Rodrigo Villanueva is professor of jazz studies at NIU. He teaches jazz drum set, jazz arranging, and is the director of the NIU Jazz Lab Band. Under his direction the Lab Band has toured internationally, has won twice the first place at the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire Jazz Festival (2008 and 2010), released a CD The NIU Jazz Lab Band ~ Quintessence (2011) and a live DVD featuring the NIU Jazz Studies faculty: The NIU Jazz Lab band Live at the 2014 Illinois Music Education Conference DVD. Mr. Villanueva is a drummer, composer, and arranger. He holds a Bachelor of Music (Magna Cum Laude) and a Master of Music in Jazz Performance from the University of North Texas. His teachers included Ed Soph, Andreas Lüscher, Alvaro López, Armando Zerquera, Chris Adams, Chris Dean, Robert Schietroma, and Paul Rennick, on drums and percussion; and Margarita Vega, Neil Slater, Paris Rutherford, and Dan Haerle in jazz theory and arranging. Mr. Villanueva has performed and/or recorded with several jazz, classical, and pop artists from Mexico, South America, Korea, Japan and the U.S.; among them are Eddie Gomez, Eugenio Toussaint, Roberto Aymes, Stefan Karlsson, Lynn Seaton, Takagoshi Yoshioka, Hiro Morozumi, Jangeun Bae, the Mexico City Philarmonic, Atril 5, Panoramic, Fareed Haque, Frank Caruso, Daniel Wong, Tom Garling, Liam Teague, Alejandro Fernandez, Lucero and Shaila Durcal.
He has composed and arranged in many styles and for different instrumentations, from percussion solos to big band. Walrus Music and Increase Music have published some of his compositions. As an educator, he has taught several workshops and courses in Mexico, South America, Korea, Japan and the U.S. In addition he has been featured as performer, composer or clinician in many international jazz festivals and conferences, such as the Midwest Clinic, Jazz Education Network International Conference, IAJE International Conference, Percussive Arts Society International Convention, Illinois Music Education All-State Conference, San Miguel de Allende International Jazz and Blues Festival, JazzUV International Jazz Festival, Jazz en Lima International Festival. Mr. Villanueva is a Yamaha, Sabian, Latin Percussion, Evans and Reunion Blues artist, and he is also a member of Birch Creek Percussion and Steel Band Summer Program Faculty, the Vic Firth Education Team, PAS, JEN, ASCAP, Golden Key National Honor Society and the Phi Beta Delta Honor Society for International Scholars. In addition, he is currently involved in many jazz projects, including the Eddie Gomez Trio, Panoramic, and the Rodrigo Villanueva Jazz Trio/Quartet.
M.M., University of North Texas