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Eastman School appoints new dean


The University of Rochester has named Jamal Rossi the new dean of the Eastman School of Music, pending board approval, the university announced Tuesday. Board approval should come soon, said University President Joel Seligman.

Rossi has been the school's interim dean since September 2013, following the illness and resignation of former dean Douglas Lowry. Lowry died in October.

Rossi, 55, was chosen following an international search by a faculty committee, Seligman said.

"In Jamal we've found the right dean for this time in our future," he said. "We've found someone with a proven record of accomplishment. We've found someone with a steady hand. We've also found someone with talents that will become more evident in the years to come. Jamal is ambitious to take this school still further."

Following a five-year tenure as the dean of the School of Music at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, Rossi joined the Eastman School in 2005 as senior associate dean. He became executive associate dean in 2007.

During his time at Eastman, Rossi supervised the renovation of the Eastman Theatre, construction of the Eastman East Wing, led the School's recent re-accreditation review by the National Association of Schools of Music, and founded RocMusic, a partnership of Rochester arts and education institutions to establish a free after-school music program.

Following his appointment as interim dean, Rossi established new partnership projects with Chamber Music America and the New World Symphony. And a music leadership conference set for the summer of 2015 is also in development.

"One of the things that most excites me about becoming the dean is the opportunity to begin anew the dialogue about the school we desire to be," Rossi said in a speech that emphasized innovation and future possibilities for the Eastman School. "I believe one of the most important responsibilities of the dean is to harness and shape the individual aspirations and motivations of the entire community."

Rossi earned his bachelor of music degree in music education and saxophone performance at Ithaca College in 1980, his master of music degree in saxophone performance and literature at the University of Michigan in 1982, and his doctor of music arts degree at Eastman in 1987.

"The deanship of the Eastman School of Music is a key position in the music world, and the search for a new dean produced for us a remarkable pool of candidates from around the world," said Provost Peter Lennie, in a press release. "But none of the other candidates could offer Jamal Rossi's combination of vision, unwavering commitment to the highest musical and academic values, deep and broad knowledge of the Eastman community and its mission, and the personal integrity and commitment that have earned him the greatest respect from the Eastman faculty. I am delighted that he is willing to continue his leadership at Eastman in his new term as dean."