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 Tuesday, June 14, 2005 IssueFaculty/Staff E-Newsletter

IN THE SPOTLIGHT


In the Spotlight with Daniel Sher, Dean, College of Music

They lead major academic divisions and shape the direction and quality of programs for faculty, staff and students. In this series, "In the Spotlight," we ask CU-Boulder deans to give us a glimpse into their personalities by answering questions aimed at providing a unique perspective on "the person behind the desk." Part nine of this series features Daniel Sher, dean of the College of Music.

1. Outside of work, what do you spend the most time thinking about and why?

I can't say that there is one single thing that preoccupies me outside of work. Part of the reason for this is that my work and my private life are really quite interwoven, since concerts and special events take me back to the campus evenings and weekends and partly because I have several interests which take equal portions of my remaining time.

I love to cook, so when Boyce and I are hosting family and friends I'll get involved in planning and executing (sometimes literally!) aspects of the menu. We belong to an amateur play group, in which a rotating set of the membership presents a play, rehearsed but once. The ham in me is nurtured by these experiences.

In addition to the reading I do to stay current in my field, I always have the latest installment of "The New Yorker" on my bed-table and at least one novel. For instance, I've just finished "The Kite Runner," an extraordinarily well-written novel by an Afghani expatriate, Khaled Hossieni, and have just started "Corelli's Mandolin" by Louis de Bernieres, which is set on a Greek Island during World War II. For vacation time, Boyce and I love to travel, especially if we can take our family along: our older son Martin, his wife Cecily and their son, our delightful and precocious grandson Aidan, and our younger son Jonathan. Last year was a high-water mark for the Sher family; we splurged on our 35th wedding anniversary by taking us all to a rented villa in southern France for a week.

2. If you could choose any era to live in, other than today, which one would you choose and why?

Other than today, I would choose the turn of the last century. In the visual arts, Paris was at the center of the Impressionist era, among my very favorite styles in one of my favorite places. Composers were beginning to think globally; Claude Debussy was influenced by what he was learning about the styles and structures of music cultures of the Far East and it wouldn't be long before Maurice Ravel's music exhibited elements of jazz that was emerging from the U.S. Some of the most sophisticated popular music ever written comes from the generation of artists born during this time, including the Gershwins, Cole Porter and Duke Ellington. As far as I am concerned, the output of composition in Western Europe and the U.S. from around 1890 through 1918 represents the most dynamic and varied of any from the Classical music eras.

At the turn of the century, the automobile was invented and industry would never be the same once the assembly line was introduced in factories. Widespread use of the telephone and telegraph facilitated communications. For the many of us whose grandparents came to this country seeking a better life, this was a time of renewed hope for freedom and economic prosperity. Of course, in hindsight, we know that succeeding decades would bring two world wars, the atomic bomb, the Holocaust and genocides in Eastern Europe, Africa and parts of the Far East. But at its very outset, the 20th century was an extraordinary time for the arts, for industrial development, for globalization and for communications.


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