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Douglas Knehans Named Dean of the College-Conservatory of Music

An award-winning composer and accomplished administrator from the University of Tasmania is the choice to lead nationally-ranked college.

Date: 3/31/2008 12:00:00 AM
By: Katie Rankin Syroney
Phone: (513) 556-9484
Other Contact: Curt Whitacre
Other Contact Phone: (513) 556-2683

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Douglas Knehans
Douglas Knehans

Anthony J. Perzigian, senior vice president for academic affairs and provost at the University of Cincinnati, today announced the appointment of Dr. Douglas Knehans as dean and professor of music for the College-Conservatory of Music (CCM). Knehans' appointment, pending approval of the University's Board of Trustees, becomes effective September 1, 2008.

"The University has attracted a bold and imaginative leader to be at the helm of one of its premier colleges," said Perzigian. "A superb and prolific composer and accomplished academic administrator, Dr. Knehans will bring abundant energy, great dynamism, strong academic values, an adventurous bent, and an unbounded entrepreneurial spirit to the CCM deanship. I am supremely confident that CCM faculty, students and all of its stakeholders will thrive under his leadership."

Said UC President Nancy L. Zimpher, "UC's CCM stands to gain an incredible leader with impeccable credentials in Douglas Knehans. His academic, administrative and fund-raising skills will build on CCM's nationally prominent programs, and his outreach skills will strengthen our relationships here in Cincinnati. CCM has found a great new asset."

A skilled academic administrator and award-winning composer, Knehans comes to CCM from the Conservatorium of Music at the University of Tasmania (Australia), where he currently serves as director and professor of music.

"I am thrilled to be entering into an association with CCM as its new dean," said Knehans. "Across all of its disciplines, the college is at a stage of deeply rich potential for growth in quality and number of students, branding and marketing of its excellence, raising its profile locally, nationally and globally, and engaging in new technologies across its range of programs. I look forward very much to working with colleagues and students in the college and with Provost Perzigian and President Zimpher in advancing CCM within the bold vision of the UC|21 goals. I am honored by the faith and trust the college and university have demonstrated in selecting me as its new dean and look forward to the growth of the college and its exciting future."

Knehans' appointment follows an international search begun in fall 2007, following the departure of Douglas Lowry to become dean of the Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester. The search was led by executive search firm Russell Reynolds Associates and chaired by Dean Louis Bilionis of UC's College of Law.

Perzigian expressed his gratitude to Warren George, who has served as CCM's interim dean since August 2007.

"Bringing many years of conscientious and effective service as associate dean to the many challenges as interim dean, Dr. Warren George has led CCM with consummate skill and care during this period of transition," said Perzigian. "I share the CCM community's great respect and appreciation for Dr. George's many contributions, especially now as interim dean."

Douglas Knehans brings to his new role 27 years of experience in academia, with over 17 years in a leadership or administrative position. Since 2000, Knehans has served as director and professor of music for the Conservatorium of Music at the University of Tasmania, one of Australia's most progressive music training institutes. Prior to that, from 1993 to 1999, he served as associate professor of music, head of the department of music composition, theory and electronic music, and director of the SCREAM (Southern Center for Research into ElectroAcoustic Music) Studio at the University of Alabama School of Music.

While at the University of Tasmania, Knehans built a reputation as a dynamic and innovative leader with a strong commitment to community outreach. During his tenure, he oversaw the growth of the Conservatorium budget from $960,000 (2000) to $2.05 million (2007). He created 10 new degree programs and new student performing ensembles while also spearheading academic partnerships with local secondary schools.

His recent creation of the Australian International Summer Orchestra Institute has significantly raised the national and international profile of the university. The program draws students from every state and territory in Australia and many foreign nations to work with top symphony orchestra principals over two weeks in the city of Hobart to present a series of concerts, which have been noted for their extremely high quality.

An astute fund-raiser, Knehans secured $1.2 million in commercial partnerships for redevelopment of the Conservatorium campus, as well as more than $1.5 million in infrastructure improvements, including upgrades to facilities, instruments and technology.

As a composer, Knehans has been the recipient of numerous commissions, awards and fellowships in Australia and the U.S., including awards from the Victorian Council for the Arts, Australian Bicentennial Authority, Australia Council Performing Arts Board, the MacDowell Colony, and the Leighton Artist Colony. Additionally, he has been invited to lecture at Jagiellonian University (Krakow, Poland), Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of the National University of Singapore, Krakow Academy of Music (Krakow, Poland), Australian National University, and the Banff Centre for the Arts, among others.

Knehans' works have been broadcast on Australian National Radio and TV, National Public Radio and the Public Broadcasting Service, and his music has been commissioned and performed by some of Australia's leading ensembles and soloists, including the Canberra Symphony Orchestra, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, ELISION Ensemble, Australian Boys Choir, Adelaide Percussions, Timothy Kain, Ariel New Music, and Opera Australia. Select compositions include: seraphic ride, premiered at the Kennedy Center in 2002 by soloists from the National Symphony Orchestra; in questi giorni for mezzo-soprano and orchestra, performed at the 2005 Incontri di Musica Sacra Contemporanea (Italy); and rive, most recently performed at the New Music-New Faces Festival (Krakow, Poland, 2006). In 2007, he was guest composer at the Premieres of the Season Festival in Kiev, Ukraine, where his orchestra work ripple was given its world premiere by the Ukrainian National Symphony Orchestra and broadcast over Ukrainian national radio.

Born in 1957 in St. Louis, Missouri, Douglas Knehans received his initial music education at the Canberra School of Music in Australia's national capital. He received a Master of Arts in composition from Queens College, CUNY, where he studied with composer Thea Musgrave, and his Master of Musical Arts and Doctor of Musical Arts degree in composition from Yale University, where he studied with Jacob Druckman, Martin Bresnick, Lukas Foss and Jonathan Berger.

Knehans has for the last 18 years been married to Josephine McLachlan, a published author, textile designer, and graphic arts and multimedia professional and pedagogue. He has three children: Taliesen Farmer (26), Katarina (11) and Joshua (3).

Founded in 1867 and recognized as one of the leading conservatories for the performing arts and electronic media, the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music offers the benefit of a professional training conservatory within the setting of a comprehensive public university. The school's roster of eminent faculty regularly receives distinguished honors, and its alumni go on to notable success in the performing and media arts. In the most recent rankings available by U.S. News and World Report, CCM was honored as the sixth top university program in the country for pursuing a graduate degree in music. Within the specialty areas of voice and conducting, CCM's programs placed third and fifth, respectively. CCM is also the largest single source of performing arts events in the state of Ohio, presenting nearly 1,000 events annually.