Friday, October 11 at 7:30
In September 2012, the NIU School of Music began to host a beautiful Fazioli F278 Concert Grand. The 278 was previously owned and loved by a retired doctor who purchased it with the goal of becoming a better pianist-at 85! Declining health necessitated moving to his son's condo in Chicago, but there was no way to get the piano into the apartment. Pianoforte Chicago, which originally sold him the 278, agreed to take it back in trade for a smaller new Fazioli. The plan was to bring the 278 out to NIU, where it could be used while being prepared for sale. However, along the way faculty and students fell in love with it, and the Dean began seeking a donor. Through alumnus Jeff Yordon, a connection was made to the Dr. Agnes Varis Charitable Trust*, and the trustees approved our application for funds to purchase this amazing piano.
Please join us in the Boutell Memorial Concert Hall on Friday, October 11 at 7:30 pm, as we celebrate this gift with a dedication concert. Faculty and students will play the Fazioli, as well as works for four grand pianos (including our Steinway Model D, Schimmel K280, and a Yamaha CFIII), in a fitting demonstration of the many ways this instrument will be used over the coming decades. One of the Varis trustees will be present at the concert. Let's fill every seat and express our appreciation for their generous gift in memory of a woman who loved the arts.
NIU has joined an elite group of schools of music with a Fazioli. On Homecoming weekend, we can all enjoy this wonderful concert. It will be webcast for those who cannot make the trip, but we hope to see you in Boutell!
Waltz from Faust Charles Gounod (1818-1893)
arr. Renaud de Vilback (1829-1884)
William Goldenberg, JeongSoo Kim, William Koehler, Yao Lin
Andaluza Enrique Granados (1867-1916)
Autumn Moon, Peaceful Lake Wen-Cheng Lu (1898-1981)
arr. Chen Pei-Xun (b. 1921)
Clair de lune Claude Debussy (1862-1918)
Tango Brasileiro "Odeon" Ernesto Nazareth (1863-1934)
Evening Song of a Fishing Boat Chinese Traditional Folk
arr. Wang Jian Zhong (b. 1933)
Widmung (Dedication) Robert Schumann (1788-1866)
arr. Franz Liszt (1811-1886)
Ballet from Orfeo ed Euridice Christoph Willibald von Glück (1714-1787)
arr. Greg Anderson (b. 1981)
William Goldenberg, Yao Lin
From the Bohemian Forest, Op. 64 Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904)
V. “Silent Woods“
I. “In the Spinning House”
William Koehler, John Novak
Waltz from The Sleeping Beauty, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893)
Op. 66 arr. Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943)
JeongSoo Kim, William Koehler
The Stars and Stripes Forever John Philip Sousa (1854-1932)
arr. Mack Wilberg (b. 1955)
William Goldenberg, JeongSoo Kim, William Koehler, Yao Lin
*About Dr. Agnes Varis
Dr. Agnes Varis (1930-2011) believed that philanthropy uplifts both the individual and the community. A legendary business leader, Dr. Varis co-founded Marsam Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Aegis Pharmaceuticals, both generic pharmaceutical companies. Dr. Varis and her husband supported the arts, especially music, which they both believed "belonged to the people." During her lifetime, Dr. Varis donated over $30 million to various arts programs, many at the Metropolitan Opera and the Jazz Foundation of America. At Jazz at Lincoln Center, she built the Agnes Varis and Karl Leichtman Rehearsal and Recording Studio, one of the largest recording studios in New York City. In 2010 Dr.Varis was appointed by President Obama to the President's Committee on Arts and Humanities. Upon her death, on July 29, 2011, members in both the United States Senate and the Congress publicly recognized her achievements in business and philanthropy and thanked her for her service to the people of her country.
More than 30,000 nominations from throughout the United States were submitted for the Music Educator Award. Of those, 217 music teachers from 45 states have made it to the quarterfinals, including the five NIU alumni. Less than one percent of those nominated were selected as quarterfinalists.
To say that the school’s director is elated is an understatement.
“Having one alum on this list of outstanding music educators from across the country would be worthy of celebration,” said Paul Bauer, director of the NIU School of Music, one of three schools in the College of Visual and Performing Arts.
“Two would be amazing. Three would be incredible. The NIU School of Music has five alumni on the list!” Bauer added. “And some will find it interesting that four additional master teachers from the list of Music Educator Award quarterfinalists serve as established partners in the teaching of NIU music education majors. Having professional relationships with nine of the 217 quarterfinalists from across the entire country puts NIU in a special class.”
“It’s incredibly gratifying to know that five NIU School of Music alumni are included among the quarterfinalists for the Grammy Music Educator Award. Our music faculty members are dedicated to recruiting top students from throughout the country and abroad, and this is proof positive that they’re attracting the best and the brightest to NIU, said Rich Holly, dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts. I’m very proud of the tremendous careers these alums have, and pleased for the hundreds of young students they are impacting each and every day.”
“Responses by these honored nominees themselves and others has been gratifying,” Bauer added.
Nominee Barsch said he highly values the guidance he continues to receive from his mentor at NIU. “I really appreciate the education I got at NIU, mainly under the direction of Dr. [Eric] Johnson. Fortunately, I’ve been able to maintain that relationship.”
Naperville Central High School Principal William Wiesbrook calls NCHS “lucky to have Mr. Wahlund teaching and leading our students. I am very proud of Ben, and hope that he is recognized again in August for the impact and leadership he consistently exhibits with his students.”
Morgan expressed his gratitude for his time spent at NIU.
“Growing up I remember seeing the NIU Jazz Ensemble perform at the Rialto Theatre, and I decided then that NIU is where I wanted to be,” Morgan said. “I never could have imagined how strong of an educational foundation I would receive. All of my professors not only taught the core subject, but also life lessons that have been invaluable. I look back fondly of my time at NIU and will be forever grateful for the opportunities made available to me there.”
The Recording Academy and GRAMMY Foundation established the Music Educator Award to recognize teachers who have made a significant and lasting contribution and commitment to education.
The NIU music faculty believes music education students must have a variety of experiences in methods of teaching, foundations of education, performance, instructional technology and working with diverse populations. Their commitment to music education is reflected in NIU’s reputation as well as the honors its graduates and their students receive. Three decades of NIU alumni are represented as quarterfinalists for the prestigious Music Educator Award, and other NIU alumni music teachers have been named to the National Teachers Hall of Fame and have received the Mr. Holland’s Opus Award.
The four additional master teachers collaborating with NIU are Stephanie Skizas, Glenbard South High School, Glen Ellyn, Ill.; D.J. Alstadt, Naperville Central High School, Naperville; Mark Duker, Neuqua Valley High School, Naperville; and Brian Logan, Wheeling High School, Wheeling, Ill.
Music Educator Award semifinalists will be announced in August, 2013. From that pool, the Academy will then select 10 finalists and one winner, who will receive a $10,000 honorarium and attend the GRAMMY Award Ceremony in February, 2014. The other nine finalists will receive a $1,000 honorarium.
Established in 1957, the Recording Academy is an organization of musicians, songwriters, producers, engineers and recording professionals that is dedicated to improving the cultural condition and quality of life for music and its makers.
The GRAMMY Foundation was established in 1989 to cultivate the understanding, appreciation and advancement of the contribution of recorded music to American culture.
This summer Yamaha Piano and Hendricks Keyboards of Downers Grove, IL partnered with the School of Music to bring the current Concert and Artist Yamaha CFIII piano to NIU. This 9' instrument has graced stages in Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin and Michigan, including use at Symphony Center in Chicago.
We are able to use and enjoy this piano in Instrumental Ensemble room 155, and don't be surprised if it finds its way onto the Boutell Concert Hall stage! It is truly a spectacular instrument, built just before Yamaha launched a new Concert Grand called the CX. This piano clearly benefitted from the thought and research involved in creating the new model. While not a CX, there are features of this instrument that demonstrate why the CX is winning critical acclaim and being chosen in major piano competitions around the world. We hope that this CFIII soon takes up permanent residency in DeKalb, and its wandering days come to an end. Ron Carter, director of the NIU Jazz Ensemble, had only one complaint, that he retired before the instrument came to NIU. A big thank you to Yamaha and Hendricks Keyboards for this great opportunity!
In August 2012 NIU became home to three pianos which began their journey to DeKalb from German towns about 125 miles apart. These were a Hamburg Steinway C, a Grotrian 225, and a Schimmel upright. The Grotrian and Schimmel Piano companies are both located in Braunsweig. By August 2013, three more have made the trip: a Grotrian 189, and two Schimmel grand pianos.
The Grotrian was a generous donation of a well cared for instrument, which came from the home of Gaylen and Joanne Larson. Their move into a new home meant that the piano no longer had a space in their living room, and we had the perfect space, Rehearsal Room 161. It has been a welcome addition for the students who rehearse there.
In May the NIU School of Music received its latest piano donation, a Schimmel Konzert 280, for Choral Rehearsal Room 171. Given by a donor who wishes to remain anonymous, this piano will be greatly appreciated by the students and faculty in the choral and opera theater programs. It will also receive significant use by local musical ensembles which rehearse in 171. From time to time, it will join the Fazioli and Steinway concert grands in the Boutell Concert Hall, when multi-piano works are performed.
Our newest German resident is a Schimmel Classic Grand Model 208 in Lecture Hall 173. On loan from Pianoforte Chicago, this piano will allow us to use 173 for performance area convocations and lecture recitals. With so many performing ensembles using the Music Building, enhancing the possible uses of any space is important. This piano helps us do that in the Lecture Hall. We certainly hope this visit will turn into a permanent residency here at the NIU School of Music.
Schimmel is a well-known piano name in Europe, but perhaps not so familiar to us in the Midwest. An introduction is in order. The Schimmel Piano Company was founded in 1885. Hannes Schimmel-Vogel is the CEO and the fourth generation of the Schimmel family to lead the company since inception. The Konzert line of pianos, to which the K280 belongs, was launched in the year 2000. It expresses Schimmel’s desire to produce a top flight concert instrument and it achieves this goal by combining the best materials, craftsmanship and German machine tool technology.
The Classic line is built in the same factory, and reflects Schimmel 's desire for a solid, well designed and constructed instrument, which compares favorably with pianos built by more well known companies in other parts of the world. One can find these pianos in musician's homes and studios around the world. We are pleased to host the Classic 208, and hope we can give it a permanent home. In the meantime, we wish to thank Pianoforte Chicago and the owner Thomas Zoells for the opportunity to experience this beautiful instrument. Just as better tools help make for a better carpenter, better instruments help make for better musicians. That is the goal.
"Father of Virtual Reality" and Internet2 innovator Jaron Lanier was the keynote speaker for NIU's Celebrating Excellence event. Recognized internationally as a computer scientist, musician and digital media pioneer, Lanier visited the School of Music to explore NIU's World Music and technology activities.
The Northern Illinois University School of Music is now the proud owner of a remarkable Italian Fazioli F278 9-foot grand piano, thanks to a $100,000 grant check received today (April 2) from the Dr. Agnes Varis Trust. NIU College of Visual and Performing Arts Dean Richard Holly authored the grant at the urging of NIU alumnus and valued patron Jeffrey Yordon, who was familiar with the Trust.
The grant application noted, "The Northern Illinois University School of Music is a leading supplier of arts programming in the entire northern Illinois region, including Chicago. The School boasts a top-ten jazz program, an elite world music program, is home to the noted Avalon String Quartet, and several additional areas of distinction... the NIU School of Music provides live performances and instruction and also uses internet video technologies for performing and teaching, to engage more than ½ million people in the past year through live and online teaching and performance activities."
The "new" Fazioli piano was gently used in a private home for several years and is in like-new condition. This instrument would normally cost $180,000, but PianoForte Chicago, the same partner who facilitated the School of Music's acquisition of a rare Hamburg Steinway Model C grand piano last fall, was able to provide this piano from a private owner for virtually half the cost of a new Fazioli shipped from Italy.
With its first pianos built only 30 years ago, Fazioli has quickly gained a reputation as the most finely crafted pianos in the world – only 110 are made each year in Italy – and the Fazioli piano has been described as “an instrument of rare distinction.” PianoForte Chicago allowed NIU to "audition" the instrument for several months, and it was indeed a special instrument. NIU piano faculty member and Distinguished Teaching Professor William Goldenberg exclaimed, "It's fantastic. I'm thrilled we'll have it."
The Fazioli F278 joins a wonderful New York Steinway Model D 9-foot piano in Boutell Concert Hall. Along with the Recital Hall's new Grotrian Model 225 and wonderful Hamburg Steinway Model C grand piano (both from Germany), "these four performance grand pianos comprise the finest collection of performance pianos in the Midwest, comparable to the best that could be found anywhere in the country. The music from these instruments will enrich the lives of our students, faculty, guest artists and audiences in DeKalb and around the world for decades to come," said Paul Bauer- Director of the NIU School of Music.
Dr. Agnes Varis (1930-2011) believed that philanthropy uplifts both the individual and the community. A legendary business leader, Dr. Varis co-founded Marsam Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Aegis Pharmaceuticals, both generic pharmaceutical companies. Dr. Varis and her husband supported the arts, especially music, which they both believed “belonged to the people.” During her lifetime, Dr. Varis donated over $30 million to various arts programs, many at the Metropolitan Opera and the Jazz Foundation of America. At Jazz at Lincoln Center, she built the Agnes Varis and Karl Leichtman Rehearsal and Recording Studio, one of the largest recording studios in New York City. In 2010 Dr. Varis was appointed by President Obama to the President's Committee on Arts and Humanities (PCAH). Upon her death, on July 29, 2011, members in both the United States Senate and the Congress publicly recognized her achievements in business and philanthropy and thanked her for her service to the people of her country.
For more information, contact Lynn Slater email@example.com 815-753-1546.
This summer has seen several changes to the piano inventory at NIU. We have added Grotrian and Hamburg Steinway semi-concert grand pianos to the Recital Hall, retired a well-worn Yamaha upright, and replaced it with a new Schimmel upright. The Schimmel and Grotrian both hail from Braunsweig Germany. The Hamburg comes from, well, Hamburg.
Last year we experimented with the use of a slightly shorter piano in the Recital Hall, as the sound of the wonderful 9-foot American Steinway Model D had “opened up” and was moved to Boutell Memorial Concert Hall, where its big voice matches the large hall. PianoForte Chicago generously provided a Grotrian 7.5 foot semi-concert grand piano for the Recital Hall last year, which allowed the faculty to confirm it indeed was the right size for the space. We purchased the new Grotrian in May, with faculty declaring a 7.5 foot Hamburg Model C semi-concert grand piano would ideally complete a two-piano Recital Hall inventory, even though finding an available Model C in the US soon might be impossible.
Then, unexpectedly, a Hamburg Steinway Model C became available in Chicago in July. The piano faculty went to try it and quickly fell in love with it. Retired NIU faculty member and Former Associate Dean of the Graduate School Carla W. Montgomery learned of the opportunity and explained she was a piano accompanist for her choirs in school and understood the impact a great piano has on the performances of pianists and their musical collaborators. With a few strokes of a pen, she changed impossible to possible, and immediate arrangements were made. After a harrowing ride on end atop the elevator leaving its old home, (not the recommended method!) it has now arrived at NIU!
Anyone wishing to try the Schimmel upright will have to ask Jui-Ching Wang nicely. It is in her office.
And the Italian surprise? Arrangements have been made with PianoForte Chicago for the use of a rare 9-foot Fazioli F278 concert grand piano in Boutell Memorial Concert Hall. With its first pianos built only 30 years ago, Fazioli has quickly gained a reputation as the most finely crafted pianos in the world – only 110 are made each year in Italy – and the Fazioli piano has been described as “an instrument of rare distinction.”
“Our performance pianos will be the envy of many institutions, as is our piano technician David Graham who facilitated our receiving all of these pianos” says Paul Bauer, Director of the NIU School of Music. “Our students, faculty, and community will all enjoy these fabulous instruments, not to mention people in more than 150 countries around the world via our LIVE HD WEBCASTS and YouTube videos.”
Anyone wishing to donate for the next piano purchase should speak to Dean Holly or Dr. Bauer. They have a list!