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posted: 8/7/2014 2:50 PM

Former professor, teacher return to NIU for recital on Sunday

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  • Cecelia and Harold Kafer return to Northern Illinois University to perform concert Sunday, Aug. 10.

    Cecelia and Harold Kafer return to Northern Illinois University to perform concert Sunday, Aug. 10.
    Courtesy of NIU

Submitted by Northern Illinois University

The Northern Illinois University School of Music will welcome welcome Harold and Cecelia Kafer back to the DeKalb campus for an afternoon of musical duets and solo pieces at 3 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 10.

The Kafers will perform works by Bach, Joaquin Rodrigo, Schumann, Rossini, Rachmaninoff, Debussy, Mascagni, and Offenbach. The concert is free and open to the public.

Harold Kafer retired from NIU in 2010 after a long career as a music faculty member and as an arts and university level administrator. He served NIU as director of the School of Music, dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts and ultimately deputy provost. Prior to joining NIU, he was head of the music department at Auburn University in Auburn, Alabama, and held faculty positions at community colleges in Arizona and Texas.

Having begun piano study at the age of 14 in Ohio, as a high school senior he won first prize in the Phoenix Symphony Concerto Competition and a Scholarship to The Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, California. He went on to complete a bachelor's degree in piano performance from Peabody Conservatory, a master's from Arizona State University, and a Ph.D. from the University of North Texas where he was a doctoral teaching fellow. As a pianist and conductor he has performed nationally and internationally in solo and chamber music settings as well as duo recitals with his wife, soprano Cecelia Kafer. He was the founder/conductor of the Cooke County Symphony and Chorale in Texas and was conductor of the Auburn University Symphony Orchestra. He is also a published author and composer.

As an academic professional he has served as a consultant evaluator for the National Association of Schools of Music, The North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, and as a board member of the International Council of Fine Arts Deans. He has also served as an adjudicator and competition juror at many levels over the course of his career. In retirement he is happy to allow others to have the limelight but still seeks out occasional opportunities to perform in order to keep both his fingers and brain agile.

Cecelia Kafer has appeared in recital, opera, and oratorio throughout the United States as well as in Germany, Australia and New Zealand. She has performed with the Arizona Opera Company, the Alabama Shakespeare Festival, and as a guest artist with the Florida State University Opera. She has also appeared with the Elgin and Columbus, Georgia symphony orchestras, among others. For many years she was the vocalist with The Lyric Ensemble; a chamber ensemble of voice, oboe, horn and piano. She holds a bachelor's degree in vocal performance and a master's degree in vocal pedagogy from Arizona State University and completed post masters studies at University of North Texas.

Kafer retired in 2010 after many years as a vocal teacher. She served on the faculties of North Central Texas College, College of DuPage and Sherwood Conservatory in Chicago. From 1991 to 2010, she maintained a private voice studio in DeKalb where she had the privilege of working with many fine students. She has been delighted to sing with area performance organizations including Shenanigans, the DeKalb Municipal Band, Stagecoach Players, and the Northern Illinois University Wind Ensemble.

The recital, presented in the Recital Hall, is free and open to the public. The Music Building, at 400 Lucinda Ave. DeKalb, is accessible to all. For more information, contact Lynn Slater at or (815) 753-1546.