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New England Conservatory (NEC) Names Andrea Kalyn as New President

New England Conservatory of Music (NEC) announces today that Andrea Kalyn has been named as its 17th President. Currently serving as Dean of the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, Kalyn will be the first woman ever to hold the NEC presidency. Her appointment marks the culmination of an intensive, three-year search, and comes at a historic moment for the Boston-based conservatory, whose 150th anniversary last year was celebrated into the early months of 2018.

Top Photo: Andrea Kalyn (photo: Tanya Rosen-Jones)

Kalyn looks forward to launching her NEC tenure in January 2019. She comments:

“Recognized worldwide for its excellence and commitment to great artistry, New England Conservatory of Music has a striking capacity to foster the development of highly imaginative individuals singularly equipped to navigate and shape a dynamic and multi-dimensional artistic world, to facilitate innovative and fruitful relationships among creators, performers, and audiences, and to design and establish within the broader community programs that foster musical engagement and creativity. It is with the utmost honor, energy, and dedication that I look forward to the opportunity to work with NEC’s exceptional faculty, staff, and board of trustees towards the education of generations of alumni who will shape the profession, and indeed the very future of music.”

Kennett F. Burnes, Chair of the NEC Board of Trustees, adds:

“Andrea emerged as the resounding choice because of her qualifications: her deep commitment to music excellence, her relationship with faculty, and her sense of responsibility to music education and the world at large. We are thrilled with her appointment as the next President of NEC and know she is the right person to lead NEC into the future.”

In her new role, Kalyn will report to NEC’s Board of Trustees and will work closely with its executive team, including the Provost and Dean of the College, Vice President of Finance and Operations, Vice President of Institutional Advancement, and Vice President of Administration. NEC’s last permanent leader, Tony Woodcock, stepped down from the presidency in June 2015, since when it has been ably run by Tom Novak, Interim President, Provost and Dean.

About Andrea Kalyn

At Oberlin College & Conservatory, Andrea Kalyn spent nine years as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs before being appointed Dean of the Conservatory and Professor of Music in February 2014. As chief academic officer of a school of 580 undergraduate musicians and 120 faculty and staff, Kalyn was responsible for establishing and implementing the vision and priorities of the conservatory within the context of Oberlin’s broader educational mission. She secured funding of more than $6.5 million, as well as significant donations of musical instruments and a major gift from jazz legend Sonny Rollins.

Kalyn played a lead role in the creation of Oberlin’s entrepreneurship program, Creativity & Leadership, and – as director of that program for seven years – she collaborated with an active group of alumni to establish LaunchU, Oberlin’s start-up accelerator and pitch competition. The spirit of both entrepreneurship and collaboration was evident throughout her curricular work, which included establishing the Oberlin-Como Piano Academy in partnership with the Lake Como International Academy; creating the department of Pedagogy, Advocacy, and Community Engagement (PACE); launching a new major in jazz voice; extending the programming of the American Roots residency; overseeing the launch of the Artist Diploma in Piano Technology and developing new partnerships with Steinway & Sons and the Shanghai Conservatory; and, in collaboration with Oberlin’s Dean of Arts and Sciences, designing Oberlin’s innovative Center for Convergence, StudiOC.

Kalyn is fundamentally committed to advancing the place of music in the world and to strengthening connections among composers, performers, and audiences. Under her leadership, Oberlin opened the William and Helen Birenbaum Innovation and Performance Space, an underground performance club in Oberlin’s new Gateway Complex; restructured its composition department, a project she initiated by hiring renowned composer Stephen Hartke as department chair; commissioned a full-length concerto for English horn by Bernard Rands in partnership with the Cleveland Orchestra and Oberlin professor Robert Walters; relaunched the Oberlin Music recording label distributed by Naxos; and supported significant connected-learning initiatives, including extended programming around opera performances and cross-disciplinary residencies by Jenny Koh, Billy Childs, Du Yun, Royce Vavrek, Mimi Xu, and others. The Oberlin Orchestra and Oberlin Contemporary Music Ensemble continued to tour extensively during her tenure, performing most notably at Chicago’s Symphony Center and Ganz Hall, Kennedy Center, Ojai Festival, and Bang on a Can Marathon, with upcoming performances in January 2019 at Carnegie Hall.

From formal outreach performances both on campus and off to pop-up concerts celebrating Oberlin’s 150th anniversary and informal ConFab listening parties, Kalyn sought to foster community at Oberlin through musical engagement. She served on the board of the Oberlin Center for the Arts, which she was instrumental in founding, and oversaw Oberlin’s Community Music School.

Kalyn frequently serves as a curricular consultant for other conservatories, universities, and colleges. She came to Oberlin from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, where she was Musicologist and Assistant Dean, having previously taught at Wake Forest University, Salem College, University of Rochester, and University of Western Ontario. She earned her PhD in musicology from the Eastman School of Music, focusing her scholarship on 20th-century American music, and holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in musicology from University of Western Ontario, as well as an Associate diploma (ARCT) in piano performance from Toronto’s Royal Conservatory of Music. In addition to presenting papers on the chamber music of Brahms, Schubert, and others, she has published articles on the composers Howard Hanson and Daniel Gregory Mason, as well as on topics related to entrepreneurship and curricular reform.

About New England Conservatory of Music (NEC)

Founded in 1867, NEC is the oldest independent school of music in the U.S. and a cultural icon of national and international standing. In delivering a superlative educational experience to more than 2,700 students across its College, Preparatory School, and School of Continuing Education, NEC draws on the deep reservoir of talent and experience of its 484 distinguished faculty (full- and part-time), a group of internationally esteemed artist-teachers and scholars who work across the conservatory’s three divisions. At all levels, an NEC education is at once rigorous and nurturing. Staff, faculty, and students attest to the power of the distinctively inclusive, encouraging, and supportive community one discovers at NEC.

NEC’s curriculum covers an expansive range of styles and traditions. Student instrumentalists, singers, and composers are trained in a broad array of methods, including classical, jazz, opera, composition, world music and early music. Innovative programming and creativity abounds. The conservatory boasts an unparalleled chamber music program and was the first conservatory in the nation to offer a degree in jazz. NEC also pioneered an innovative concentration in Contemporary Improvisation, and more recently has introduced entrepreneurship into its curricular offerings. Equipped with an extensive toolkit, NEC graduates step into the world as exceedingly adaptive musicians, going on to fill orchestra chairs, concert hall stages, jazz clubs, recording studios, arts management positions, and a broad range of music leadership roles worldwide. NEC produces some of the world’s most prolific 21st-century musicians.

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© 21C Media Group, August 2018


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