Skip to main content
Knox Together: COVID-19 Plans & Policies Visitor Policy Give Now
Gizmo Patio from the roof

Nikki Malley


Nicole Malley

Chair & Associate Professor of Music

2 East South Street

Galesburg, IL 61401-4999


Apply to Knox Now
Ford Center for the Fine Arts

Chair & Associate Professor of Music

Nikki Malley

General Interests

"As a performer, I continue to experiment with new approaches to jazz improvisation. As a musicologist I continue to focus my research on the relationships between jazz and the political and social climates surrounding different periods in jazz history. As a director, I emphasize a broad knowledge of both classic jazz repertoire and new innovations in jazz composition."

Years at Knox: 2003 to present


Ph.D., Music, 2012, University of Iowa.
M.A., Musicology, 2002, Washington University-St. Louis.
B.A., Music, 1998, Knox College.

Teaching interests

Jazz and improvisation, music of the African Diaspora, 20th century musics, post-tonal theory.

Selected Professional Accomplishments

Honors & Grants

  • Knox Faculty Research / Creative Work Grant: Creative Music Studio Fall 2016 Workshop, 2016-2017.
  • Knox Mellon Faculty Career Enhancement Grant - Collaborative Research Grant: Auctions, with Rob Smith, 2014.

"A Sale You Can Dance To: Entrainment, Flexibility, and Improvisation in the Metric Practice of the American Auctioneer." Journal of the Society for American Music 7.3 (August, 2013).

"The Sound That Sells: Participatory Music and Improvisation in American Auctioneering" Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association National Conference, Washington D.C., March, 2013.

"Cool Jazz: Reaction to or Development of Be-Bop Style?" University of Iowa Graduate School of Music Pedagogy Workshop, Iowa City, Iowa, 2007.

Performances with The Rootabaga Jazz in the Schools tour, Knox Faculty and Friends Combo, and the Knox Jazz Ensemble. April 12-16, 2016.

"Chant Down Babylon" (poem by Robert Smith), recorded performance by Nikki Malley (under alias Ricki Smalley). Published online and on CD by Solstice Sounds Magazine (Ireland). Winter 2016.

Creative Music Studio Workshop, NY. September 19-24, 2016.

Spoken word performance: "Con(auction)," collaborative poetry and performance project with Prof. Rob Smith.

Producer / director: Knox Cherry Street Combo CD, "A Dedication" - released April, 2014.

Vibraphone performance: approximately 15 performances over the course of 2010, as both group
leader and as band member with numerous central Illinois professional jazz artists.

Featured soloist, WCBU radio, "Jazz From the Hilltop," 2010.

Featured soloist, Bradley University Music Scholarship Concert Series, "Classics to Jazz," with Dr. Edward Kaizer, 2010.

Vibraphone performance: approximately 25 performances over the course of 2009, as both group
leader and as band member with numerous central Illinois professional jazz artists.

Percussionist, Knox Galesburg Symphony and Galesburg Community Chorus (featured timpani soloist
December, 2009.)

Director, Knox-Rootabaga Jazz Festival. Galesburg, Illinois.

Director, Bix Beiderbecke Youth Jazz Band, Bix Beiderbecke Jazz Festival. Davenport, Iowa.

Campus & Community Involvement

  • Member, Knox-Galesburg Symphony, percussion; Galesburg.
  • Member, Knox Cherry St. Combo, (jazz combo), Galesburg.
  • Member, The U. City Social Club (jazz trio), St. Louis, Missouri.
  • Member, The Defenestration Quartet, (jazz quartet), Galesburg.

What Students Say

"What makes Nikki Malley great is her enthusiasm both in and out of the classroom. She wants her students to grow emotionally, mentally, and professionally and her encouragement and wisdom in all things musical helps push students to the next level. As someone who got her PhD in thinking outside the box, she works very personally with her students to do the same. After years of work with Nikki on the bandstand and in the classroom, she starts to feel closer to a friend."  --Jake Hawrylak, Music Major

"Nikki Malley makes everything she teaches, whether in a class or in the Knox Jazz Ensemble, come to life through her down-to-earth teaching style. Her excitement about bringing music to everyone she encounters is contagious. Nikki drives every one of her students to always give 110%, and she gives so much support to them every step of the way toward improvement. It is evident just how much Nikki Malley cares about each of her students simply by being available whenever students need her along with her one-on-one attention to each and every student's progress." --Kailee Gawlik, Music and German Major

Old Main
Apply for Admission Request More Info Visit Knox
Knox College

Printed on Wednesday, December 8, 2021