School of Music Audio Department | University of Illinois Archives

Name: School of Music Audio Department

Historical Note:

The School of Music purchased its first recording equipment in 1948 (University of Illinois, 1948).  Since then, the School of Music Audio Department has provided recording services for student, faculty, and guest performers at University venues including Smith Music Hall, the Krannert Center for Performing Arts, and the Music Building Recording Studios (University of Illinois School of Music, 2013).  Past Directors of the Audio Department include Jim Campbell, Carl Volkers (ca. 1950s-1976), Jeff Whimsatt (1976-78), and Rex Anderson (1978-2010). Following Anderson's retirement in 2010, audio engineers Frank Horger and Bill Demkov jointly managed the recordings until Demkov left the position in 2015. Horger then solely oversaw the recordings until 2020, when the management of the recordings was transferred to Graham Duncan. Duncan worked for the Audio Department as a part-time employee from 2002-2005 and 2007-2021, at which point he was appointed the full-time assistant audio director.

The Festival of Contemporary Arts, first organized in 1948, included as part of its programming dance, theater, landscape architecture, music and an Exhibition of Contemporary American Painting and Sculpture. The Festival's music events included a variety of concerts, lectures, and workshops that were produced by University faculty and student ensembles, and guest composers and performers.  The styles of new music performance incorporated into these festivals encompassed everything from contemporary orchestral, jazz, opera, and choral music to new forms of performance art.  Initially held annually, the five- to six-week festival of performing and studio arts became a biennial event after 1953. Budgetary concerns led to the effective end of the festival after 1971, however, a related Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts was held in 1978.


University of Illinois.  (May 22, 1948).  Transactions of the Board of Trustees, p. 1121.

University of Illinois School of Music.  "Audio and Video Services",, accessed June 27 2013.

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