Millikin University - Decatur, IL
Press Releases

Millikin University's Percussion Ensemble will present its annual Synergy Concert on Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015 at 4 p.m. in Kirkland Fine Arts Center.

Synergy showcases the distinctiveness of Millikin's ubiquitous, interdisciplinary alliances through a collaborative concert featuring performances by students and faculty across the College of Fine Arts.

This year's program will begin with two classic percussion works featuring prominent theatrical elements in John Cage's "Living Room Music" and Mauricio Kagel's "Dressur." Following an intermission, theatre students will present two Shakespeare monologues with ensemble accompaniment.

Brian Justison, Millikin professor of music and coordinator of percussion studies, has composed music to accompany the "Two Gentlemen of Verona" monologue exploring the prosody of Shakespeare's prose in a way that looks beyond the traditional role of incidental music. Alex Miller, Millikin associate professor of theatre and dance, will perform a choreographed "fight scene" with musical accompaniment.

The program will conclude with Michael Hennagin's "Phantom Dances" for large percussion ensemble (14 players). This work, cast in the form of a palindrome, explores the nature of perception through the inclusion of "phantom gestures."

Tickets for Synergy are $8 and may be purchased through the Kirkland Fine Arts Center Ticket Office, by phone at 217.424.6318 or online at kirklandfinearts.com. A $2.50 fee will be charged for credit card purchases, this is a per transaction free, not per ticket, and applies to online and Ticket Office orders. Kirkland Ticket Office hours are Monday – Friday from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

This event is free for Millikin University students and College of Fine Arts faculty with a Millikin University ID.

Millikin's School of Music is committed to developing complete musicians artistically, technically and intellectually by emphasizing the integration of theory and practice with other disciplines across the University. For more information on Millikin's School of Music, visit millikin.edu/music.

For more information on Kirkland Fine Arts Center, please visit kirklandfinearts.com. Events at Kirkland Fine Arts Center are partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency, and the Midwest Arts Council.

Millikin University's Symphonic Wind Ensemble will present a concert of traditional and contemporary music on Sunday, March 1, 2015, at 4 p.m. in Kirkland Fine Arts Center.

The program will feature Millikin Faculty Pianist and Coordinator of Keyboard Studies Silvan Negruţiu, who will perform the "Concerto for Piano and Wind Ensemble" by University of Iowa composer, Zack Stanton. The concert is free and open to the public.

Composer Zack Stanton will be in residence at Millikin University from Feb. 27 – March 1 to work with the Millikin Wind Ensemble and Percussion Ensemble. Stanton will present a class on the "compositional process" on Saturday, Feb. 28, at 1 p.m. in Room 110 of Perkinson Music Center on Millikin's campus. Stanton has also been commissioned to write a work by Brian Justison, Millikin professor of music and coordinator of percussion studies, and the Millikin University Percussion Ensemble.

Internationally acclaimed pianist Silvan Negruţiu has performed concerts around the world, from the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. to Ireland's National Concert Hall, the Romanian Athenaeum in Bucharest, and the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts. He's appeared as a soloist with prestigious orchestras including the Romanian Radio Chamber Orchestra, Alicante Philharmonic, George Enescu Philharmonic and Dublin Symphony.

Negruţiu obtained his master's degree with first class honors from the Royal Irish Academy of Music and Dublin City University in Ireland, and his graduate diploma from the National University of Music in Bucharest, Romania. In Dublin he studied with pianists John O'Conor and Réamonn Keary, and held the position of piano instructor at the Royal Irish Academy of Music for three years.

Negruţiu completed his Doctor of Musical Arts in Piano Performance at Shenandoah University in Winchester, Va., under the guidance of internationally acclaimed pianist and pedagogue John O'Conor. Negruţiu was also a piano instructor at Shenandoah University from 2010-2013.

Zack Stanton is a composer and conductor from Conway, Ark. He has written for orchestra, wind ensemble, choir, and chamber ensembles of various sizes. Recent commissions include works for clarinetist Sarunas Jankauskas, trumpet player Jared Broussard, horn player Anne Marie Cherry, the Sacramento Youth Symphony Chamber Music Workshop and Line Upon Line Percussion.

Stanton received his Bachelor of Arts in Music from the University of Central Arkansas, where he primarily studied piano. Upon graduating, he was commissioned by the University to compose an overture for the school's centennial celebration. Zack obtained his Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts in Composition at the University of Texas at Austin. Currently, Zack is serving as a visiting assistant professor in theory and composition at the University of Iowa.

The Millikin Symphonic Wind Ensemble is the University's premiere large instrumental ensemble, and includes students who major in music as well as many other academic disciplines at Millikin University. The Symphonic Wind Ensemble is conducted by Dr. Gary Shaw, Millikin professor of music and director of bands.

The Symphonic Wind Ensemble will have its final concert of the year on Sunday, April 19, 2015, at 4 p.m. in Kirkland Fine Arts Center. The concert will feature student winners of the Wind Ensemble Solo Competition.

Millikin's School of Music is committed to developing complete musicians artistically, technically and intellectually by emphasizing the integration of theory and practice with other disciplines across the University. For more information on Millikin's School of Music, visit millikin.edu/music.

For more information on Kirkland Fine Arts Center, please visit kirklandfinearts.com. Events at Kirkland Fine Arts Center are partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency, and the Midwest Arts Council.

The Millikin-Decatur Symphony Orchestra (MDSO) will present its annual Young Artists Concert, featuring three Millikin University student soloists, on Saturday, Jan. 31, at 7:30 p.m. in Kirkland Fine Arts Center.

The performance will showcase winners from the Millikin School of Music Concerto/Aria Competition. This year's honorees are Brock Gwaltney (piano), a junior piano performance and commercial music major from Jacksonville, Ill.; Phillip Lopez (bass-baritone), a junior vocal performance major from Avon, Ill.; and Christopher Raymond (bassoon), a senior instrumental music performance major from Bourbonnais, Ill.

The Young Artists Concert will open with Beethoven's Symphony No. 7 in A Major, a symphony in four movements composed between 1811 and 1812. Following an intermission, the MDSO will perform the first movement of Shostakovich's Piano Concerto No. 2, featuring Brock Gwaltney on piano, followed by performances of Handel's "O ruddier than the cherry," Strauss' "Morgen!" and Mozart's "Non piu andrai," featuring Phillip Lopez.

The concert will finish with performances of excerpts from John Williams' "The Five Sacred Trees," featuring Christopher Raymond on bassoon, and George Enescu's "Romanian Rhapsody."

Dr. Michael Luxner, MDSO music director and conductor, will host the concert preview on Jan. 31 at 6:45 p.m. in Kirkland Lecture Room 128 prior to the Young Artists Concert. The event is free to concert attendees.

ABOUT THE YOUNG ARTISTS

Brock Gwaltney began playing piano at the age of nine in his hometown of Jacksonville, Ill. He is a recent recipient of the Alice Herren Ayars Award, offered by Millikin to outstanding piano students. Gwaltney is a winner of the MDSO Concerto/Aria competition, and a Second Prize winner of the ISMTA Collegiate Piano Competition. In 2012, he was a member of the Jazz Honors Band at the IMEA All-State Convention.

Gwaltney's primary focus is classical music, but he also enjoys jazz and improvisation. The MDSO concert on Jan. 31 marks his debut as a concerto soloist.

Since entering Millikin University, Phillip Lopez has been involved with the Millikin Opera Department, performing roles in "Sacred & Secular Cantatas" by J.S. Bach in 2013, and "Gianni Schicchi" by Giacomo Puccini in 2014, as well as other solo recitals and ensemble performances. In February 2015, he will perform the bass role of Polypheme in George Frideric Handel's "Acis and Galatea."

Phillip has also been a member of the Millikin University Choir, enjoying the choir's tour to Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia during the summer of 2014. In the spring of 2014, Phillip was awarded an outstanding sophomore award from Pi Kappa Lambda Music Honors Society. Phillip is also president of Sigma Lambda Beta Fraternity.

Christopher Raymond regularly performs with the MDSO, the Eidolan Woodwind Quintet, and Millikin's Symphonic Wind Ensemble, where he has held the Principal Bassoon chair for the past four years. A two-time winner of the Concerto/Aria competition, Chris performed Weber's "Concerto in F Major" with the MDSO in 2013. He was also a finalist for Millikin's Hollis Prize. Other featured appearances include performances with the Millikin Wind Ensemble and the Kankakee Valley Symphony.

An active orchestral musician around central Illinois, Chris holds the Principal Bassoon position with the Urbana Pops Orchestra, and performs regularly with Sinfonia da Camera in Champaign-Urbana, Ill. Last year, he traveled with the South Shore Orchestra of Indiana on a tour of China.

Tickets are $13-$16.50 and are available through the Kirkland Fine Arts Center Ticket Office, by phone at 217.424.6318 or online at kirklandfinearts.com. Ticket Office hours are Monday – Friday from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. A $2.50 fee will be charged for credit card purchases. This is a per transaction fee, not per ticket, and applies to online and Ticket Office orders.

Concerts of the Millikin-Decatur Symphony Orchestra are partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency, and the Symphony Guild of Decatur.
Millikin University's Department of Theatre and Dance welcomes Tony and Grammy Award-nominated composer Andrew Lippa as this year's guest artist for Millikin's New Musicals Workshop Jan. 16-18, 2015.

Millikin's New Musicals Workshop offers students and faculty Performance Learning opportunities to collaborate with professional writers as they develop new musicals intended for commercial production. The collaboration provides Millikin students with a valuable first-hand look into the process of developing and rehearsing a new musical from the ground up, while providing the writers with a laboratory environment where they may access Millikin's student talent pool, facilities and departmental resources.

Throughout the workshop, Lippa will work with students on a variety of his own musical compositions. The workshop will culminate with a Cabaret Performance and an audience Q&A on Sunday, Jan. 18, 2015. The performance will be held at 7 p.m. in Kaeuper Hall, Perkinson Music Center, on Millikin's campus.

Andrew Lippa originated the role of Harvey Milk in June 2013 for the piece's world premiere with the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus and Tony winner Laura Benanti. He will reprise the role this July at Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles with over 500 men from choruses around the country. He wrote the Drama Desk Award-nominated music and lyrics for the musical "Big Fish" which recently played Broadway's Neil Simon Theatre. "Life of the Party," an evening celebrating his words and music, premieres at London's award-winning Menier Chocolate Factory this summer, with Lippa leading the cast.

Lippa wrote the Tony Award-nominated music and lyrics for the Broadway musical "The Addams Family." "The Addams Family" has appeared on tour in the U.S. and is an international success with productions in Sao Paulo, Lima, Sweden, Tokyo, Sydney, Buenos Aires and soon to be in Mexico City, Seoul, Germany, the UK and many more. He also wrote the music for the Broadway production of Aaron Sorkin's play "The Farnsworth Invention." Other musicals include the Drama Desk Award-winning musical "The Wild Party" (book/music/lyrics), "A Little Princess" (music), "john & jen" (music/book), "Asphalt Beach" (music/lyrics) and "You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown" (additional music/lyrics and new arrangements). He is currently working on a musical adaptation of Jules Feiffer's book "The Man In The Ceiling," in which he will also perform.

His songs have been recorded by such esteemed artists as Kristin Chenoweth, Idina Menzel, Nathan Lane, Norbert Leo Butz, Julia Murney and Peter Cincotti. Lippa served as music director and conductor for Kristin Chenoweth's sold-out shows at the Metropolitan Opera House, Carnegie Hall (2004) and the Donmar Warehouse in London as well as with the San Francisco, Chicago, and St. Louis Symphony Orchestras.

Lippa's accolades include Tony and Grammy Award nominations, the Gilman/Gonzalez-Falla Theater Foundation Award, ASCAP's Richard Rodgers/New Horizons Award, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards. Andrew Lippa serves on the council of The Dramatists Guild and is a graduate of the University of Michigan.

For more information on Andrew Lippa, visit andrewlippa.com.

"The New Musicals Workshop personifies Performance Learning by offering students the unique opportunity to develop professional relationships while collaborating in the artistic process of creating a new work," said Sean Morrissey, Millikin interim chair of the Department of Theatre and Dance. "It is a professional collaboration with, in some cases, award-winning artists which produces quantifiable professional outcomes. Andrew Lippa ranks among the best of the best in musical theatre writing and we are thrilled he has accepted Millikin's invitation to be this year's visiting artist."

Andrew Lippa's appearance is made possible by a Millikin University Performance Learning Enhancement Grant (PLEG). Performance Learning Enhancement Grants were initiated by Millikin University during the 2012-2013 academic year as a means of supporting new initiatives to identify and enhance Performance Learning within academic programs.

Millikin boasts one of the oldest and most respected undergraduate theatre programs in the country. Nationwide, Millikin's respected alumni are routinely hired for projects in television, film and live theatre, including top Broadway shows. For more information on Millikin's Department of Theatre and Dance and the New Musicals Workshop, visit millikin.edu/theatre.

Millikin University will present the 56th annual Vespers at Millikin on Saturday, Dec. 6 at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m., and Sunday, Dec. 7, 2014, at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Performances will be held at Kirkland Fine Arts Center on the campus of Millikin University.

For more than 50 years, Vespers (which means "evening prayer") has signaled the beginning of the holiday season with a sumptuous evening of carols, choirs and candlelight. Over 300 musicians join together for this joyous musical feast presented annually on the Millikin campus. Songs from past centuries combined with familiar carols and arrangements create an evening of seasonal warmth for the whole family. Vespers is one of Millikin's most popular events, and has become a beloved tradition on campus and within the Decatur community.

The theme for this year's Vespers is "Star of Wonder."

"Each year, Vespers provides a wonderful opening for the holiday season," said Dr. Brad Holmes, Millikin professor of music and artistic director for Vespers. "Audiences will experience grandeur, wonder and joy in the 75-minute program."
 
Click here to read the Herald & Review's preview story on this year's Vespers performance.

Tickets may be purchased at the Kirkland Fine Arts Center Ticket Office, by phone at 217.424.6318 or online at kirklandfinearts.com. Kirkland Ticket Office hours are Monday – Friday from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Tickets are $12 for adults and $8 for seniors and children. A $2.50 fee will be charged for credit card purchases. This is a per transaction fee, not per ticket, and applies to online and Ticket Office orders.

Events at Kirkland Fine Arts Center are partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency, and the Midwest Arts Council.

Millikin University's Department of Theatre and Dance will present "Peter Pan" by Carolyn Leigh and Mark Charlap on Friday, Nov. 14 through Saturday, Nov. 15 at 7:30 p.m., and on Sunday, Nov. 16 at 2 p.m. in Kirkland Fine Arts Center on Millikin's campus.

Fly with Peter, Wendy, John, and Michael on a magical journey to Neverland where imagination soars and adventures inspire.

Pirates, Lost Boys, and Fairies make wonderful friends and fearsome foes in J.M. Berrie's timeless tale of the boy who never grew up. With songs like, "I Gotta Crow," "I'm Flying," and "I Won't Grow Up," this musical is sure to please the young and the young at heart. 


Tickets are $14-$20 and may be purchased at the Kirkland Fine Arts Center Ticket Office, by phone at 217.424.6318 or online at kirklandfinearts.com. The Kirkland Fine Arts Center Ticket Office is open Monday – Friday from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. and three hours prior to every Kirkland performance, and one hour prior to Albert Taylor Theatre performances. A $2.50 fee will be charged for credit card purchases. This is a per transaction fee, not per ticket, and applies to online and Ticket Office orders.

Millikin boasts one of the oldest and most respected undergraduate theatre programs in the country. Nationwide, Millikin's respected alumni are routinely hired for projects in television, film and live theatre, including top Broadway shows.

For more information on Millikin University's Theatre and Dance 2014-2015 production season, visit millikin.edu/theatre.
The Children's Museum of Illinois, WAND-TV and Pepsi proudly sponsor the annual Halloween Concerts performed by Millikin University's Percussion Ensemble. Millikin's Percussion Ensemble will present three special concerts in celebration of Halloween on Friday, Oct. 24 at 7:30 p.m. and on Saturday, Oct. 25, 2014 at 4 p.m. and 6 p.m.

This all-ages, family-friendly event of the season will take place in the infamously haunted Albert Taylor Theatre inside Shilling Hall on the campus of Millikin University. Guests are invited to join the ensemble in costume; best costume prizes will be awarded.

This event serves as a fundraiser for Millikin students to attend the Percussive Arts Society International Convention in Indianapolis, Ind. For more information on Millikin's Percussion Ensemble, visit millikin.edu/percussion.

Tickets for the event are $8 (free for Millikin students with a student ID) and may be purchased at the Kirkland Fine Arts Center Ticket Office, by phone at 217.424.6318 or online at kirklandfinearts.com. Ticket Office hours are Monday – Friday from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. A $2.50 fee will be charged for credit card purchases. This is a per transaction fee, not per ticket, and applies to online and Ticket Office orders.

Millikin's School of Music is committed to developing complete musicians artistically, technically and intellectually by emphasizing the integration of theory and practice with other disciplines across the University. For more information on Millikin's School of Music, visit millikin.edu/music.

Click here to read the Herald & Review's story on the annual Percussion Ensemble Halloween Concerts.
The Millikin-Decatur Symphony Orchestra (MDSO) will perform in concert with special guest pianist Silvan Negruţiu, Millikin assistant professor of piano and coordinator of keyboard studies, on Saturday, Oct. 25, 2014, at 7:30 p.m. in Kirkland Fine Arts Center.

The MDSO will open the concert with a performance of Mozart's "Overture to Don Giovanni," followed by Beethoven's "Emperor Piano Concerto" featuring Silvan Negruţiu. Following a brief intermission, the MDSO will conclude the concert with a performance of Dvořák's "From the New World" Symphony.

“Our October concert features two of the great pillars of the symphonic canon, Beethoven's 'Emperor' Concerto and Dvořák's 'New World' Symphony," said Dr. Michael Luxner, music director and conductor of the Millikin-Decatur Symphony Orchestra. "These towering works, as beloved as they are admired, epitomize what generations of listeners have come to hear in their minds when they imagine what great orchestral music can be."

Luxner added, "In the Beethoven, we'll be joined by Millikin's newest artist-faculty performer, Silvan Negruţiu, who in one short year has made an overwhelming impression and a real difference in the musical life of Decatur. Silvan is the real deal, a pianist of commanding presence and technique along with exquisite aesthetic sense."

Internationally acclaimed pianist Silvan Negruţiu has performed concerts around the world, from the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., to Ireland's National Concert Hall, the Romanian Athenaeum in Bucharest, and the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts. He's appeared as a soloist with prestigious orchestras including the Romanian Radio Chamber Orchestra, Alicante Philharmonic, George Enescu Philharmonic and the Dublin Symphony.

Negruţiu obtained his master's degree with first class honors from the Royal Irish Academy of Music and Dublin City University in Ireland, and his graduate diploma from the National University of Music in Bucharest, Romania. In Dublin, he studied with pianists John O'Conor and Réamonn Keary, and held the position of piano instructor at the Royal Irish Academy of Music for three years.

Negruţiu completed his Doctor of Musical Arts in Piano Performance at Shenandoah University in Winchester, Va., under the guidance of internationally acclaimed pianist and pedagogue John O'Conor. Negruţiu was also a piano instructor at Shenandoah University from 2010-2013.

The concert will be preceded by a Concert Preview, hosted by Millikin Professor Mark Samples, from 6:45 p.m. to 7:10 p.m. in the Kirkland lecture room. The preview is free to concert ticket holders.

Tickets are $13-$16.50 and are available through the Kirkland Fine Arts Center Ticket Office by phone at 217.424.6318 or online at kirklandfinearts.com. Kirkland Ticket Office hours are Monday – Friday from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. A $2.50 fee will be charged for credit card purchases. This is a per transaction fee, not per ticket, and applies to online and Ticket Office orders.

Concerts of the Millikin-Decatur Symphony Orchestra are partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency, and the Symphony Orchestra Guild of Decatur.

Millikin University's Department of Theatre and Dance will present "The Whipping Man" by Matthew Lopez starting Wednesday, Oct. 8 through Friday, Oct. 10 at 7:30 p.m., and Saturday, Oct. 11 through Sunday, Oct. 12 at 2 p.m. in Millikin's Albert Taylor Theatre in Shilling Hall on Millikin University's campus.

It is Passover, 1865. The Civil War has just ended and Confederate officer Caleb DeLeon returns to Virginia to find his home destroyed, his family missing, and only two former slaves remaining.

Badly wounded, Caleb must depend on the two men, Simon and John, to save his life. The three men wrestle with their shared past, their uncertain futures, and the bitter irony of Jewish slave-owning, and as the sun sets on the last night of Passover, bitter secrets and painful truths burst to the surface in this haunting and powerful play.

Following the performance on Thursday, Oct. 9, Millikin's Office of Inclusion and Student Engagement will host a post-show discussion with the cast and creative staff to examine topics presented in the play.

Tickets are $12-$14 and may be purchased at the Kirkland Fine Arts Center Ticket Office, by phone at 217.424.6318 or online at kirklandfinearts.com. The Kirkland Fine Arts Center Ticket Office is open Monday – Friday from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. and three hours prior to every Kirkland performance, and one hour prior to Albert Taylor Theatre performances. A $2.50 fee will be charged for credit card purchases. This is a per transaction fee, not per ticket, and applies to online and Ticket Office orders.

Millikin boasts one of the oldest and most respected undergraduate theatre programs in the country. Nationwide, Millikin's respected alumni are routinely hired for projects in television, film and live theatre, including top Broadway shows.

For more information on Millikin University's Theatre and Dance 2014-2015 production season, visit millikin.edu/theatre.

Millikin University's School of Music is pleased to present its first annual Faculty Recital Series featuring performances throughout the 2014-2015 academic year. The recital series will highlight the artistry and diverse types of music the School of Music Faculty have to offer to the Millikin and surrounding communities.

"Last year, we wanted to create a series that not only spotlights the School of Music, but spotlights the talented faculty," said Dr. Mark Samples, Millikin assistant professor of music and director of the Faculty Recital Series. "Our goal with the series is to raise the profile of the performance faculty in the School of Music, and showcase their musical talents to the local community. We've all heard about Millikin's music faculty, now let's listen."

The recital series will consist of four concerts during the academic year with two performances during the fall and spring semesters. Performances will be held on Sundays at 4 p.m. in Kaeuper Hall, Perkinson Music Center, on Millikin's campus. All concerts are free and open to the public.

"This is a great opportunity for the community to see talented musicians on an exciting platform," said Dr. Samples. "The faculty members do a great job working with undergraduates each year and now it's their opportunity to perform in concert."

The 2014-2015 Faculty Recital Series is as follows:

Sept. 28, 2014

Featured performers: Amy Catron, cello, and Silvan Negrutiu, piano

Chamber music for cello and piano, including Cassado, Schubert, and Shostakovich.

Nov. 2, 2014

Featured performer: Perry Rask, saxophones

A celebration of saxophone music for the 200th anniversary of the birth of Adolphe Sax, inventor of the saxophone.

Feb. 15, 2015

Featured performer: William Gorton, voice

William Gorton will perform masterful songs about human and divine love, and how they plumb the depths of our experience, and express the joys and sorrows common to us all. Composers include Schubert, Duparc, Rachmaninoff, and Gorton.

March 22, 2015

Featured performer: Jeremy Brunk, percussion

A recital of original compositions for solo percussion.

Millikin's School of Music is committed to developing complete musicians artistically, technically and intellectually by emphasizing the integration of theory and practice with other disciplines across the University. For more information on Millikin's School of Music, visit millikin.edu/music.
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Millikin University - Decatur, IL
 
Millikin University - Decatur, IL