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Michael Ludwig Nemmers Prize in Music Composition

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Institute for New Music

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Northwestern University New Music Conference (NUNC! 3)


The Institute for New Music functions as the nerve center of all contemporary music activities at the Bienen School. It presents numerous events over the course of the academic year – from residencies of visiting ensembles and composers to workshops, lectures, and masterclasses, to the biannual Conference/Festival NUNC! Furthermore, the Institute coordinates the activities of the Contemporary Music Ensemble, and gives a platform to New Music activities for all areas of the school.

2017-2018 Events

Steve ReichSteve Reich

As part of his residency week, Reich will attend rehearsals and classes with students and faculty. On Wednesday night the School's Percussion Ensemble will play a selection of his works, followed by a concert on Thursday night with performances by the Contemporary Music Ensemble and the Bienen Early/Contemporary Music Choir (BCE).

NU Percussion Ensemble - Music of Steve Reich
Wednesday, November 15, 7:30 p.m. 
Pick-Staiger Concert Hall
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CME & BCE - Music of Steve Reich
Thursday, November 16, 7:30 p.m.
Pick-Staiger Concert Hall
Learn More

Dal NienteEnsemble Dal Niente

The acclaimed new music ensemble will return to the Bienen School to work with both music performance and composition students. The residency will conclude with a performance of eight new works by current composition students written for the groups.

Ensemble Dal Niente - New Composition by Bienen School Composers
Tuesday, March 6, 7:30 p.m.
Ryan Opera Theater

The CrossingThe Crossing

Grammy-nominated vocal ensemble The Crossing will share their passion for contemporary choral music in a weeklong residency that includes a seminar with conducting students, open rehearsals, and a collaboration in concert with the Bienen Contemporary/Early Vocal Ensemble,

The Crossing & BCE - Michael Gordon's Anonymous Man
Friday, March 16, 7:30 p.m.
Galvin Recital Hall

Current Voices

Lectures and concerts by some of the leading artists in the field. 

  • Eva Zöllner  – Thursday, October 12, 2017, 5 p.m. RCMA Room L-121
  • Wang Lu  – Thursday, January 18, 2018, 5 p.m. RCMA Room L-121
  • Shawn Jaeger - Thursday March 8, 2018 5 p.m. RCMA Room L-121
  • Michael Gordon – Thursday March 15, 2018 5 p.m. RCMA Room L-121
  • Weston Olenki - Trombone Recital Thursday May 17, 2018, 7:30 p.m. McClintock Recital Hall
  • Conor Hanick - Guest Pianist with CME, Concert Thursday May 24, 2018, 7:30 p.m. Galvin Hall

About the Institute for New Music

A major component of the Bienen School's ten-year strategic plan, the Institute for New Music was established to act as a physical, intellectual and performance hub for 20th- and 21st-century art and popular music at Northwestern University. Seeking to elevate the School's reputation and expand its educational offerings in modern music, the Institute organizes an array of major cultural and educational events, including symposia, festivals, workshops and residencies. Each of these activities provide students with opportunities to interact with and learn from prominent figures in the new music world.

Several critical assets make Northwestern a logical site for a major new music initiative. These include a corps of talented performance students interested in new music; a strong composition program; the biennial Michael Ludwig Nemmers Prize in Music Composition, which regularly brings world-renowned composers to campus; the Northwestern Music Library, which contains an unparalleled and internationally renowned archive of printed music composed since 1945; and proximity to Chicago’s vibrant new music scene. By providing the organizational vision and administrative apparatus required to align these powerful resources, the Institute is becoming a dynamic intellectual and artistic force within and beyond Northwestern.

By equally engaging the Bienen School's academic and creative communities, the Institute's events transcend the division between artists and scholars. Stimulating fresh conversations around modern music and its foundational concepts, the Institute facilitates new and potentially groundbreaking collaborations between these two groups. In serving as a vital connective agent, the Institute not only helps to fulfill the School's mission to provide a comprehensive musical education for artistically and intellectually talented students, but it also catalyzes a unique relationship between creativity and analysis.

Avoiding the conventional distinction between "art" and "popular" music, the Institute explores intersections between two musical genres that are commonly thought to inhabit divergent aesthetic worlds. By expanding the range of music engaged by the Bienen School, the Institute focuses on establishing new collaborative possibilities between the Bienen School and other University units, as well as between the School and broader external communities.