Showing posts from October, 2013

Theatre Alum Earns Chicago Award

L. to R., Julie Pambianco, Daryl Nitz, P.J. Samorian, Laura Steenveld-Hamilton
We're pleased to announce that NIU School of Theatre and Dance alumnus Daryl Nitz was recently presented with the Gold Coast Award from Chicago Cabaret Professionals. The award ceremony took place on October 20 at the Park West Theatre in Chicago as part of Chicago Cabaret Professionals' 15th Anniversary Gala.

A native of Elgin, Illinois, Daryl earned his acting and directing degree from NIU and has been entertaining audiences for the past 14 years at Davenport's Cabaret and Piano Bar, with his accompanist George Howe. Daryl was able to share the award evening with NIU School of Theatre and Dance alums Julie Pambianco, P.J. Samorian, and Laura Steenveld-Hamilton

Congratulations, Daryl!

NIU Jazzers Triumph in China

From October 21 to 26, the city of Chongqing, China held an International Music Festival. Among the invited performers were four members of NIU's noted Rosebud Jazztet and NIU jazz saxophone professor Geof Bradfield.

The quintet performed one selection at the opening ceremony on October 21 to an audience of more than 10,000 people, and performed complete one-hour sets on the Main Stage on October 23, 24 and for the final concert on October 26. Each performance had audiences numbering in the multiple thousands.

Organizers of the festival had heard about the high quality of the NIU School of Music and were eager to have our musicians perform at their festival. After hearing the Rosebud students and Geof perform, the organizers were astonished at what a high, professional level their performances were.

The Rosebud Jazztet features graduate jazz majors who hold graduate assistantship positions, funded by the Rosebud Foundation. While not all Rosebud members were able to make the trip…

Noted Time Arts Alumnus to Present Lecture

We are pleased to welcome artist Matthew Biederman back to the NIU campus on November 4 and 5 to present a lecture and workshop at the NIU School of Art. Matt is a BFA graduate from an early incarnation of the NIU School of Art Time Arts program. He recently completed an MFA at Concordia in Montreal where he now lives and works. Matt's artistic path is has taken him around the globe, but most notably is his work with the Arctic Perspective Initiative where he worked "to promote the creation of open authoring, communications and dissemination infrastructures for the circumpolar region."

Matt is an interdisciplinary artist working primarily with New Media and electronic art. He routinely exhibits his installation art and creates live cinema/video art performances. 

Matt will speak on Monday, Nov 4th, 5p.m. in Art Building room 102.

Matthew Biederman has been performing, installing and exhibiting works, which explore themes of perception, media saturation, and data…

Faculty Conductor to Appear in Trinidadian Festival

Dr. Ronnie Wooten, professor in the NIU School of Music, has been chosen to direct a workshop at the National Steelband Music Festival Pan Is Beautiful XII festival at the National Academy for the Performing Arts, Port of Spain, Trinidad.

Ronnie's workshop will take place on November 15, and is geared towards music conductors who are not necessarily steelband conductors yet have responsibility for the preparation of a steelband for public presentations. Such conducting requires the interpretation of musical works and real-time communication of those interpretations to steel pan musicians through a series of specific arm movements.

The theme of Dr. Wooten's workshop is “The Maestro At Work." A native of North Carolina, Dr. Wooten received the Bachelor of Music Education degree (cum laude) from East Carolina University and the Master of Music and the Doctor of Musical Arts degrees, both in conducting, from Michigan State University. In addition to conducting the Wi…

Faculty Composer's Works Featured

NIU School of Music faculty member Robert Fleisher’s electro-acoustic composition, Altro Alfresco, was heard on October 18, during the Region IV annual conference of the Society of Composers, Inc. (SCI), at Eastern Kentucky University (Richmond, KY). Altro Alfresco was one of 300 works submitted
for the conference by composers from throughout the United States. Dr. Fleisher was among the 49 participating composers to attend. Premiered at the 2011 SEAMUS (Society for Electro-Acoustic Music in the United States) festival in Miami, Altro Alfresco was most recently heard as part of the Audiograft festival online "Jukebox" curated by the Sonic Art Research Unit (SARU) at Oxford Brookes University (UK). The sound sources in Altro Alfresco (multi-speed “found” percussion, including pats, pans, pipes and other objects) are similar to those heard in its shorter “sibling” works, Loretto Alfresco—premiered during the 2009 New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival, and Loretto Alfresc…

Music School Director to Judge National Festival

We're delighted to report that Paul Bauer, Director of the NIU School of Music, has been selected as one of this year's judges for the prestigious U.S. Open Brass Band Championships.

Dr. Bauer is a noted trombone performer and pedagogue, having performed with such prominent ensembles as the Lyric Opera Orchestra and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and he has served as a music competition adjudicator throughout the United States. The competition will take place this year at the nearby Norris Cultural Arts Center in St. Charles, Illinois.

For more information, please visit the U.S. Open Brass Band web site.

Painting Professor's Works in Exhibition

Frank Trankina's "Identity Crisis", 1993, oil on linen, 8 x 12 in.
NIU School of Art painting professor Frank Trankina's works are featured in a new exhbition. The exhibition, entitled "The Open Eye": Ray Yoshida's Collection, opens Saturday, October 19, 6:00-9:00 p.m. and runs through March 2, 2014 at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan, WI.

Three of Frank's paintings are included along side Ray's vast and wonderful collection. This exhibition focuses on the language of imagery, with the aim of stretching the "viewer's ability to receive the messages conveyed through the images found in everyday surroundings."

More information about the exhibition may be found here.

Music Alum Earns Major Award

Chelsea Tipton with Sting
We are pleased to announce that NIU School of Music alumnus Chelsea Tipton II is about to receive the first Aspire Award from the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.

The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (ASO) has for 20 years operated a Talent Development Program, which identifies talented African-American and Latino youth and prepares them to be accepted into music schools across the country with the goal of attaining a professional career in music. This year, the ASO is initiating the Aspire Awards. According to a press release from the ASO, "Chelsea Tipton II will be the first recipient of the Aspire Award in recognition of his extraordinary commitment to music education."

Chelsea currently serves as the Music Director of the Symphony of Southeast Texas. Former positions include those with the Toledo Symphony, the Savannah Symphony, and the Cincinnati Youth Symphony. As a guest conductor he has appeared with the Cleveland Orchestra, a 9-week tour with Sting, the…

Community School of the Arts Celebrates 25 Years

CSA Sinfonia – today and yesterday. On the left is the Spring 2013 group                                                                and on the right, Linc Smelser with the 1998 group.

The NIU Community School of the Arts celebrates its 25th anniversary this year with a CSA Sinfonia reunion concert on December 22 at 3 the Boutell Memorial Concert Hall of the NIU Music Building. This orchestra has nearly 300 alumni and the Community School is in the process of contacting players from the past to let them know about this fun opportunity to play on the Concert Hall stage again.

The alumni will join the current members of Sinfonia for a rehearsal on December 21 and for a follow-up rehearsal and the concert the following day. The repertoire includes Russlan and Ludmilla by Glinka, Mars from The Planets and St. Paul’s Suite, by Holst, and Les Preludes by Liszt. Links to the music are available at

CSA Sinfonia began as a string ensemble under the directorship of late A…

NIU Folks Storm Broadway!

Visitors to the "Great White Way" will have the opportunity to see two NIU alums in action this fall.

NIU School of Theatre and Dance alum Stephen Pilkington is appearing in The Winslow Boy by the Roundabout Theatre. The show opens on October 17, and performances take place in the American Airlines Theater on 42nd Street. Stephen appears alongside Tony Award® nominated actors May Elizabeth Mastrantonio and Michael Cumpsty as well as Tony Award® winner Roger Rees.

NIU School of Theatre and Dance alum Tammy Meneghini is also appearing in a Broadway show this season. Tammy appears in The Great Goddess Bazaar at Theatre Row on 42nd Street.

Congratulations to our wonderful actors!

Art Historian's Book Earns Terrific Review

Frequent readers may recall that NIU art history professor Mary Quinlan's recent book, Influences: Art, Optics and Astrology in the Italian Renaissance has received many fine reviews. We're pleased to share with you that Mary's book has earned yet another really terrific review.

This new review appears in Choice Reviews Online. Reviewer J.T. Paoletti calls Influences a "pathbreaking" book, and goes on to state "This book promises to be one of the most intensely discussed publications...." The entire review may be found here.

Congratulations, Mary!

Special Piano Dedication Concert - Not to be Missed!

Friday, October 11 at 7:30 p.m.
In September 2012, the NIU School of Music began to host a beautiful Fazioli F278 Concert Grand.  The 278 was previously owned and loved by a retired doctor who purchased it with the goal of becoming a better pianist - at age 85! Declining health necessitated moving to his son's condo in Chicago, but there was no way to get the piano into the apartment. Pianoforte Chicago, which originally sold him the 278, agreed to take it back in trade for a smaller new Fazioli. The plan was to bring the 278 out to NIU, where it could be used while being prepared for sale. However, along the way faculty and students fell in love with it, and Dean Holly began seeking a donor. Through NIU alumnus Jeff Yordon, a connection was made to the Dr. Agnes Varis Charitable Trust (*see below), and the trustees approved our application for funds to purchase this amazing piano.

Please join us in the Boutell Memorial Concert …

Art Historian to Present National Lecture

At the invitation of the Archaeological Institute of America, Dr. Sinclair Bell, Associate Professor of Art History in the Northern Illinois University School of Art, will give The John H. and Penelope Biggs Lecture at the Cincinnati Art Museum on Tuesday, October 8, 2013. Dr. Bell will speak on “Foreign Faces: Images of Africans and Others in Ancient Roman Art.”

John and Penelope Biggs met while pursuing undergraduate majors in the Greek and Roman Classics at Harvard. Both later earned PhDs (in Economics and Comparative Literature, respectively) from Washington University in St. Louis. John Biggs went on to make his career in finance, but kept his interest in the field, and has served as a trustee of the Archaeological Institute of America. Penelope Parkman Biggs has taught Classical language and literature in various forms.

While preference is for a topic on classical archaeology, the lecture is not restricted. The Biggs Lecturer speaks at one local society annually. The Biggs Lectu…

Acting Alumna Earns Great Review

Amanda Jane Long, recent graduate of the MFA in Acting program in the NIU School of Theatre and Dance, is currently appearing in the Chicago production of "Veronica's Room" at the BoHo Theatre.

Reviewer Hedy Weiss of the Chicago Sun-Times has written a rave review of the play, and in particular she points out the work of Amanda, saying "Each of the actors here is first-rate. But it is Long, who recently earned her MFA in acting at Northern Illinois University and is making an impressive Chicago stage debut, who bedazzles as she tries to maintain her humor, her sanity and her life." The complete review is available here.

The show runs through October 27 - Congratulations, Amanda!

NIU Printmaker's Works in Exhibition

Giving up the Ghost by Aaron Coleman
Aaron Coleman, who earned his MFA in printmaking from the NIU School of Art this past May and is currently an instructor in the School of Art, has several of his works in a new exhibition at the College of the Sequoia's Art Gallery in Visalia, California.

Aaron's works are in a duo exhibition with those of artist Erik Waterkotte. The exhibition is entitled "Utopia:Dystopia" and runs through October 25. For this exhibition, both artists use their versatile background in printmaking to touch on the social, religious, and political issues of our modern day society.