University of Rochester

Kowalke Appointed Turner Professor at Rochester

August 25, 2003

Kim Kowalke, chair of the Department of Music in the College of the University of Rochester and an internationally known authority on composer Kurt Weill, has been named the Richard L. Turner Professor of Humanities.

Kowalke, who also is professor of musicology at the University's Eastman School of Music, joined the Rochester faculty in 1986 as professor of music and chair of the music program. Under his leadership, the program increased faculty, course offerings, and enrollment, and became a full department in 1999. Kowalke has been chair for all but five years since 1986.

The author of numerous articles, reviews, and liner notes on 19th- and 20th-century music, opera, and musical theater, Kowalke is the editor of two books of essays about Weill and a book of letters of Weill and his wife, Lotte Lenya. His book, Kurt Weill in Europe, won Yale University's Theron Rockwell Field Prize in the Humanities. Kowalke has been president of the Kurt Weill Foundation for Music since 1981, succeeding Lenya at her request. He also is the founding member of the editorial board of the Kurt Weill Edition, a long-term project to present all of Weill's completed musical works in new critical editions.

Kowalke is a five-time winner of the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers' Deems Taylor Award for excellence in writing about music, and twice received the Sonneck Society's Irving Lowens Prize for best article on American music. His numerous awards include grants from the Mellon Foundation and the Martha Baird Rockefeller Fund, the Arnold L. and Lois S. Graves Award in the Humanities, and a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship. He also has conducted, produced, and directed musical theater productions in Rochester, Cape Cod, New Haven, and New York City.

At Rochester, Kowalke has taught courses in music history, opera, Stephen Sondheim, and 20th-century German and American music, and started a successful musical theater workshop.

During his tenure, interest in the growing variety of music offerings has increased. Currently, more than 600 students take courses or participate in one of the music department's seven ensembles each semester. In 1997, the department was recognized for its interdisciplinary offerings and initiatives with the University's first Goergen Award for Curricular Achievement in Undergraduate Education. Three years later, Kowalke received an individual Goergen Award for Distinguished Achievement and Artistry in Undergraduate Education.

"Kim Kowalke is an enormous contributor to the intellectual life of the College," said Thomas J. LeBlanc, the Robert L. and Mary L. Sproull Dean of the College Faculty. "His scholarly credentials are matched by contributions to undergraduate education and to the University as a whole. He continues to be the driving force behind a strong music presence on the River Campus that complements the professional offerings at Eastman."

The Richard L.Turner Chair was established in 1988 by Nancy Turner in honor of her husband, a former president and chief executive officer of Schlegel Corp. The five-year appointment is given to a distinguished humanist and professor in the College who shares Turner's broad view of scholarship and the world.

Before coming to Rochester, Kowalke taught at Yale University and Occidental College. He received his bachelor's degree from Macalester College and his master's degrees and doctorate from Yale University.

Note to Editors: Kowalke lives in Scottsville.