Khan Cordice – Graduate School, Visual and Performing Arts
When Khan Cordice was 12, he began learning how to play the steel pan.
Those music lessons would change his life, providing the young native of Antigua and Barbuda not only a clear direction in life but a career and now a passport to greater things.
Although Khan is a humble guy – one who believes in opportunities, and making the most of them – he will admit that his personal trophy case boasts four wins at Panorama. That’s an annual music competition of steel bands in Antigua, where Khan has been honored for solos, performances with groups and even arranging. He’s also earned plenty of academic awards was named national youth ambassador for his native land.
Not bad for a 24-year-old!
During his time at the University of the West Indies, one of his professors – an NIU alumna – told him about her alma mater in DeKalb. About Liam Teague. About Cliff Alexis. About our master’s degree in steel pan performance, the only program of its kind in the United States.
Every pannist, Khan says, would love to study with Liam.
And now Khan is among those who’ve realized that dream, training under a professor who understands his students and their goals, a fellow musician who knows what’s necessary to accomplish those goals.
When he returns home, he wants to teach. He wants to establish and nurture degree programs in steel pan. He wants to present at clinics and workshops, telling the brief history of this instrument and divining just how far it can climb in the world of music.
And he wants to continue performing.These last five semesters have seen Khan entertain across Chicagoland and just recently at a steel band festival in Austin, Texas. Although he sat at the Graduate School graduation without his pan or his mallets, he had a busy day of playing with the NIU Steel Band at three undergraduate ceremonies the following day. He didn't mind. He says. The pan is his “first love,” and he never tires of watching people respond when they first hear those happy sounds.