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As we turn the calendar to 2018, it gives me great pleasure to offer a preview of some wonderful concerts and festivals that are around the corner — as well as some reflections from the first half of our successful music season.

This past fall, the School of Music conducted new installments of established traditions and celebrated several first-ever festival events. Appearing at the fourth annual SIU Guitar Festival were jazz legends Moacyr Teixeira Neto and Zvonimir Tot, both of whom collaborated inspiringly with SIUC jazz faculty, including guitar professor and festival founder, Dr. Isaac Lausell.

Inside the Bachs welcomed Dutch harpsichord virtuoso Ursula Duetschler, who performed multiple concerts of 18th Century repertoire, including solo programs and several intriguing collaborations with SIUC musicians (among whom were first-time student performers).

The Piano Festival was new and featured more than a dozen concerts and master classes, presented by guest artists from New York and St. Louis, plus our very own faculty Dr. Junghwa Lee and Dr. Yuko Kato. 

The pace of music making will continue to accelerate as next month, Feb. 22-25, as the School of Music and Department of Theater will present "The Boys of Syracuse." The upcoming production of the 1938 classic musical is to be the first of a work by Rodgers and Hart in SIU history. Featuring performers, designers and directors from both departments, this very special production is a great example of a novel collaboration across the arts at SIUC.

In the world of new music, SIUC’s Outside the Box festival continues to establish itself as a pillar of innovation and creativity. This year’s festival, scheduled March 26 through April 1, brings to campus two composers of world renown — Greg Glancey, assistant chair of composition at Berklee College, and August Read Thomas, university professor at the University of Chicago. Festival performances will range from small group to large ensemble, and will feature musicians from SIUC collaborating with guest artists from around the world.

Despite the recent freezing weather, summer will be here before we know it. The Southern Illinois Music Festival has planned an ambitious season, including more than 100 events open to the public in Carbondale and surrounding communities. This year’s season, nicknamed “Twos By Tews,” will be built on programming selections based on pairs, including several double concertos for two instruments. The Festival will feature the premiere of a new double concerto by former SIU School of Music faculty, Jacob Tews. The solo parts will be performed by SIU School of Music faculty and guest artists from the New Chicago Chamber Orchestra, who will be in residence throughout the festival, May 25 through June 10.

New this year will be the first-ever Young Artist Program for aspiring opera performers. Apprentice vocalists will work side-by-side with SIUC music faculty and Southern Illinois Music Festival opera guest artists and production professionals. Young artist participants will study the primary elements of opera and will perform integrally in mainstage Festival productions, including Magic Flute by Mozart and Messa di Gloria by Rossini.

Complete concert and event details are available at

Overall, it's an exciting array of programs. We look forward to seeing you on campus.

Meera Komarraju is dean of the College of Liberal Arts at SIU.


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