School of Music Alumni Profiles

Marquis Hill, B.M., 2009, Music Education and Jazz Performance

When it comes to music, Marquis Hill is the best of the proverbial best.

An experienced trumpeter and music teacher, he has performed alongside today’s top artists in jazz festivals and competitions. He has been honored with many prestigious awards and scholarships, including the 2014 Thelonious Monk Trumpet Competition, which is among the most prestigious competitions for jazz musicians.

Hill was recognized with the NIUAA’s 2020 Alumni Achievement in the Arts Award.

Hill keeps busy with a constant schedule of festivals and concerts all over the world, playing in a variety of styles and specialties, from big band to gospel. A prolific writer, he is always creating some new piece of music or twist on an old favorite, having published nine musical recordings since 2010. In 2019, he released his tenth album, “Love Tape.” 

Learn more about Marquis Hill in the NIU Arts Blog

NIU alumnus Marquis Hill

Jermaine Stegall, B.A., 2000, Music Performance

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?

That’s a challenge NIU School of Music alumnus Jermaine Stegall took head on when charged with creating music for Lucasfilm’s Our Star Wars Stories.

“For these episodes we didn’t have a license to use any of John Williams’ themes, or even hint at the themes, even though it’s for Lucasfilm,” Stegall said. “But, through the rhythms and the harmonies, there’s a language that he created, and it was so intricate that you could still speak the ‘language’ without using the direct theme. The goal was to make it sound like it fits in the world.”

Stegall’s challenge was not just to create a theme to play over the titles, but to write music that accentuated each of these unique stories throughout the entire run-time.

Learn more about Jermaine Stegall in the NIU Arts Blog

NIU alum Jermaine Stegall

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