Educator and Musician Committed to the Evolution of
American Conservatory Learning

Appointment Marks Beginning of Centennial Planning for MSM

New York, NY, March 13, 2013 – Peter G. Robbins, Chairman, announced today that Dr. James Gandre has been appointed President of Manhattan School of Music. He will assume the position on May 6, 2013. Dr. Gandre, who is currently Provost and Executive Vice President of Roosevelt University in Chicago, is a highly experienced educator with a deep commitment to the development and evolution of American conservatory learning as well as a trained musician with a substantial performance history. James Gandre’s appointment represents a professional homecoming, having served as Dean-Enrollment and Alumni at Manhattan School of Music from 1995-2000.

Dr. Gandre’s accomplishments as a progressive educator, educational executive, and university builder will serve Manhattan School of Music as it enters a period of planning for its centennial celebration in 2018. With his first-hand understanding of musicians and performing artists, James Gandre will bring a unique set of skills to the task of strengthening and expanding conservatory resources to better prepare students for successful lives in music in an increasingly challenging 21st century environment. He is a gifted fundraiser, a proven administrator sensitive to community and civic forces, a skilled advocate of the employment of technology in education, and a visionary leader with a broad knowledge of the history and discourse of the American conservatory, explored in detail in his 2001 Doctoral dissertation.

“James Gandre is the right leader, with the right qualifications, at the right time, to take Manhattan School of Music into the future,” said Peter G. Robbins, Chairman of MSM, on behalf of the Board of Trustees. “In this rapidly changing cultural, musical and economic landscape, the Board was highly drawn to Jim’s ideas to re-shape the educational practices and focus of this venerable music school. He was our unanimous choice. As MSM contemplates the incredible milestone of its centennial, we move forward with great confidence in Jim’s passion and abilities to develop the School’s resources, and re-make the institution into a 21st century hub of higher learning and enrichment. I’d like to thank the MSM Board of Trustees, and especially the Search Committee, for their exemplary work in this process over the past year. I would also like to extend the Board’s special appreciation to Dr. Marjorie Merryman, Vice President for Academics and Performance, who has served with distinction as Interim President during the transition.”

“It would be impossible to overstate the sense of joy and possibility I feel in returning to Manhattan School of Music as its President,” said Dr. James Gandre. “Manhattan School of Music is my professional home, and the opportunity to prepare this truly eminent American conservatory for its centennial is humbling and exciting. To remain vital, today’s conservatory must always be looking forward – working constantly to create fresh solutions for the issues facing musicians and preparing them in the most up-to-date ways for their professional musical lives. With the extraordinarily distinguished faculty at the core of MSM’s programs, and the unparalleled resources and potential of the most philanthropic city in the world, I have a strong sense of optimism and confidence in the future. I want to express my deep gratitude to the MSM Board and to the Search Committee for this honor. I look forward to working with the Trustees and with the many great civic and cultural leaders of New York to create the basis for a transformative and enduring second MSM century.”

“James Gandre is an excellent choice to lead Manhattan School of Music,” said
Glenn Dicterow, Chair of Orchestral Performance, MSM Board member, and Concertmaster of the New York Philharmonic. “In addition to his background as a performing musician, and his indelible professional connection to MSM, he has a next-generation perspective not only on musical education, but on preparing music students for the real world. The Board was so impressed with his accomplishments and ideas, and I know he will usher in a very bright future for this beloved School.”

“I’m thrilled to learn that James Gandre will be following in Robert Sirota’s esteemed footsteps,” said Jane Monheit, Grammy-nominated Jazz vocalist and graduate of Manhattan School of Music. “I know that the tradition of excellence in both artistry and education will flourish in his experienced hands.”

“It is a very exciting time for Manhattan School of Music to welcome home James Gandre, who has an illustrious history with the School, as its President,” said internationally acclaimed baritone and MSM Board member Thomas Hampson. “His abilities shine through his deep knowledge and experience in music education in the United States, and his passion for the greater dialogue of the Arts and Humanities. He is the right leader to face the challenges of joining Education, Technology and the Arts to help mold the future generations of musicians and the music-loving public alike.”

James Gandre is Provost and Executive Vice President of Roosevelt University. As Provost/EVP, he serves as the Chief Academic Officer and Chief Operating Officer of the University.

Before serving as Provost/EVP, Dr. Gandre was the Dean of Chicago College of Performing Arts (CCPA) at Roosevelt University (2000-2007), serving concurrently as Interim Dean of the College of Education from July 2006 through November 2007.

From 1985 to 2000 Dr. Gandre worked at Manhattan School of Music in New York City, where he was most recently Dean of Enrollment and Alumni and where he also taught performance courses.

As a performer, Dr. Gandre has appeared as a vocalist with The Cleveland Orchestra, at New York’s PepsiCo Summerfare with the London Classical Players, with Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, and with members of the San Francisco Symphony in annual Messiah performances. His professional choral engagements include more than 175 performances with the New York Philharmonic, Aix-en-Provence Festival (France), Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra (The Netherlands), Israel Philharmonic, Warsaw Symphony, San Francisco Symphony, Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra, New York Chamber Symphony, American Symphony, Opera Orchestra of New York, Voices of Ascension, and more than 20 commercial recordings and television appearances on EMI/Angel, EMI/Capital, Teldec, Delos, MusicMaster, Warner records, and on ABC, CBS, NBC (TODAY Show), and PBS (Live from Lincoln Center). In these performances, he has worked under such conductors as Leonard Bernstein, Zubin Mehta, Sir Colin Davis, James Levine, Mstislav Rostropovich, Riccardo Chailly, Robert Shaw, Edo de Waart, Christopher Hogwood, Roger Norrington, Eduardo Mata, John Nelson, Carlos Kalmar, and Giuseppe Patane.

Provost Gandre is also a voting member of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (GRAMMYS), has been a writer/consultant for the Peterson’s Guides publication, Professional Degree Programs in the Visual and Performing Arts, and served as the first Chairperson of the Advisory Committee for National Performing and Visual Arts College Fairs presented by the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC). He was a panelist for the William Randolph Hearst Foundation/New World Symphony’s symposium on future multicultural recruitment for the orchestra and the joint Andrew W. Mellon Foundation/Aspen Music Festival panel about bridging the worlds of musical training and the future music performance. He has presented numerous panels on issues affecting LGBT youth and college/high school professionals at national and state conferences and is the Founder and former Co-Chair of the NACAC’s LGBT caucus.

Dr. Gandre has presented lectures at colleges throughout the country, including Curtis Institute of Music, Stanford University, New England Conservatory, Oberlin College, University of Michigan, Peabody Conservatory, Mannes College of Music, the National Orchestra Institute at the University of Maryland, Chautauqua Institution, University of the Arts, University of New Mexico, and Interlochen Arts Academy. In 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008 he served as the external adjudicator for graduation performance examinations at Australia’s University of Melbourne School of Music and in 2003 he was a Regional Selector for the Alberto Vilar Global Fellowship in the Performing Arts at New York University.

He serves on the boards of the Chicago High School for the Arts and the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University. He formerly served as a member of the Board of Directors of Chicago’s Grant Park Music Festival, the Walnut Hill School (MA) Board of Visitors, the Diversity Working Group sponsored by the Elizabeth Morse and Elizabeth Morse Genius Charitable Trusts, and the Board of Directors of The Choir Academy, a charter school of the Chicago Public School system.

Provost Gandre has been a consultant to institutions as diverse as Canada’s Royal Conservatory of Music, Chicago’s Institute for Clinical Social Work, and the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music, and has served as a site team member for American Bar Association’s accreditation division at City University of New York, University of Pittsburgh, University of North Dakota, and Indiana University-Purdue University.

A Wisconsin native, Dr. Gandre earned his Bachelor of Music degree with honors from Lawrence University, a Master of Music degree from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and his Doctor of Education from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He has also attended the Harvard University Institute for Management and Leadership in Education, and has pursued postgraduate music study at the Blossom Festival School of Music/Kent State University and Manhattan School of Music.

Dr. Gandre is married to Dr. Boris Thomas, a psychotherapist in private practice.

About Manhattan School of Music

Manhattan School of Music, located in New York City and a part of the Upper West Side’s academic metropolis that also includes Columbia University and Barnard College, is one of the world’s leading music conservatories. MSM provides its students the highest musical training available, offering classical music, orchestral studies, composition, opera and jazz, as well as a broad-based education in music theory, music history and the humanities. Degrees are granted for the Bachelor of Music, Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees in classical music and jazz, as well as the Postgraduate Diploma, Professional Studies Certificate and Artist Diploma. Manhattan School of Music is dedicated to the personal, artistic, and intellectual development of aspiring musicians, beginning with the youngest members of the student body who attend the precollege all the way through those who are pursuing postgraduate studies. In addition, MSM serves some 2,000 New York City schoolchildren through its arts-in-education program, and another 2,000 students through its critically acclaimed distance learning program.

Founded in 1918 as a community music school, its unique strengths today are: 850 superbly talented undergraduate and graduate students who come from more than 45 countries; a world-renowned artist-teacher faculty; and innovative curricula. Public performances comprise an integral part of students’ lives at MSM. Manhattan School of Music offers more than 500 annual concerts and recitals that are recognized as some of the finest musical events in New York City. Its more than 12,000 alumni are active in every aspect of American musical life and many are among the most illustrious artists performing in opera houses, concert halls, and on jazz stages throughout the world today. Among Manhattan School of Music alumni are Metropolitan Opera stars Susan Graham, Dawn Upshaw and Dolora Zajick; composer John Corigliano; the esteemed pianist Kirill Gerstein; conductor Alondra de la Parra, and jazz artists Stefon Harris, Jason Moran, Jane Monheit and Miguel Zenon, to name just a few.

Manhattan School of Music Presidents / Directors

Janet Schenk  1918 - 1956
John Brownlee
1956 - 1969
George Schick   1969 - 1976
John Crosby 
 1976 - 1986
Gideon W. Waldrop
 1986 - 1989
Peter Simon
 1989 - 1991
Marta Casals Istomin
 1992 - 2005
Robert Sirota
 2005 - 2012

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Debra Kinzler
Director of Public Relations,
Marketing and Publications,
Manhattan School of Music

917 493 4469

Eric Latzky Communications

212 358 0223

Full press release (.pdf)