Cliff Alexis, co-founder of NIU’s world-renowned steelpan studies program has passed away at 82. He was an invaluable part of the School of Music for more than 30 years even after his retirement from NIU in 2017.
Dr. Thomas Bough, Professor of Music, Director of Bands, and Wind Symphony Conductor at Northern Illinois University is presenting six different sessions at state music education association events around the country early this year. (more…)
Season’s greetings from everyone in the NIU College of Visual and Performing Arts, including the School of Art and Design, School of Music, School of Theatre and Dance, Community School of the Arts and the NIU Art Museum.
You can make a difference
The annual financial support of NIU alumni and friends helps the College of Visual and Performing Arts provide critical support for student and faculty travel, visiting artists and experiential learning opportunities.
Please consider a year-end gift to help fuel the dreams of students like the:
- School of Art and Design Students who attended the Seek Conference in Chicago
- School of Theatre and Dance students who performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC
- School of Music students who played at PASIC in Indianapolis
From $5 to $5,000, every gift matters.
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!”
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.
“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.
How do you compose a theme for a Star Wars project and make it “sound like Star Wars” without using any of John Williams’ iconic score? (more…)