Newly named School of Music director seeks community engagement

David Myers, a professor at Georgia State University, has more than 30 years of experience in the field, including time at the University of Wisconsin.

Andrew Cummins

The University found a candidate that’s music to its ears.

David Myers , a professor of music and associate director of the school of music at Georgia State University , was named director of the School of Music last week.

Myers said one of his primary interests upon starting on Sept. 29 is pursuing and maintaining good relationships with the Twin Cities community.

That outreach goal should be aided by a thriving arts and music scene in the metropolitan area, which can also serve as professional experience venues for music students, he said.

Before he starts implementing his visions for the school, however, Myers said he wants to become immersed in the tradition of success at the school.

“I think the school there ranks very competitively with top music schools around the country,” he said.

A nationwide search for the new director was already underway when interim director Jerry Luckhardt took over for Carnegie-Mellon -bound Noel Zahler in 2007.

Three finalists for the position came to the University in the spring and presented their cases to students, faculty and staff at the school.

Luckhardt said he will stay at the school and resume his duties as a conductor and teacher.

He said the school can improve on reaching out to the community and being recognizable.

“Someone once said that the School of Music is a bit of a sleeping giant,” he said. “There’s amazing things going on in the school, we have terrific faculty and unbelievably gifted students, and it’s a pretty well-kept secret.”

During his time as interim director, Luckhardt said he had a goal of trying to gain the school more visibility, like with the “Living Composers” event held in 2006.

The event was a celebration of American composer Elliot Carter , and Luckhardt said he’d like to see similar things done in the future.

One of the faculty members who will help carry out Myers’ plans is David Grayson, a professor of musicology and the school’s director of graduate studies.

Although it remains to be seen which direction Myers takes the school, Grayson said some new changes to programs are already in the works.

The school is considering launching a bachelors program in music, which wouldn’t be directly attached to classic music performance. It would be more of an academic approach to open up options including teaching and theory.

“We have strong faculty in those areas and we would like to see students who are interested in that as an academic study to gain encouragement,” he said.

Despite K-12 budget cuts which have clipped music and arts programs at many area school districts, Grayson said interest in the school remains strong.

Enrollment at the school is more than 500 and it received around 815 applications last school year, according to the school.