About Us

Welcome from the Acting Director

Our Mission Statement

Welcome to the Northern Illinois University School of Music! We hope that you will visit our site frequently, and we invite you to visit us in person, especially to attend one of our over 200 performances each year.

The School of Music's 60 nationally and internationally recognized faculty are dedicated to supporting students realizing their full potential as music artists and scholars, and our location one hour west of Chicago affords our students unparalleled additional cultural resources.

NIU offers the B.M. degree with a variety of areas of study (performance, including jazz and steelpan; music education; and composition) and a B.A. degree. At the graduate level, we have the M.M. degree with a full complement of majors as well as the Performer's Certificate. We also have individualized degree programs for graduate students who wish to pursue nontraditional courses of study. 

The beautiful, modern music building has its own branch of the university library, as well as classrooms, practice rooms (many with Steinway grand pianos), spacious instrumental and choral rehearsal rooms, Recital Hall, Boutell Memorial Concert Hall, additional ensemble rehearsal rooms, Music Computer Lab, keyboard lab, smart classrooms, electronic & computer studios, recording studios, and faculty offices & studios. The Community School of the Arts is also housed in the Music Building, bringing together students, faculty, families, and audience members from the surrounding community.

NIU students participate in a diverse array of award-winning instrumental and vocal ensembles, and many also take part in a number of world music performance activities. The school's ensembles include choirs, orchestra, concert and marching bands, large and small jazz ensembles, steelbands, early music ensemble, percussion ensemble, new music ensemble, Javanese and Balinese gamelans, tabla, Chinese, Middle Eastern and Afro-Caribbean ensembles, various chamber music ensembles, and others. Each spring we stage a full opera in Boutell Memorial Concert Hall, and every year we host a world music festival and a new music festival. Throughout the year we invite guest artists from the United States and beyond to perform and work with our students.

The faculty and students of the School of Music teach and perform for global audiences during their real and virtual travels. Most recently, students have performed by invitation in Canada, Mexico, Peru, Colombia, Trinidad, and England, and weekly they share their live performances via high definition webcasts with all fifty states and more than three dozen countries on five continents. Acclaimed artist faculty such as the Avalon String Quartet and extraordinary guest artists are a fundamental component of the student experience both in person and via the school's national Internet2 leadership activities in the musical arts.

Many of our faculty are engaged in research in a variety of fields -- music education (vocal health, world music pedagogy), music history (French music, Baroque music of Spain), music theory (theory pedagogy), world music, and recording -- and are active, published composers and arrangers. Our graduates in music education teach throughout the region and have won national recognition in teaching. Graduates in performance and other fields have earned local, regional, and national notice as well, from Fulbright awards and published compositions to recordings and performances with notable names in their fields.

Our website provides a significant amount of information and links to university resources, so please continue to explore and discover more about the NIU School of Music.  If you can't make it to our concerts in person, we invite you to watch our live webcasts of our performances here on our website. We look forward to welcoming you!


Janet Hathaway, Ph.D.
Acting Director