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When you think of the NIU School of Music, you no doubt think of the talented musicians and music educators the school has been showcasing for decades.  There is another group of equally talented students studying in the school who are going on to do great things in the industry as sound engineers and performers.

Whether pursing a Bachelor of Arts contract major in recording arts or a Master of Music degree in recording arts, students and alumni have earned jobs and internships at some pretty cool places, and many have already embarked on award winning careers.

Award nominations

Emmy nomination

Mark Alletag (Master of Music alumnus) – Nominated for assistance on Spektral Quartet Promo Campaign (Bitter Jester Studios/Aphorism Studios) in the category of Lighting
(Aphorism Studios is an arm of NIU Instructor and Head of Recording Services Dan Nichols’ production company)

Grammy nominations (preliminaries):

GrammyQi Yu (Master of Music student) – Arcomusical – Spinning in the Wheel in the category of Best World Music Album

Qi Yu (Master of Music student) and Rachel Frazier (Bachelor of Arts contract major student) Nathalie Joachim – Fanm d’Ayiti in the category of Best World Music Album

Third Coast Percussion – Surface Tension in the category of Best Classical Chamber Ensemble Performance

Third Coast Percussion – Perpetulum in the category of Best Classical Chamber Ensemble Performance

Mark Alletag (Master of Music alumnus) and Dan Nichols (instructor and head of recording services)Cincinnati Pops Orchestra – American Originals: 1918 in the category of Best Classical Compendium

Positions/internships/projects

Qi Yu (Master of Music student) – Is currently interning with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and is the second Master of Music in recording arts student to do so in as many years.

John Smith (Master of Music alumnus) – Interned at the Aspen Music Festival in the summer of 2019 and has returned to his second season at New World Symphony.

Brandon Johnson (Bachelor of Arts in recording arts contract alumnus) – Won a Grammy as an assistant engineer for Bates: The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs with the Santa Fe Opera.  Brandon is in his second year working with Sound Mirror.

Felipe Fernandez (Master of Music student) – Engineered and performed on Salsa Del Norte’s debut album Lienzos. 

Frank McKearn (Bachelor of Arts in recording arts student) – Spent the summer of 2019 recording and providing live sound support for Birch Creek Music Performance Center‘s plethora of music camps.

Rachel Frazier (Bachelor of Arts in recording arts alumna) – Interned at Horse Drawn Productions in Berwyn, Ill. and Steve Albini’s Electrical Audio in Chicago this past spring and summer.

Dan Nichols (School of Music instructor and head of recording services) – Engineered on three albums this past spring and summer: