Applied Artist in the School of Music
What year did you start working at NIU?
Where is your hometown? Where do you live now?
I grew up in an idyllic rural community near New Philadelphia, Ohio. I currently live in Elgin.
Where did you attend college and what degree(s) have you earned?
Baldwin-Wallace College Conservatory of Music (B.M., B.M.E.), DePaul University (M.M.), University of Illinois at Chicago (Certificate in Non-Profit Management C.N.M.), and I am currently a full-time doctoral student at the University of Illinois.
What do you like about working at NIU?
There are so many things I love about working at NIU. First, the students are amazing. They inspire me through their hard work, their own learning discovery, and their motivation to learn. My colleagues are also a source of inspiration to me. They do amazing research, lead incredible lectures and rehearsals, and are always performing at the highest level.
What advice would you give to students currently attending NIU?
Take advantage of every learning opportunity you can. Join clubs, participate in campus life, volunteer, and create real dialogue with your friends, colleagues, classmates, and instructors.
Tell us about a research or engaged learning project you have led. Two years ago, the Alloy Horn Quartet, an all-female French horn quartet of which I am a member, was asked to present and perform as Featured Performers at the International Horn Society‘s annual convention. While planning our program, we recognized the importance of presenting new music from fresh composers to this audience of professional and student musicians. We commissioned NIU colleague Tom Bough to write us a piece which we then premiered at the convention. The piece was very well received and we have had the opportunity to perform it for many audiences since, to much acclaim. The work and its presentation were an important contribution to the horn literature and community.
What do you hope students take away from your class?
This time in your life, when you are completely free to focus on your education, is such a valuable time in your life. Recognize what you’ve been given, and work as hard as you can to succeed.
What is your favorite campus event?
Each year I have led a daylong festival called the Winter Horn Fest. This is an opportunity for high school students interested in and studying the French horn to attend clinics, concerts, and masterclasses on campus that are hyper-focused on all aspects of French horn playing.
Who has influenced your professional path?
My own professors, who shared a profound interest in my growth and education, have probably had the most impact on my professional path. These weren’t always the teachers I loved, but rather the ones that made me work my hardest.
What did you want to be when you were growing up? Are you currently doing it? If not what changed your path?
I thought I wanted to be an editor for a travel magazine because I wanted to see the world. But once I started getting serious about practicing my instrument in upper high school, I realized that the French horn would be the thing that would continue to challenge and motivate me through my life. It is an absolute bonus that my performing has taken me to 40 states, Mexico, and eight European countries to perform. It is really the best of both worlds.
Are you a member of or hold a position within a professional organization? If so, what organization? What is the purpose of that organization and how does being part of this organization benefit you in your role at NIU?
I am a member of a few music groups. One is the Alloy Horn Quartet previously mentioned, as well as the Alliance Brass Quintet, an internationally-touring quintet based in Chicago, and the Chicago Horn Consort, an all-professional group of 14 French horns who perform about six concerts per year in the Chicago area and just released our first album last month.
What do you do to relax or recharge?
I enjoy running. I run about 35 miles a week in the summer. I love to spend time with my daughters painting, coloring, and doing arts and crafts. My husband and I like to go antiquing, constantly finding new treasures for our old Victorian home.
Kelly Langenberg is an applied artist in the School of Music, College of Visual and Performing Arts.
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