Campus: San Francisco State University -- October 07, 2002

SFSU puts best feet, fingers forward with new School of Music and Dance

Legendary Australian pianist Roger Woodward tapped to lead school in College of Creative Arts

After years as independent departments, San Francisco State University merged its Music and Dance departments this fall, creating the School of Music and Dance, to strengthen and expand offerings and allow more opportunities for student collaborations between the two disciplines.
Roger Woodward, a legendary Australian pianist declared a “living national treasure” by the National Trust of Australia, was named director of the School of Music and Dance and a tenured professor of music. He has recorded 93 albums and videos of concertos, chamber and contemporary music and performed in 45 countries covering five continents.

“SFSU already has an incredibly talented, diverse and dedicated faculty, which is the largest of its kind in Northern California,” said Woodward, 59. “Our students explore a wide range of music and dance disciplines, which are in the process of being augmented or extended whilst combining their strengths to create a more ambitious international training ground.”

Woodward plans to use his international connections to give students opportunities to perform overseas.

“We need to extend established programs with our European partners whilst reaching out to the profound and rich cultural diversity which surrounds us from the Pacific Rim as well as the Caribbean and Central and South America,” he said.

Music Professor Ronald Caltabiano was named associate director of the school. A Julliard-educated composer, he has composed works performed by the San Francisco Symphony, Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Symphony, BBC Symphony, Hong Kong Sinfonietta and Royal Scottish National Orchestra. Caltabiano joined SFSU in 1996.

The School of Music and Dance, housed in the College of Creative Arts, will establish more collaborative performances with students from both disciplines, such as combining a string quartet with ballet and Latin jazz with Latin dance. In addition, the school will create joint classes that incorporate aspects of both music and dance. Two integrated bachelor degrees, in music/dance and musicology/dance ethnology, will be created within five years. Like music students, prospective dance majors will now be required to audition for admission to the program.

Caltabiano is coordinating a new outreach project in five San Francisco public middle schools and high schools to augment music programs, which often face major budget cuts. This fall six members of the music faculty will work with students and mentor teachers in band, voice, jazz, string, clarinet and bassoon. Caltabiano hopes to eventually expand the project, dubbed “Overture,” to other parts of the Bay Area.

“The School of Music and Dance ushers in an exciting new era for the College of Creative Arts,” said Keith Morrison, dean of the College of Creative Arts. “Under the leadership of legendary musician Roger Woodward, the marriage of music and dance will poise students to reach new heights in creative and academic excellence. Not only will scores of students continue to receive the personal attention and top-notch instruction from our faculty, but they will also have expanded opportunities to collaborate with each other, which will be of great benefit to them in their professional careers.”

SFSU has a long tradition of musical excellence in composition, performance, jazz and world music, since the Music Department was founded in 1932. The University has trained hundreds of dancers and presented concerts featuring a wide range of techniques including ballet, modern, jazz, capoeira, flamenco, kathak, Afro-Haitian and Dunham for more than 40 years. The Dance Department was founded in 1986.

SFSU’s College of Creative Arts boasts the only academic program in Northern California primarily devoted to the creative arts. Under the direction of Morrison, an internationally acclaimed faculty directs more than 3,000 undergraduate and graduate students in six departments: Art, Cinema, Broadcast and Electronic Communication Arts, Theatre Arts, Design and Industry, and the School of Music and Dance.

NOTE: For a photo of Roger Woodward or to schedule an interview with him, contact Matt Itelson at (415) 338-1743 or matti@sfsu.edu, or Ariane Bicho at (415) 338-1442 or abicho@sfsu.edu.


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