Nothing theoretical about new dean's appointment
Professor Don McLean, a music theorist and dean of the Schulich School of Music at McGill University since 2001, has been named dean of U of T's Faculty of Music effective Jan. 1, 2011. McLean's appointment was approved by the appointments committee of Academic Board this week. The term of the current dean, Professor Russell Hartenberger, has been extended until Dec. 31.
The incoming dean earned his three university degrees - bachelor's, master's and doctorate - at the University of Toronto and also graduated from the Royal Conservatory of Music with ARCTs in both piano and theory/composition. He taught at both institutions from 1978 to 1989. His musical experience and professional training encompass piano accompanying and coaching, orchestral and choral conducting, composition, musicology and music theory.
As a researcher, McLean's specialty is music theory, with expertise in Schenkerian theory and analysis and the music of the new Viennese School, especially Alban Berg. Some of his current research focuses on the emotional impact of music on the listener and the examination of the musical-structural determinants of psycho-physiological responses such as musical frisson or the chill factor. He is a strong champion of interdisciplinary research and an international speaker on trends in higher education in music.
McLean is a stellar administrator and fundraiser who played a key role in securing support from a variety of sources towards the creation of McGill's New Music Building and its Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Music Media and Technology (CIRMMT). The centre brings together creative and performing musicians and scientists from diverse fields to investigate the technology of music and music as a technology for human expression. He was also instrumental in securing the Schulich naming gift for the school.
During his term as dean, McLean has continued his teaching, supervision and research activities. His tenure has seen a significant increase in the quality and quantity of funded research outcomes, including many in music creation and performance. He also helped develop an awards program for full-time and part-time teaching and for recognition of support staff.
Outside the university, McLean remains engaged in professional organizations such as the Society for Music Theory, the American Musicological Society and the Association of European Conservatories and is a past chair of the standing committee of member institutions of the Canadian University Music Society. McLean is also active as a community leader in developing links with professional arts organizations and charities, notably Centraide (the United Way). In his Inkless Wells blog of Jan. 6, 2010, Maclean's magazine columnist Paul Wells described McLean as "perhaps one of the most successful faculty heads in any discipline in any university in the past decade."
"I am honoured to be returning to my alma mater as dean," said McLean. "I hope to build on U of T's historical and current strengths and look forward to working with faculty, staff, students and the community to help the Faculty of Music and higher education in music in Toronto realize their full national and international leadership potential."
Professor Cheryl Misak, vice-president and provost, expressed her pleasure at welcoming McLean back to U of T. "Dean McLean has shown himself to be an outstanding administrator who has very successfully promoted the values of teaching, research and performance," she said. "I know he'll use his talents to ensure that we raise the bar in all these areas. I join the Faculty of Music in welcoming him home to the University of Toronto"