School of Music’s Tom Bough to present at the world’s largest band and orchestra clinic

School of Music’s Tom Bough to present at the world’s largest band and orchestra clinic

NIU School of Music faculty member Tom Bough has been chosen to present at the 72nd annual Midwest Clinic International Band and Orchestra Conference in Chicago.  It is the largest band and orchestra clinic in the world.

Bough is the director of athletic bands and wind symphony conductor at NIU and has served on the faculty since 2005.  His presentation, “Just Intonation: Help Your Ensemble HEAR and PLAY Better In Tune” will be held at 4:30 p.m., Wednesday, December 19.  It’s a tight turn-around for Bough, as his Huskie Marching Band will be playing at the Boca Raton Bowl, in Boca Raton, Fla. the night before, as NIU takes on the University of Alabama-Birmingham.

His session at the conference is presented by Yamaha Corporation of America, and is described as:

Playing perfectly in tune requires more than just a tuner! Setting the length of the tuning slide, neck or mouthpiece or string simply minimizes the amount of adjustments the students need to make. However, literally every note they play will need to be adjusted to some degree. The skill of LISTENING and ADJUSTING while playing is the mark of all great musicians, and can be developed and improved by of any age by tuning against a drone. The ability of the drone to switch between equal temperament and just intonation provides a listening environment more applicable to ensemble performance for the students. Attendees will witness the demonstration of seven different exercises to help their students develop their listening skills while matching pitch with the drone.

Bough says that both ensembles that he conducts (the marching band and the wind symphony) utilize the Harmony Director as part of their regular rehearsal process.  “Basically, I am doing a presentation that describes the great work we are already doing at NIU!”

New album featuring the Avalon String Quartet released December 7

New album featuring the Avalon String Quartet released December 7

A new album featuring NIU’s artists in residence, the Avalon String Quartet, was released December 7.  “Matthew Quayle, String Quartets Nos. 1-3” is available on Naxos Records.

Avalon CD cover“I am delighted to share the Avalon Quartet’s powerful rendition of my three string quartets on Naxos,” Quayle said.  “These remarkable musicians display their uncommon insight and interpretive range throughout the album—from the introspective yet ardent journey of the expansive First Quartet, to the spiky mischief of the Second, to the enigmatic meandering through the thirteen fleeting movements of the Third. They have fully captured the stylistic diversity and dramatic intensity of these deeply personal pieces.” 

Quayle studied at Oberlin Conservatory (B.M.), the University of Cincinnati (M.M.), and New York University’s Graduate School of Arts and Science (Ph.D.). He is currently Assistant Arts Professor of Music and Head of the Music Program at NYU Abu Dhabi, where he has taught since 2012.

The Avalon String Quartet are:

  • Blaise Magniere, violin
  • Marie Wang, violin
  • Anthony Devroye, viola
  • Cheng-Hou Lee, cello

Upcoming Avalon performances include:

Saturday, January 19 – Live from Gottlieb (Merit School of Music), 11:50 a.m.
Thursday, February 14 – Northern Illinois University Recital Hall, 8 p.m.
Friday, February 15 – Roosevelt University (Ganz Hall), 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, February 17 – Mendelssohn Performing Arts Center (Rockford, IL), 3 p.m.

Value of versatile design skills a key message at 2018 Seek Conference

Value of versatile design skills a key message at 2018 Seek Conference

Advice, inspiration and humor were in large supply as a group of about 190, including 45 current NIU School of Art and Design students and a large number of young alumni attended the 2018 Seek Conference, November 12 at Morningstar in Chicago.  Attendees were treated to short presentations and panel discussions from 11 School of Art and Design alumni at various stages of their successful design careers. (more…)