NIU Today |  The School of Music will present the World Music Festival 2024

The theme of this year’s NIU School of Music World Music Series is “Meeting a World of Global Sound.” The festival consists of a number of recitals, concerts and a Songkran (New Year) celebration.

World Music Festival Concert Series

Monday, April 8, 7 p.m., Music Building, Recital Hall
Traveler, Graduate Recital-Chih-I Hsiao

In this recital, graduate student, world music performer, and Chinese music Chih-I Hsiao will present a collection of original works that blend various world music styles. Utilizing Homi Bhabha’s critical theory of Hybridity and Third Space, Chih-I strives to create a musical style that transcends conventional geographical and historical boundaries. The instruments and musical elements of different cultures featured in this concert include Chinese erhu, Indian tabla, Thai ranat ek, jazz guitar, Korean janggu, sousaphone and steel pan.

A short film is included as part of this recital to show how these pieces came together from scratch and how the musicians on this journey constantly negotiate and brainstorm the perfect musical messages they seek to convey.

Wednesday, April 10, 7 p.m., Music Building, Recital Hall
Music of East Asia

This concert features the Chinese Music Ensemble and the Korean Drumming Ensemble, both very active at NIU. In these two ensembles, members learn to play traditional styles of music using authentic instruments from both cultures. This concert will feature two special guest performers. Dr. Hong-Da Chin of Western Illinois University, who specializes in Chinese wind instruments, will perform a contemporary concerto composed for the Chinese bamboo flute, the dizi. A Japanese koto performer, Yoko will be joined by Nan Yamprai on the shamisen for a duet. The concert will feature a short performance for the audience to learn more about the cultural meanings of the music and instruments heard and seen at the concert.

Thursday, April 11, 7 p.m., Music Building, Recital Hall
Thai music concert

To celebrate the Southeast Asian New Year in April (or Songkran specifically in Thailand), the Thai Music Concert is a joint cultural event sponsored by the School of Music, the Center for Southeast Asian Studies, and the Department of World Languages ​​and Cultures (Language Thai). A cultural excursion event to celebrate Songkran, the New Year tradition of many mainland Southeast Asian countries, will be held in the lobby area of ​​the Concert Hall for the public to explore the Thai language, visual arts, crafts and food before the concert. In the concert, traditional Thai central court music, folk music of the Northeast region, Thai jazz music and more will be featured and performed by students from the Southeast Asian Music class and the Thai music ensemble and a guest jazz group from Thailand.

Friday, April 12, 7 p.m., Music Building, Recital Hall
Fusion Concert Sounds

This world music reunion concert provides a platform for students and faculty to create and perform new music that “crosses boundaries” in nature and does not carry any fixed label that adheres to the Western music canon. Idioms of various world music cultures adopted to create innovative musical sounds include Brazilian drumming, Afro-Cuban drumming, and African drumming. Creative ideas and their cultural connections will be delivered by performers and composers at the concert.

Saturday, April 13, 3 p.m., Music Building, Boutell Memorial Concert Hall
The annual world music concert

To conclude this year’s World Music Festival, the World Music Concert features primarily our student ensembles, which are regularly offered as electives open to NIU students of all majors. These groups include Gamelan, Chinese Music, Korean Drumming, Thai Music and Middle Eastern Music Ensembles. We are also very proud to feature the NIU Concert Choir to perform several works by composer Saunder Choi, who will be in attendance at the concert as artist-in-residence. He will speak to the audience about the Southeast Asian and Chinese cultural elements integrated into his works. A special presentation on the Zimbabwean mbira duet presented by NIU’s own Greg Beyer and Geof Bradfield is another highlight of this concert. At the end, there will be a jam session involving volunteer musicians on the spot to collectively create a unique and surprising piece to end the concert.

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