Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Performing Arts Hires Tenure-Track Professor

In an effort to expand and improve the music department for next fall, Georgetown’s Program in Performing Arts has hired its first tenure-track professor concentrating in a performance discipline.

Rufus Jones, who previously taught at the University of Texas at Austin, will teach classes in the music department at Georgetown in addition to conducting the university orchestra.

According to Jones, his goals for the music department at Georgetown are to help the department create a reputable music major that rivals other universities and to create a stronger and more established orchestra.

“In the next five years, I hope to expand the orchestra from a chamber-size orchestra to a full-size orchestra performing music of all genres with great artistry,” Jones said.

In addition to his responsibilities with the orchestra, Jones will teach new courses such as Classical Composers of African Descent, The Music of William Grant Still and Music of the African Diaspora.

The Georgetown University Orchestra is currently led by an interim conductor, Professor Carl Bly, who also led the Georgetown University Band this past year. He will remain as the band’s conductor next fall.

According to Kyle Brown (COL ’04), president of the Georgetown University Orchestra, the addition of Professor Jones to the faculty is a reflection of the transformation of the Georgetown Orchestra from a primarily student-run organization into a more recognizable academic program. Brown also said that Professor Jones will add more stability to an orchestra that has had three different conductors in the past four years.

“We have never valued playing music as much as we have valued other academic pursuits and [the addition of Professor Jones] will help to round out the college curriculum musically,” Brown said. “It is hard to keep students interested in playing in the orchestra when there is so much uncertainty about the program from year to year. Dr. Jones will make people excited not just to play in orchestra but to play under his direction.”

José Bowen, Caestecker Chair of the Music Program in the Performing Arts, also noted that the addition of a full-time faculty member would not only help increase the stability of the orchestra, but will also gradually enhance the integrity of music as an academic discipline.

“I don’t think there will be huge changes to the orchestra right away,” Bowen said. “But having a full-time faculty member working with them will gradually mean some increased attention and stability.”

Jones began his formal training as an orchestral conductor at the University of Texas at Austin. After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music, Jones continued his formal training at the State University of New York where he received a Master of Music degree in Instrumental Conducting. He was recently invited to the 15th annual National Black Graduate Student Association Conference in Atlanta where he presented a paper on “William Grant Still: A Brief Discussion of the Man, His Music and Re-defining American Nationalism in Music.” Presently, Jones is pursuing his Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Orchestral Conducting at Texas Tech University.

Prior to coming to Georgetown, Jones conducted youth, university and professional orchestras for over 14 years throughout the United States and abroad.

Bowen is optimistic that Jones will continue his success at Georgetown.

“Professor Jones is a marvelous conductor and a wonderful person who is both gentle and musically intense at the same time,” Bowen said. “He has already begun to work on creating a warm community of musicians here.”

In addition to hiring Jones, the music department will also hire a new choir director for the fall semester. According to Ron Lignelli, managing director for the Program in Performing Arts, interviews are already scheduled for this week and a decision on a new director will be made sometime within the next month.

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