Music at NJIT

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Music is in the air at NJIT. We are beginning the third year of a Music Initiative in which three musical ensembles have been created, a String Ensemble, a Wind Ensemble, and a Jazz Ensemble involving close to 100 students and several faculty and staff. The musical connection began with a group of student jazz musicians led by Matt Lavine who just graduated and Eric Holzer (ME, 2016) who formed a music club called the Society of Musical Arts or SOMA. This program was deepened when Jay Kappraff , a faculty member in the Math Department, got a grant from the Bergen Foundation to bring classical music to NJIT. A survey was circulated through the academic community which netted more than 800 positive responses expressing interest in music on campus.

At this point we had the good fortune to be being able to hire three extraordinary conductors for the three ensembles. Karen Pinoci, conductor of the String Ensemble, has a doctorate in music education and extensive conducting experience with the Vermont Symphony, Springfield Symphony, the Bronx Symphony, Summit Symphony among others. She co-founded the New Philharmonic of New Jersey and presently is the Music Director of the Sussex Symphony and the Essex County Summer Orchestra. Nicholas Santoro, conductor of the Wind Ensemble, was the Supervisor of Fine Arts K-12 for the Maplewood-South Orange school district. He also played a major role in the development of the music program at Newark Arts High. He has received numerous awards for his work as a music educator in New Jersey. As part of his extensive conducting experience he is Music Director and Conductor of the Rutgers Alumni Wind Symphony. Dave Rimelis, conductor of the Jazz Ensemble, is a jazz musician and composer playing in many jazz clubs and concert halls as a jazz violinist, fiddler, composer and story teller. His compositions have been performed by the Boston Pops, the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra and many other orchestras throughout the world.

At the end of each semester of its existence, all three groups have engaged in a concert performance. Since Feb. 2014 the conductors have been designated as Adjunct Professors and student musicians can earn up to three credits over the course of their studies at NJIT, and the Music Initiative has found a home in the Department of Theater Arts and Technology directed by Prof. Michele Rittenhouse. If you are playing with one of the ensembles you are eligible for one academic credit by registering for THTR 220, Instrumental Ensemble Performance I. Also starting this semester, interested students can come to the music room in Campus Center B49 anytime during the school day to practice their instruments or with instruments available there. However the instruments cannot be removed from the room. In some cases we will be able to supply instruments to students who would like to play with the NJIT ensembles but don’t have their own instruments. Small student groups of trios and quartets are being organized in addition to jazz combos to play at school events. Finally this fall for the first time, the Ensembles will have a joint concert with the Rutgers Chorus on Dec. 14 in the Campus Center Atrium. The Jazz Ensemble will follow on Dec. 15 in the lobby of the Campus Center.

And so the message is that if you play an instrument and would like to add a musical experience to your busy academic week, contact or kappraff@njit . The Big Band rehearses Tues from 7-9 in B35 of the Campus Center. The Wind Ensemble meets Wed. from 4:15 – 6:15 in B35, and the String ensemble meets Thur. from 4:15 – 6:15 oin B35. Help NJIT to build its reputation as a music friendly university by joining us and by attending our concerts.

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