Douglas Lowry, the Joan and Martin Messinger Dean of the Eastman School of Music, has been appointed to a second, five-year leadership term, University of Rochester President Joel Seligman announced on May 19. Lowry's reappointment as dean is effective July 1.
"Doug is an inspiring leader of the Eastman School and is working to advance the school's new strategic vision," said Seligman. "The new world-class facilities created under his leadership complement the school's reputation for professional music education at the highest level. Doug recognizes the school's valuable role in shaping the discourse for the future of music professions and training, with a keen appreciation of current industry challenges and opportunities."
"As a performer who understands and values scholarship, Doug has been singularly successful in enhancing morale and a sense of community," said University Provost Peter Lennie. "He is highly regarded by his faculty as a visionary leader, and is widely appreciated for his work to increase the school's visibility."
Lowry joined the Eastman School as its sixth dean in 2007, and in 2011 was named the first Joan and Martin Messinger Dean of the Eastman School, endowed by alumnus and University life trustee Martin E. Messinger '49 and his wife, the late Joan Messinger. Since 2008, he has been implementing an ambitious strategic plan, "Empowering the Eastman Advantage," which celebrates the rich traditional legacy of the school and its role as a national leader in the future of music. As part of this, he led the completion of the biggest architectural transformation in the school's history—the renovation of the School's historic performance venue as Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre, and the building of the new Eastman East Wing, with state-of-the-art performance, rehearsal, and teaching spaces, including Hatch Recital Hall.
He has raised the school's profile with events and special programs around the country, notably in New York City with the appearance of the Eastman Virtuosi at Merkin Concert Hall and the Eastman Chamber Jazz Ensemble at St. Peter's Church.
A noted conductor and composer, Lowry also serves as professor of conducting and ensembles at Eastman, and has conducted both the Eastman Philharmonia and the Eastman School Symphony Orchestra. His compositional work includes "Geo," commissioned and premiered by Christopher Seaman and the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, and which opened the dedication concert of the new Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre on Oct. 8, 2009. Since then he has composed works celebrating the birthday of Eastman composer David Liptak, a fanfare for the dedication of the Dale Chihuly "Blue and Gold Chandelier," a work celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Eastman Wind Ensemble, as well as other chamber pieces and an operetta.
This past February, the Rochester Philharmonic premiered The Freedom Zephyr, an ode to the Underground Railroad composed by Lowry. As part of the RPO's Black History Month program, the 14-minute piece used excerpts from one of Frederick Douglass' speeches, a poem by Walt Whitman, an essay by Ralph Waldo Emerson and Lowry's words.
Before his arrival at Eastman, Lowry served for seven years as dean and Thomas James Kelly Professor of Music at the University of Cincinnati's College-Conservatory of Music. His initiatives in engaging communities in the arts created sustainable connections between the conservatory and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. For almost 20 years before that, he served as associate dean and chair of the Conducting Department at the Flora L. Thornton School of Music at the University of Southern California.
Lowry earned his bachelor of music degree in theory and composition in 1974 from the University of Arizona, and two master's degrees from the University of Southern California in trombone performance (1976) and orchestral conducting (1978). He currently serves on the board of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, and the executive committee of the National Association of Schools of Music. He continues to serve on the board and co-chair the artistic directorate of the American Classical Music Hall of Fame.
The Eastman School of Music of the University of Rochester educates talented musicians from around the world who become leaders and innovators in all fields of music. Established in 1921 by Eastman Kodak Company founder and visionary George Eastman, the school has achieved international prominence through its commitment to the highest standards of artistry, scholarship, and leadership.