Indiana University

Skip to:

  1. Search
  2. Breadcrumb Navigation
  3. Content
  4. Browse by Topic
  5. Services & Resources
  6. Additional Resources
  7. Multimedia News

Media Contacts

Ryan Piurek
IU Media Relations

Alain Barker
IU Jacobs School of Music

Last modified: Thursday, August 24, 2006

New faculty appointees add luster to IU Jacobs School of Music

Aug. 24, 2006

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- It's becoming apparent that the musical stars are once again aligned over the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music as the venerable institution approaches its second century of training the world's top young musicians.

Two-time Grammy Award-winner Sylvia McNair joins the IU Jacobs School faculty this fall.

Print-Quality Photo

This week, the Jacobs School will officially welcome internationally acclaimed sopranos Sylvia McNair and Carol Vaness, virtuoso violinist Alexander Kerr and ballet master Michael Vernon, among others, to its faculty ranks.

They are the latest in a line of standout musicians who have recently chosen the school as their teaching home. Other notables are pianists Arnaldo Cohen and André Watts, who joined the faculty in 2004, and violinists Mark Kaplan and Jaime Laredo (2005). Grammy-winners Laredo and Watts, along with Vaness, were appointed to the faculty through IU's "Commitment to Excellence" program, which helps to strengthen the school through the addition of eminent teachers.

"The lifeblood of any school is its faculty," said Jacobs School of Music Dean Gwyn Richards. "Always the challenge is to find the perfect blend of intellectual curiosity, interest in people, connectedness to the profession and desire to make a difference both in the individual and in society. Fortunately, again this year, we have found that blend of attributes in each of our new faculty, drawn to us by the quality of their colleagues and the mission of our school, the capacity of our university and the warmth and interest of our community. We are grateful that they have chosen Indiana, and we cherish the opportunity to work with them as colleagues."

As the school looks toward its 100th anniversary (in 2010) and prepares for its first full academic year since receiving a $40.6 million gift from the late Barbara B. Jacobs of Cleveland, its officials take comfort in knowing that future generations will continue to receive instruction from many of the world's most experienced and accomplished musicians. They're confident that the recent faculty appointees will complement the teaching successes of their generational predecessors, including living legends Martina Arroyo, David Baker, Susann McDonald, Menahem Pressler, Janos Starker and Virginia Zeani.

Alexander Kerr joins the Jacobs School faculty from the famed Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam.

Print-Quality Photo

While veterans such as Pressler, the distinguished piano professor who will turn 83 in December and is celebrating 50 years this year with chamber music's legendary Beaux Arts Trio, show no signs of slowing down, the school has several up-and-comers ready to continue the school's proud teaching tradition. They include musicians like Alexander Kerr, who is the youngest member of the school's violin faculty, at age 36, and has already carved out a successful solo and orchestral career. At 26, he was appointed concertmaster of the famed Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam.

The school's reputation seems to be growing along with its faculty roster as more top musicians, musicologists, music theorists, dancers and composers choose to teach at IU, and former students such as Joshua Bell, Angela Brown and Edgar Meyer continue to impress on the world's grandest stages. One of those former students, Sylvia McNair, said she is honored to join the school's faculty after leaving Bloomington 28 years ago for an enormously successful professional career. "These are people I've cherished for years, and now I'm going to be working with them," said the two-time Grammy Award-winner, adding that she has always maintained respect for the music school and the quality of its faculty. "I always brag about the Jacobs School of Music wherever I go. It is one of the best music schools in the world."

The school has announced the following new tenured and tenure-track appointments for the 2006-2007 academic year. Department assignments are in parentheses. Click on the Web links to read more about each new faculty member.

New long-term appointments include:

For a complete listing of faculty and staff, go to

For more information about the Jacobs School of Music, visit