School of Music Sondheim tribute accepting auditions from students of any major

School of Music Sondheim tribute accepting auditions from students of any major

The School of Music and the Opera Department would like to offer an open call for students at NIU to be part of a Stephen Sondheim Tribute.

Since the school is online the first week of school, it is asked that interested students submit a self-tape of at least 32 bars of a musical theatre song – Sondheim is encouraged but not required.

Please submit self-tapes to jwester@niu.edu. A.J. Wester is the Director of Opera in the School of Music and will make the determination as to participants. Deadline for submission is: January 21st

Rehearsals will be held Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. in the Recital Hall of the School of Music. Please submit any conflicts from February 1 through April 3. A rehearsal schedule will be given. You are required only at the rehearsals for which you are called (that’s why a conflict list is very important.)

The performances will be held April 1 and 3.  There is a tech week 6:30 p.m. -9:30 p.m. every night March 28-31.

Any questions, please contact A.J. Wester in the School of Music jwester@niu.edu

School of Music takes the show on the road to Indiana

School of Music takes the show on the road to Indiana

The Indiana Music Education Association Professional Development Conference in Ft. Wayne will have a distinct northern Illinois feel to it this weekend.

Not only has Reggie Thomas, Professor and Head of Jazz Studies at NIU been asked to direct the Indiana All-State Jazz Band, but the NIU Wind Ensemble will perform twice, a rare honor for an out-of-state ensemble.

NIU School of Music faculty members Christopher Scanlon (left) and Thomas Bough.

Under the direction of Thomas Bough, Conductor of Wind Symphony and Director of Athletic Bands at NIU, the Wind Ensemble will perform a featured concert at 3:30 p.m. which includes a guest solo by Christopher Scanlon, Assistant Professor of Trumpet at NIU. And an 11 a.m. concert titled “Music By Black Composers.”

“NIU as a whole and the School of Music in particular is committed to diversity, equity and inclusion,” Bough said. “One of the things I’m really proud about is that for the last two years, every single concert of every single band has included music from a Black composer and a female composer and in some cases more than one piece. I’m really proud of what we’re doing. We are emerging as a leader in that regard. Over the course of the fall semester we performed all of this music and now we’re devoting an entire concert to that work.”

The Music By Black Composers concert includes music written by composers like William Owen, Tania Leon, Anthony Barfield, Dwayne Milburn, Quincy Hilliard and Quinn Mason.

In the afternoon performance, the Wind Ensemble will perform a number of pieces, including Musing on Mahler written by Bough and featuring Scanlon’s solo on trumpet.

“It has been a pleasure performing as a soloist with the Wind Ensemble and Dr. Bough conducting his “trumpet concerto,” Musings on Mahler,” Scanlon said. By the end of this semester we will have performed if four times, on a Wind Ensemble concert in Boutell last fall, at the Indiana Music Educators Conference in January, at the Batavia Fine Arts Festival and NIU Concert Band Festivals in February.

“It is a wonderful piece that takes the beautiful melodies of Mahler lieder and gives them to the solo trumpet voice. As a showpiece it is not without some flashy technical passages but overwhelmingly the piece employs my favorite thing to do as a musician, sing through the trumpet. It is also unique in that each of its three movements are performed on a different “auxiliary” trumpet. Like most trumpet players the main instrument I perform and practice with is the Bb trumpet. Dr. Bough foregoes the common Bb trumpet and wrote a movement each for the Cornet, Flugelhorn and piccolo trumpet. Navigating these three very different instruments in one solo piece is a fun challenge. It is exciting to share this piece with so many other musicians and educators and I hope they consider programming it as well.”

Music By Black Composers will be conducted by Bough and by graduate assistants Annie Sun Chung, Dan’ica Richardson and Bryan A. Flippin. The featured concert will be conducted by Bough and Chung.

Bough has presented at the Indiana conference before and took a chance that the high quality work of the Wind Ensemble merited consideration to perform at it. “They said that we were welcome to apply to perform but that they almost never take out of state ensembles,” he said. “We submitted some audio recordings and some video of rehearsals and programs, and they must have liked what they heard and saw. I was pleasantly surprised to receive not just one, but two invitations to perform. To the best of my knowledge and NIU ensemble has not appeared at a state convention in more than a decade. We’re really excited to take our music across state lines. It’s especially fitting now that NIU no longer charges an out of state tuition rate.”

Dan Nichols named Chicagoan of the Year for Classical Music by Chicago Tribune

Dan Nichols named Chicagoan of the Year for Classical Music by Chicago Tribune

Dan Nichols, Head of Recording Services in the NIU School of Music has been named Chicagoan of the Year for Classical Music by the Chicago Tribune for the work his multimedia production company, Aphorism Studios has done in the past as “one of Chicago’s fastest-rising recording engineers in a specific niche: contemporary classical music”, and for the way they stepped up during the pandemic: “Aphorism’s tireless work made it the city’s most ubiquitous independent studio in classical music concert streams, engineering or distributing digital performances for Ear Taxi Festival, Haymarket Opera, Ensemble Dal Niente, the Milwaukee Symphony, the University of Chicago Presents, Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music, Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra, and more.”

Nichols is a Grammy Award winner, and five of Aphorism Studios’ produced albums have been nominated for Grammys. Under his watch the Recording Services area of the School of Music has produced a number of alumni and students who have, themselves, been nominated for Grammys.

Most recently, Brandon Johnson, who earned his bachelor of arts in recording services at NIU, won a Grammy in spring 2021.

Read more: (Chicago Tribune, Dec. 22, 2021) — Chicagoan of the Year for Classical Music: Dan Nichols of Aphorism Studios, in a year the concert hall came to your living room

School of Music Professor Emeritus Robert Reeves passes away at 80

School of Music Professor Emeritus Robert Reeves passes away at 80

Boutell OrganRobert Reeves, emeritus professor of the NIU School of Music passed away December 29, 2021 in Sarasota, Fla.

Reeves was Professor of Organ at NIU from the 1970s through the mid 1990s. He was instrumental in the project to have the concert organ in Boutell Memorial Concert Hall constructed. A former student of Reeves’, Jerry Goodman, has dedicated a Baldwin grand piano to the School of Music in his honor.

Robert Henry Reeves
December 6, 1941 – December 29, 2021