Published: Jan. 27, 2022 By





JDAs I write to you from the 2022 Colorado Music Educators Association’s Clinic/Conference in Colorado Springs this week, I’m energized by the College of Music’s critical mission to inspire and equip the teachers, performers, composers, scholars and innovators of tomorrow. 

At the same, we’re now in the third year of a global pandemic and the recent Omicron surge, among other factors, resulted in a remote start this semester. While we’re back in person now, the College of Music family also joins our broader community in healing and recovering from the devastation of the Marshall Fire, nearly one month ago. Additionally, many of us were deeply saddened to learn of violist Roger Tapping’s recent passing. In 1995, Tapping had relocated from London, England, to join our Takács Quartet; during his decade with the quartet, their Decca/London recordings—including the complete quartets of Bartók and Beethoven—placed them in Gramophone magazine’s Hall of Fame and won three Gramophone Awards, a Grammy and three more Grammy nominations. Especially, he was beloved among his students, collaborators and audiences for his luminous talent and deep sense of humanity.

Yet even as we bear witness to loss and unknowable challenges with compassion and care, I see us rebounding with resilience again and again—undeterred in our shared quest for excellence, dogged in our pursuit to inform and influence what it means to be a successful, fulfilled creative artist in an increasingly diverse and interdisciplinary musical landscape. 

Most immediately, here at the annual CMEA gathering of educators, I’m so proud to join friends and colleagues in celebrating and recognizing alumna Carrie Proctor (BME ’19), the most recent recipient of the CMEA Outstanding Young Music Educator Award; and Professor of Music Education James Austin, the latest inductee in the CMEA Hall of Fame. Says Associate Dean for Graduate Studies Margaret Berg, “I can think of no one more deserving of this prestigious award than Jim, given his wide-reaching and impactful professional accomplishments, commitment to excellence and unwavering dedication to the K-12 music teaching and music teacher education professions. Jim’s influence on the K-12 music teacher and music teacher education landscape, both in Colorado and nationally, is truly inspiring.”

Additionally, since the start of the year, I was thrilled to learn that first-year master’s student Kedrick Armstrong (orchestral conducting) landed on The Washington Post’s “composers and performers to watch” list, and that alumna mezzo-soprano Claire McCahan won the 47th National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) Artists Awards competition ... to note only a few highlights in a steady stream of impressive achievements among our students, alumni, faculty and staff. 

Meanwhile, back on the Boulder campus, newly appointed Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity + Inclusion (DEI) Susan Thomas—who also directs our American Music Research Center and serves as professor of musicology—and Diversity and Outreach Coordinator Alexis McClain, our newest staff member, are deeply dedicated to further ensuring a welcoming culture at the College of Music that increasingly integrates and uplifts DEI across all our programs, performances, presentations and academic curricula.  

That’s why I’m energized, despite setbacks—even sadness—along our shared journey. Because what we do at the College of Music is making a difference. Together, we’re creating the soundscape of what matters. 

Happy New Year!

Photo: Earlier this week, we snapped this impromptu photo of Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity + Inclusion Susan Thomas (left), Diversity and Outreach Coordinator Alexis McClain and Dean John Davis.