Published: Dec. 1, 2022 By

Dean's Downbeat



Dean John Davis and CU President Todd Saliman Photo: Dean John Davis and CU President Todd Saliman show their school spirit at Saturday’s final home game. 

Dear friends, 

As the year sprints to a close, I look forward to ushering in the spirit of the season this weekend at our long-running, much-loved Holiday Festival. I hope to see many of you at Macky Auditorium, enjoying inspired, heart-warming performances featuring our talented students and faculty. 

Meanwhile, I’m pleased to share glad tidings: Professor of Conducting Emeritus and Distinguished Professor Allan McMurray was just notified of his selection for the CU Regents’ 2023 University Medal! You’re among the first to know of this tremendous, well-deserved recognition of McMurray’s lifelong dedication to his craft at our college and beyond. 

McMurray was nominated without his knowing by myself and Conducting Area Chair, Professor of Conducting and Director of Bands Donald McKinney; Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies and Enrollment Management, and Associate Professor of Conducting and Music Education Matthew Roeder; and Professor of Piano and former College of Music Dean Daniel Sher. Also supporting his nomination was alumna Karen Fannin who earned a Doctor of Musical Arts in conducting from our College of Music, studying with McMurray; she’s now professor and director of bands at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

McMurray is recognized as one of the leading teachers of wind ensemble and conducting in the world—he has taught and guest conducted at more than 200 colleges and conservatories internationally. At the College of Music, he served as director of bands and the Robert and Judy Charles Professor of Conducting from 1978 until 2013. McMurray will be formally recognized by the Board of Regents at the spring commencement ceremony in May 2023. 

Complementing and building on McMurray’s trailblazing legacy, I’m also excited to share news from our current activities at the college: Just after Thanksgiving, I was thrilled to see that artists from the Sphinx Organization—who joined us at the College of Music for a series of master classes in September—were featured in The New York Times (They Were Ahead of the Curve on Diversity in Classical Music). These artists—including our new Assistant Professor of Violin Alex Gonzalez—are working to increase diverse representation in music, a key aspect of the College of Music’s emphasis on inclusive excellence. In brief, according to the Times, the Sphinx Organization has “started training programs and ensembles, and has pushed for more diverse repertory and orchestra rosters. It has promoted young soloists and arts administrators, and operates an ever-expanding annual conference. With a burst of new attention to phrases like diversity, equity and inclusion over the past two years, Sphinx’s steady, patient work has come to seem prescient.” 

Indeed, the Times article well reflects the spirit of my vision to develop multiskilled, multifaceted universal musicians through diverse opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration and a culture of belonging. 

In these uneven times, our community is also in mourning following the Club Q tragedy. The College of Music joins the campus community in standing by the LGBTQ+ community, the Colorado Springs community, and the family, friends and loved ones of those so senselessly killed and injured on Nov. 19. Together, we’ll keep doing our part to foster a welcoming environment that promotes diversity of music, ideas and underrepresented identities at the College of Music. 

Please take care of yourself and of one another this holiday season.