Renowned conductor Tamara Brooks appointed associate dean at Syracuse University
Renowned conductor Tamara Brooks appointed associate dean at Syracuse UniversityJanuary 17, 2002Judy Holmesjlholmes@syr.edu
Internationally renowned conductor Tamara Brooks was recently appointed senior associate dean for innovation and planning in Syracuse University’s College of Visual and Performing Arts. In her new position, Brooks will pull together a diverse assembly of colleagues to discuss new visions of what a 21st century arts school could be. Brooks was appointed to her new position by interim Dean Carole Brzozowski.
“SU’s College of Visual and Performing Arts has embarked on an extraordinary journey to seek answers to pressing questions: What should art schools look like in the 21st century? What is the role of the arts in the wider University? What is the role of the arts in the community at large? What are the needs of students in this new century?” Brooks says. “This is vital time in the life of the college, and I think it speaks well of SU that it is willing to engage in seeking creative answers to these questions.”
Brooks, who has been on the faculties of the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston and the New School of Music in Philadelphia among others, says that among the challenges SU and other universities face is integrating the teaching of the content of art and the practice of art.
“A university is the right place for artists to learn, but often it is not the right place for artists to practice,” Brooks says. “Universities can bring both content and practice together, but most don’t do it very well. We’re hoping to provoke conversation here that will result in SU doing it better than any place else.”
“Many of the elements of world-class programs already exist within SU’s College of Visual and Performing Arts,” Brooks says. “As we move forward, we need to have a clear vision about what we have to offer and about what students bring to us and what they need. We exist because of the students.”
Brooks is passionate about creating an environment in which the arts are central to the life of the University and the life of society at large. “There is no common understanding in this country or in its universities that the arts are an essential part of our culture,” Brooks says. “As SU considers the arts as central in its life as a community, it’s important that we also understand that art is central to any definition of what it is to be human. Art is essential in each of our lives. It is part of the life of our spirit.”
A graduate of Juilliard with degrees in piano and conducting, Brooks has conducted ensembles and orchestras worldwide, including Israel, Japan, Greece, France, the Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, Austria, England, Italy and Turkey. She was founder and music director of Sequenza, a professional instrumental ensemble devoted to contemporary music; president and head of the orchestral program of the New School of Music in Philadelphia; and music director of the Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia, one of America’s oldest and most distinguished choruses.
Brooks has also taught at Mount Holyoke College, the State University of New York at Albany, Haverford, Bryn Mawr and Hamilton colleges, and the University of Iowa. She heads the Choral Institute of the New York State Summer School for the Arts at Fredonia and has appeared on radio and television in both the United States and abroad, including two PBS specials-“A Taste of Passover” and “A Taste of Chanukah.” She has also appeared on a PBS documentary about the renovation of the New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall, a documentary on Vincent Persichetti and she was the subject of two United States Information Agency films.
The College of Visual and Performing Arts at Syracuse University is dedicated to providing a nurturing environment where faculty help students develop their creative and scholarly abilities. The college contains the School of Art and Design; the Department of Drama; the Rose, Jules R. and Stanford S. Setnor School of Music; the Department of Retail Management and Consumer Studies; and the Department of Speech Communication.
Officially chartered in 1870 as a private, coeducational institution of higher education, Syracuse University is a leading student-centered research university. Syracuse’s 11 schools and colleges share a common mission: to promote learning through teaching, research, scholarship, creative accomplishment and service while embracing the core values of quality, caring, diversity, innovation and service.