NIU Liberace Jazztet
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Contact: Mark McGowan, NIU Office of Public Affairs
May 5, 2006
DeKalb — The NIU Liberace Jazztet will swing for a sixth consecutive year thanks to renewed funding from the Liberace Foundation for the Performing and Creative Arts.
Founded at the Northern Illinois University School of Music in 2001 with a generous donation of $10,000 from the Liberace Foundation, the group has risen quickly to an international stature through performances at conferences and festivals around the globe.
Its annual provision climbed to $12,000 in 2003. Paul Bauer, director of the NIU School of Music, wrote the initial grant proposal.
“The continuing hard work of students, faculty and staff has paid off again,” Bauer said. “Successful renewal of funding is also due in part to the detailed work of staff member Lynn Slater, who completes and submits several required reports and packets of information throughout the year to the funding foundation.”
“The students we recruit to join this program are working real hard to keep the group really visible. The things we've done have been international,” said Ronald Carter, director of the Liberace Jazztet and of the jazz studies program in the NIU School of Music. “Also, because we're the only jazz group funded by the foundation, it gives them much more appeal, not only to lovers of classical music but also of jazz.”
Members of the Liberace Jazztet must be juniors, seniors or graduate students who are outstanding jazz performers and come with the recommendation of faculty. Graduate students benefit most because the School of Music provides them with enough additional responsibilities and salary to receive tuition waivers from the Graduate School.
Responsibilities include several hours of rehearsal each week and work with faculty mentors. Performing is key.
Last spring marked the Jazztet's debut in New York , playing a plum gig at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola, the new Jazz at Lincoln Center facility in New York City . The performance – the first by a collegiate ensemble from outside New York – produced an enthusiastic response from the club manager, who extended an open invitation for return engagements.
The group played the Festival Jazz en Peru in 2004, and will perform by invitation Sunday, July 2, at the Iowa City Jazz Festival.
“On the Verge,” a CD of mostly original works, is available from the School of Music. Carter currently is seeking an executive producer to fund producation of a second disc recorded last year.
Visit http://www.niu.edu/music/current/ensembles/Liberace/index.shtml for more information.
In other external funding news, the George and Betty Dutton Foundation has extended its generosity for a sixth consecutive year through a $4,000 graduate assistantship.
Each year since 2000, the foundation has paid for graduate students in music who spend part of their time working with children in the Sycamore Public Schools and the rest of their hours in the School of Music.
The school recruits one or two graduate students: a string player who performs as a member of the NIU Philharmonic as the George & Betty Dutton Orchestral Chair and/or a piano student who provides accompanying support to NIU students and ensembles as the George and Betty Dutton Collaborative Pianist.
The Dutton grant pays their salaries, and the Graduate School waives tuition.
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