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New Music Festival continues at NIU

Published: Thursday, Oct. 31, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

There is something for everyone on this year’s Northern Illinois University New Music Festival.

Under the leadership of artistic director Gregory Beyer, and in collaboration with School of Music professors Geof Bradfield and Ryan Muncy, the festival will bring to campus two sets of guest artist ensembles and will offer very different programs for the two remaining shows on Nov. 5 and 7.

Bradfield, professor of jazz saxophone, has coordinated with some of his colleagues in Chicago to bring to campus jazz bassist and composer, Matt Ulery, and his group Loom. They will perform on Tuesday. Loom will be joined by members of the NIU New Music Ensemble for an evening of chamber jazz works by Ulery, whose music betrays heavy Eastern European influences. Ulery’s music is critically acclaimed and absolutely haunting.

The festival finale brings together the NIU Physics Department and NIU Observatory alongside the NIU Graduate Percussion Ensemble to present Gerard Grisey’s, “Le Noir de l’étoile” (the Black of the Star). Composed in 1989-90, this percussion sextet masterwork was inspired by the discovery of “cosmic clocks” known as pulsars (deceased stars spinning at incredible rates of speed). Its duration is approximately one hour long and sets the audience inside a ring of percussionists and percussion music, accompanied by recordings of the pulsars themselves as well as by images of pulsars created by the Hubble space station.

Professor Dave Hedin and graduate student Matthew Wiesner will be on hand before the concert to offer a lecture titled, “Ten Awesome Things you Didn’t Know About Astronomy,” and after the concert will take interested parties from the audience over to the NIU Observatory for a tour to see the stars and other celestial bodies in the evening sky.

Both concerts begin at 8 p.m. and will be held in the Boutell Memorial Concert Hall in the Music Building at 400 Lucinda Ave. in DeKalb. The finale event’s pre-concert lecture begins at 7:30 p.m. All events are free and open to the public.

For more information, contact Gregory Beyer at 815-753-7981 or gbeyer@niu.edu.

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