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October 16, 2013

Remembering ‘a remarkable University leader’

Douglas Lowry
Under Lowry’s leadership, the Eastman School’s historic performance venue was renovated as Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre. His Geo, premiered by Christopher Seaman and the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, opened the renovated venue in October of 2009.

Douglas Lowry, the Joan and Martin Messinger Dean Emeritus of the Eastman School of Music, is being remembered as a composer, conductor, and academic leader who was keenly attuned to the shifting music world and its challenges for music schools and students.

“Doug was a remarkable University leader. He brought together the Eastman School community in ways that were deeply appreciated by its faculty, staff, students, alumni, and friends,” says President Joel Seligman. “He was the leader during whose watch the school renovated and expanded Eastman Theatre. Inspiring new faculty were hired. Doug was a national presence in music education and an individual whose charm, wit, and intelligence inspired generations of students and colleagues.”

Lowry became the sixth leader of the Eastman School in 2007. He was named the first Joan and Martin Messinger Dean in 2011 and was reappointed in May 2013. Diagnosed with multiple myeloma in September, 2011, he resigned for health reasons on Sept. 23. Following his resignation announcement, the Board of Trustees named him the Joan and Martin Messinger Dean Emeritus and awarded him an honorary doctor of music degree. He died Oct. 2.

At an Oct. 2 remembrance ceremony in Eastman School’s Main Hall, Seligman announced that the space has been renamed Lowry Hall.

Lowry was known for building strategic partnerships locally, nationally, and internationally and for recruiting faculty artists. He oversaw the launch of several new initiatives, including the expansion of Eastman’s international partnerships in China and Europe, focusing on the use of Internet2 technology to create a series of “virtual partnerships” with prestigious institutions worldwide. He founded the Center for Music Innovation and Engagement under Eastman’s Institute for Music Leadership as an incubator for new forms of music presentation. The Paul R. Judy Center for Applied Research, founded this year and focused on researching and creating models for alternative ensembles, reflects Dean Lowry’s incisive appraisal of the rapidly changing landscape of the music world.

Lowry led the biggest architectural transformation in the Eastman School’s history. Under his leadership, the school’s historic performance venue was renovated as Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre, and the new Eastman East Wing, with state-of-the-art performance, rehearsal, and teaching spaces, was built. The renovation and expansion project was completed in December 2010.

Committed to raising the profile of Eastman with events and special programs around the country, he re-entered the school into the marketplace of New York City, most notably with the appearance of the Eastman Virtuosi at Merkin Concert Hall and the Eastman Chamber Jazz Ensemble at St. Peter’s Church.

“Doug Lowry not only enjoyed a remarkable career, he lived a wonderful life,” says Jamal Rossi, dean of the Eastman School. “While he was active as a composer, conductor, author, poet, performer, and academic leader, I believe his real passion was people. Doug simply loved the community of individuals with whom he worked and interacted.”

Lowry’s compositional premieres and other musical work took him to venues throughout the United States and Asia as a guest conductor and clinician for orchestras and wind ensembles. His Geo, commissioned and premiered by Christopher Seaman and the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, opened Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre in October of 2009.

Before coming to the Eastman School in 2007, Lowry was dean and the Thomas James Kelly Professor of Music at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. Previously, he was associate dean of the Thornton School of Music at the University of Southern California, where he served in various teaching and academic leadership positions beginning in 1983.

Throughout his career, Dean Lowry served on the boards of numerous community and music organizations, including the National Association of Schools of Music, the American Classical Music Hall of Fame, the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Opera, and Cincinnati School for the Creative and Performing Arts.

Lowry is survived by his wife, Marcia, daughters Melanie and Jennifer, and son, Timothy; his brothers, John Lowry and William Lowry; and his sister, Susanne Carter. He was predeceased by his parents, John and Mildred.

A memorial event is being planned for Nov. 3 in Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre. Tickets for the free event will be available soon. Visit www.esm. rochester.edu/lowry for updates and information on how to support the Douglas Lowry Fund for Musical Excellence in support of Lowry’s vision and the mission of the Eastman School.

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