NIU presents World Music Festival

DeKALB –  The Northern Illinois University School of Music will host its fourth annual World Music  Festival, "Musical Encounters," from Tuesday, April 9, through Sunday, April  14. As usual, this week-long event will consist of concerts and lectures  featuring various world music styles and cultural dialogues in music.


Artist-in-residence, renowned Middle Eastern oudist, composer and music educator from Syria, Essam Rafea, and frame drum artist Omar al Musif will kick off this year’s festival by presenting a solo recital of traditional Arabic music and Rafea’s original compositions in a solo recital at 8 p.m. Tuesday, April 9 in the Recital Hall. In addition

to this performance, Essam Rafea, along with Aboud Agha, Syrian-born graduate student in music, will give a lecture, “Music in a Political Turmoil: Musicians’ Reactions to the Syria Uprising 2011-2012,” a presentation open to all graduate students in music, political science, history, anthropology and the NIU and DeKalb community in general in Music Building 202 at 11 a.m. Thursday, April 11. From 4 to 6 p.m. Friday, April 12 in the Music Building, room 171, Rafea will give a music workshop, “Speaking in Tongues or Improvisation without Borders?”and to interact, in a contemporary musical collaboration, with all kinds of instrumentalists. All the events featured in Essam Rafea’s residency are sponsored by the NIU Graduate Colloquium.  


Guest artist Pak Ngurah Kertayuda, a well-known Balinese dancer and musician, will present a workshop on KeCak (the Monkey Chant), a musical drama with chorus, based on the Hindu epic Ramayana on April 9 from 5 to

7 p.m. in the Music Building, Room 102. This workshop is open to all are interested in the music and cultures of Southeast Asia, especially those of Bali. 


Glynnis White, a 2012 Undergraduate Special Opportunities in Artistry and Research (USOAR) recipient and a NIU music education major, will share her fieldwork research about Irish music in a workshop from 3 to 4 p.m. April 12

in Music Building Room 171. Special attention will be given to the pedagogical aspects of Irish music tradition, and a live music performance will be featured. 


The annual World Music Concert will conclude this year’s World Music Festival at 3 p.m. Sunday, April 14, in Boutell Memorial Concert Hall. It will highlight several world music performances including Balinese gamelan and dance, Chinese silk and bamboo music, Middle Eastern music, Indian sarod solo, Irish music, and Afro pop. In addition, some

musicians in this concert will be featured in an improvisation project, “Musical Encounter,” in which various musical idioms of different cultures will be presented spontaneously as the musicians interact with each other through musicking, a unique experience reminiscent of the musical encounters musicians had thousands years ago on the Silk Road. This concert will be another wonderful opportunity to showcase the very diverse music curriculum at NIU, a celebrated tradition since the 1970s.


All events are free and open to the public. Children of all ages are welcome to the concerts. The Music Building is located at 400 Lucinda Ave. on the campus of Northern Illinois University and is accessible to all.


For more information, contact Jui-Ching Wang at or 815-753-7979.

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