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Hans Thomalla, director

Ben Bolter, associate director

Michael Ludwig Nemmers Prize in Music Composition

Northwestern University Music Library

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.