has two wonderful - and coincidental - achievements we're pleased to share.

In the current issue (May/June 2012) of Chamber Music, a publication of Chamber Music America, the duo "Due East" consisting of Greg and his wife/musical partner Erin Lesser are a featured performing group. Click on the photo above to get a larger, more readable version.

Additionally, Due East just learned that through Chamber Music America, they will be receiving a CMA Award for Community Residencies. This award will allow Due East to make presentations and a public concert through Yellow Barn in Putney, Vermont.

Congratulations, Greg!

Art History Professor Earns Noted Award

We are very pleased to announce that Rebecca Houze, Professor of Art History in the NIU School of Art and Head of the Art History Division, has received one of NIU's most prestigious awards, the 2012 University Honors Great Professor Award.

Our friends at NIU Today have composed a very nice article about Rebecca and the award, which you can find here.

Congratulations, Rebecca!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Cliff Alexis Earns Two Emmy Nominations

The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS) has nominated “Hammer on Steel,” a two-program documentary created by The University of Akron, for eight Emmy awards for the 2011 broadcast year.

NIU’s Cliff Alexis, steel drum builder and tuner and co-director of the world-renowned NIU Steel Band, was nominated for Emmy Awards in two categories: Special Event Coverage, and Best Music Composition for his work on the film.

Documenting the compelling and conflict-torn history of steel drum music in the Caribbean country of Trinidad and Tobago, “Hammer on Steel: Bad Boys and Genius” premiered in February 2011 on Western Reserve Public Media in Northeast Ohio. The second program, “Hammer on Steel: The Concert,” documents the University of Akron Steel Drum Band’s 30th anniversary concert.

“Hammer on Steel” earned the Emmy nominations in the Lower Great Lakes chapter of NATAS’ competition. The nominations are in categories ranging from Live Event Coverage to Best Original Score. The awards ceremony will be in Indianapolis, Indiana, on June 2.

“We made ‘Hammer on Steel’ to tell the world about this wonderful music and the self-taught musicians who created it — many of whom are now elderly and won’t be with us much longer,” explained Larry Snider, The University of Akron music professor who founded the UA Steel Drum Band in 1980. “We also wanted to tell the unlikely story of how the Caribbean sounds of the steel drums have found a home in less-than-tropical Northeast Ohio.”

“I am proud of the team that worked on ‘Hammer on Steel’,” said producer and director Phil Hoffman of the UA School of Communication. “From Trinidad to Akron, exceptional artists and educators came together to create the documentary. We hope this attention shines a light on the heritage, people and artistry of steel drum music.”

Congratulations, Cliff!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Theatre Professor's Work Featured on Autodesk Website

Many of you are familiar with the software products produced by Autodesk, such as AutoCAD and 3D Max, as they're used globally for design work in engineering, design and entertainment fields.

Terry McClellan, Professor of Design in the NIU School of Theatre and Dance, owns a design firm named Scenographix, and Scenographix is a featured company on the Autodesk website.

Terry has been using and teaching Autodesk software programs for many years, and his talents have been contracted by several major international corporations in addition to theatrical presentations. Congratulations on the great coverage, Terry!