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Showing posts from November, 2013

Iconic Jazz Piano Faculty Member Earns Another Great Review

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Willie Pickens, jazz piano instructor in the NIU School of Music, has earned another wonderful review. Noted jazz critic Howard Reich of the Chicago Tribune reviewed Willie's performance at the Jazz Showcase of Friday, November 29.

Among the many laudatory comments Mr. Reich made was this: "...the music was consistently deep in message and often brilliant in delivery. No wonder the room was packed to capacity, with a line of hopeful customers stretching half a block outside in the winter chill."

The full review may be read here. Congratulations, Willie!

Jazz Ensemble Earns Terrific Review

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Fans of the NIU Jazz Ensemble, under the direction of Professor Ronald Carter, know how "hot" the band is. We were excited to see a review of one of the band's recent performances, espousing what we already know!

In Madison, Wisconsin'sMadison Magazine, critic Greg Hettmansberger penned a review entitled "Throw Out the Thermometer - It Was a Hot Night in Sun Prairie." Clearly Mr. Hettmansberger was impressed!

Among several glowing remarks, the review states "Carter hails from Georgia, and appropriately opened with a rip-roaring “Sweet Georgia Brown,” way faster than the Harlem Globetrotters could have used for their shoot-arounds. A major highlight of their first set was “Spring Can Hang You Up the Most,” which opens and closes as a ballad, while switching gears for a wild ride middle section. Trombonist Jaron McCarr was a consummate soloist throughout the number."

We encourage you to read the full review (link above). Congratulations to Ron and…

Printmaking Student Earns Spot in International Show

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Mall Adventures (Lithography, 2013)
We are delighted that NIU School of Art student John Cheney has had work accepted to the 3rd Student International Small Print Show, known as "SIPS14," which will be presented in two cities in Egypt.

Monday Morning Coffee (Lithography, 2013)
According to their Facebook page, SIPS14 is an annual international printmaking exhibition dedicated to students. The exhibition aims to promote the works of talented young artists from allover the world, and represents an excellent opportunity of exposure for young printmaking artists

The show will open at Minia University in Minya, Egypt, on March 25, 2014, and following its run there will then be presented in a gallery in Cairo.The showing at Minia University will be in conjunction with the international art conference of the faculty of fine arts.

Congratulations, John!

Faculty Playwright Earns Publication

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 Luke Krueger
Congratulations are in order for NIU School of Theatre and Dance instructor Luke Krueger - Luke was recently notified that he has another play accepted for publication! As you may be aware, publication for a playwright is extremely difficult. There are few publishers of plays, and plenty of writers scratching to get one of the coveted slots. So this is very exciting news, indeed.

Canterbury Tales
Canterbury Tales was written in 2012 for the incoming freshman BFA acting majors at NIU and their showcase performance for the School of Theatre and Dance. The play is not simply a retelling of the tales. Rather, the story is intertwined with the intrigue at the court of Richard II and his fight with Henry Bolingbroke, and the struggle for English to become the language of court. Luke says that the tales themselves were fun to create in that he also translated them from the original middle English, although some French and middle English still survived in the script. The piece was…

NIU Steel Band Earns Great Review

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The NIU Steel Band continues to earn wonderful reviews internationally. This past Sunday, the band, under the direction of Liam Teague and Cliff Alexis, performed their annual fall concert in the Boutell Memorial Concert Hall of the NIU School of Music.

Appearing on the renowned steel pan web site When Steel Talks, the review states "So what was new and different? First off, a Rock guitarist and a brass section participated in some numbers in the first half of the program - immediately presenting the world with tremendous musical possibilities when you have a collaboration of a steel orchestra with conventional musical instruments. The performances pleasantly presented more voices and colors in a way not commonly heard or digested, to the audience. In addition, it opened both their minds and those of the students to future artistic possibilities.

The full review may be read here. Congratulations Liam, Cliff, all guest artists and the membe…

Art Education Professor Provides International Keynote Addresses

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Kerry Freedman
Kerry Freedman, Professor of Art+Design Education in the NIU School of Art, has recently returned from her second trip abroad this semester. Kerry was distinguished by being invited to provide addresses at two significant conferences this fall.

In Pamplona, Spain, Kerry was invited to present her paper “Art Outside of School: Youth Visual Culture Learning Communities.” This international symposium focused on youth culture and was titled Mapping and Assessing the Research about Young People as Visual Culture Producers.  The conference focused on the emerging field of research about youth participatory culture, and Kerry spoke about her international project on youth visual culture learning communities.

In London, UK, Kerry provided the keynote address, entitled “Turning Art Education Outside In: How Institutional Change Can Support Contemporary Practice.“ This was at a conference on higher education schools of art titled Progressive Arts Education: Inclusion, Change, and I…

Graduate String Quartet Earning Notoriety

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Kaia String Quartet (photo credit: Ryan C. Kolegas)
We're pleased to report that the current Graduate String Quartet in Residence at the NIU School of Music, the Kaia Quartet, is receiving praise from noted quarters.

The quartet has been named the "Quartet in Residence" for the Chicago Latino Music Festival. This distinction brings with it the opportunity for the quartet to work with many internationally renowned Latino music artists over a two-month period.

This past weekend the Kaia Quartet performed the world premiere of Gustavo Leone's "Absurdopera" as part of the festival. Of their performance, reviewer Andrew Patner in the Chicago Sun Times writes "The young Kaia String Quartet...were wholly in touch with Leone's ideas and effective musical language...."

The entire review may be read here. Congratulations to the members of the Kaia Quartet!

CSA Steel Band and All University Steel Band Garner Nice Review

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NIU Community School of the Arts Steel Band
Recently, a few facets of the steel pan program at the NIU School of Music performed in concert and the program prompted a great review in the noted online pan publication When Steel Talks. The review notes the participation in the concert by the Community School of the Arts Steel Band, the All-University Steel Band, and the majors in the steel pan studio.

Among other glowing remarks, the review states, "NIU has had no shortage of developing and graduating awesome talent that have gone on to accomplish great things in the music community. As one witnesses and listens to the active directorship, musical works and performances of Yuko Asada, Josanne Francis & Khan Cordice in addition to their leadership skills - you immediately realize you are observing a very special crew whose impact on the steelpan music world will be felt for years to come."

The full review may be read here. Congratulations to …

Ensemble in Residence Performs World Premiere

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 Cor Cantiamo with Daniel Knaggs
Cor Cantiamo, ensemble-in-residence at the NIU School of Music, performed this past weekend at the Michigan Festival of Sacred Music (MFSM). MSFM is a biennial two-week music festival offering events which represent diverse religious traditions, promoting mutual respect and understanding through sharing the music treasured by these traditions. Artists from  around the globe gather for two weeks of inspired concerts, master classes and other music gatherings to celebrate the many faith traditions found in the world today.

On Sunday, November 10, at the First Presbyterian Church in Kalamazoo MI, Cor Cantiamo presented a concert for the festival. The choir, conducted by NIU Director of Choral Activities Dr. Eric A. Johnson, was the featured choral ensemble on the first weekend of this music festival, presenting an afternoon of sacred choral music ranging from master works by Schutz and Sweelink to contemporary works, hymns and spirituals.

The concert also …