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Chair of Music
2 East South Street
Galesburg, IL 61401-4999
1. We come together to make great things happen. The Knox Jazz Ensemble tours internationally, records regularly, and hosts the annual Knox-Rootabaga Jazz Festival. Our Cherry Street Combo performs in town every Thursday night. Both groups recently won top awards at the national Elmhurst College Jazz Festival.
2. We work at the frontier. Every year our students and faculty premiere new works, produce new scholarship, and collaborate on inspiring, unexpected new projects. For example, senior Michelle Orr collaborated with fellow student and choreographer Evelyn Langley to create a composition for dance, percussion, strings, and voice, inspired by a Knox-sponsored trip to Ghana. And John Cusimano combined his interests in music and neuroscience to conduct a case study on music intervention in hospice settings.
3. We play out. The Knox College Choir has performed in Carnegie Hall and tours nationally and internationally. The Knox-Galesburg Symphony is a three-time winner of the Illinois Orchestra of the Year award; it performs six concerts every year in Galesburg's historic (and lovingly renovated) Orpheum Theater, three blocks from campus.
4. We play different. The Knox New Music Ensemble re-constitutes itself every term. It's open to anyone, so the roster of instruments is radically variable. The director (an award-winning composer) writes or commissions work specifically for the make-up of the ensemble, which they perform at the end of the term.
5. We invite the world in. The department hosts world-class artists, year-round--from Tuvan throat singers to Taiko drumming groups, from members of the renowned vocal quartet Anonymous 4, to Concertmaster of the Bolshoi Theater Ballet, Symphony and Chamber Orchestras Mikhail Tsinman, to Finnish composer Jaakko Mäntyjärvi. Our Jerome Mirza Jazz Residency brings renowned performers to campus, where they teach master classes and individual tutorials, participate in intensive workshops, present to the Knox community and produce a concert with the Knox student jazz musicians.
6. We create the future. This is a music program for tomorrow's musicians -- the performers and composers, the scholars, the teachers, the innovators.
Our music department is found in the Eleanor Abbott Ford Center for the Fine Arts, which features the acoustically superb, 325-seat Kresge Recital Hall, a MIDI/digital music lab, Jay Rehearsal Hall, and 16 practice rooms (each with a Kawai piano) available to students seven days a week.
Our courses include music history, theory, and music education, with topical classes such as Music of the African Diaspora, Jazz History, Ethnomusicology, and Songwriting. Our upper-level courses cover a broad range of musical genres and periods, often organized as seminars. Many of our courses draw on both Western and global traditions. Read more about the music major and minor.
Our students also pursue experiences outside of the classroom, including independent study in theory, history, composition, performance practice, and musicology. Read more about our student's experiences and opportunities.
Our faculty provide private music lessons to students in the areas of: classical piano, strings and voice; all jazz instruments; jazz voice, improvisation, and composition/arranging; and all concert instruments. Read more about private music lessons (PDF).
We offer many informal performances -- from concerts arranged by the campus radio station to impromptu jam sessions and the annual Calypso Chaos celebrating the end of winter term -- as well as programs, listed with the curriculum, that are directed by faculty and carry academic credit.
Performance opportunities include:
Performers and composers of national and international acclaim are regular guests of the Knox-Galesburg Symphony, the Knox-Rootabaga Jazz Festival, the Jerome Mirza Jazz Residency, and the department itself.
Recent guests have included Mikhail Petukhov, resident piano soloist of the Moscow Philharmonic; jazz musicians Aaron Diehl, Ben Allison, and CALJE (Chicago Afro-Latin Jazz Ensemble); the Grammy-award winning a cappella group Chanticleer; and renowned Finnish translator and composer Jaakko Mäntyjärvi.