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Showing posts from October, 2014

Music Alumnus Finalist in World's Most Prestigious Jazz Competition

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We are very excited to announce that Marquis Hill,  alumnus of the NIU School of Music, is a finalist in the Thelonius Monk International Jazz Competition, widely regarded as the most prestigious jazz competition in the world.

This year's competition is strictly for trumpeters. Marquis will join 12 other trumpeters in Los Angeles on November 8 and 9; in the first round, each player has 15 minutes to perform, accompanied by a trio of internationally-recognized jazz artists: Rodney Whitaker on bass, Carl Allen on drums, and NIU's new coordinator of jazz studies on piano, Reggie Thomas. Three will be chosen to perform in the second round on Sunday, November 9, at the Dolby Theater. Following those three performances, an all-star gala hosted by Herbie Hancock, Quincy Jones and Kevin Spacey will take place. Some of the artists in the gala are Wayne Shorter, Jimmy Heath, Chaka Khan, Kenny Burrell, Vinnie Colaiuta, and many other internationally-recognized performers.

Marquis has be…

Music Professor's Recording Nominated for Grammy® Award

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We've received word that Concertos for Brass, the recent full-length CD recording of compositions by NIU School of Music associate professor Thomas Bough, has made it through the first round of nominees for the 2015 Grammy® Awards. Tom's CD is nominated in the Classical Compendium category, and his work "Suite Tuba" which is featured on the recording is nominated in the Contemporary Classical Composition category.

Tom's recording features his compositions and the solo performances of several well-known brass soloists including Larry Williams (horn), Jeff Malecki (euphonium), and NIU professor of trumpet Mark Ponzo. Tom also appears on the recording as tuba soloist.

At this point in the Grammy® nomination process there are numerous verified nominations, which, through a series of voting rounds, will be culled to the final 5 nominees early this coming winter.

Congratulations, Tom, and best wishes in the next rounds of voting!

Time Arts Professor's Work Making News

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photo courtesy of the St. Charles Art Council
Four Lands - "Airborne" detail
NIU School of Art and Design “Time Arts” professor Bart Woodstrup debuted a new video art piece entitled Four Lands as part of “Art at Work” which was sponsored by the St. Charles Art Council. The program seeks out non-traditional venues for displaying art. This month's inaugural event was hosted by Suburban Tire Auto Repair Centers on Rt. 38 in St. Charles, IL. Bart's work was displayed across four large flat panel screens which, during the day, are used for tire advertisements. The Fox River Valley has a burgeoning art scene to which the St, Charles Arts Council is making some exciting contributions. 
Four Lands is an animated version of Bart's laser cut paper art series. More information on Bart's art can be viewed here.

In September, Bart also was busy creating a video art exhibition on the Rt. 64 bridge in St. Charles. Bart used this opportunity to demonstrate to students how to i…

Clarinet Professor Busy With Notable Performances

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Gregory Barrett, Professor of Clarinet in the NIU School of Music, has been - and will be - very active as a principal clarinetist and guest artist.

Greg played principal clarinet in the Ars Viva Symphony Orchestra's September 28th concert at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts. The program included works by Dvor├ík, Lalo and Brahms. Aditionally, on October 10, 11 and 12 Barrett was principal clarinetist for the Elgin Symphony Orchestra's Nature's Soundscape concerts in works by Respighi and Sibelius. The concert will be broadcast on WFMT on Friday, November 28, at 8:00 p.m.

Greg will also be performing with the Ars Viva Symphony Orchestra and the Chicago Master Singers in Mozart's Requiem on November 7 and 9, at the Divine Word Chapel in Techny, Illinois.

November 14 through 16 Barrett and NIU clarinet students Nate Hippleheuser and Evan Suitts will be performing at the International Clarinet Association Mid-America Festival at The Ohio State University.

Acting Alumni Take Over Television October 14, 2014

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Mackenzie Parker (right) on Sons of Anarchy
Matthew Yee (right) on Chicago Fire
The NIU School of Theater and Dance family had an exquisite dilemma last night. Two alumni (Matthew Yee and Mackenzie Parker, both BFA ’12) appeared simultaneously on two different network shows. Matt appeared on NBC’s Chicago Fire and Mac appeared on FX’s Sons of Anarchy. Luckily, FX’s practice of running each new episode of Sons of Anarchy twice allowed us all to watch both.

This was all the sweeter because two MFA alumni of the NIU School of Theatre and Dance are involved with these shows. Joe Minoso is a regular cast member of Chicago Fire and Kurt Sutter is the creator/executive producer of Sons of Anarchy. The School of Theatre and Dance flag is flying high these days! Congratulations gentlemen!