Photo: University of Louisville’s School of Music.

University of Louisville’s School of Music Welcomes New Dean

By Susan Rostov

Entire contents are copyright © 2019 by Susan Rostov. All rights reserved.

Transitions often can be difficult no matter how well planned. Not so with the changing of the guards at the University of Louisville’s School of Music. After 17 years as dean, Dr. Chris Doane’s last day was June 28. July 1 Dr. Teresa Reed began her tenure. The two worked together for two weeks to make the transition seamless.

Dr. Teresa Reed. Photo provided by Dr. Reed.

In a long interview with both parties, I came away convinced the successful transition is a result of both Doane and Reed sharing philosophy and vision for the future of the School of Music. The conversation had its own rhythm. Both have the students’ interest at heart. Dr. Reed is well aware of Doane’s contributions and her goal is to build on his legacy. More on that later.

Reed’s lifelong passion with music began with her attendance in a Pentecostal church in Gary, Indiana where she grew up. Her formal education includes a BA degree from Valparaiso, a Master in Music Theory from the University of Tulsa, and a Doctor of Philosophy with a major in Music Theory, minors in Music History, Literature and African American Studies, the latter being from Indiana University. Her instrument of choice is the saxophone.

While Dr. Reed has served in many academic and administrative capacities—e.g., professor of music and associate dean of the Henry Kendall College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Tulsa, Director of the School of Music at the University of Tulsa, she also is the author of two books, “The Jazz Life of Dr.Billy Taylor” and “The Holy Profane: Religion in Black Popular Music”.

All jazz lovers remember with great reverence, Dr. Taylor. The story of how this came about is quite amazing. James McBride—yes, the James McBride with Louisville roots—who wrote The Color of Water, called her totally out of the blue on behalf of Dr. Taylor who was looking for a biographer. They had both targeted Dr. Reed as the best candidate. Of course, she was up to the task. While she only saw Dr. Taylor twice, she had many extended phone interviews with him.

Dr.Chris Doane. Photo: UofL School of Music

Dr. Reed is clear and concise in expressing her expectations as dean. First and foremost she is well aware of Chris Doane’s legacy and she has every intention of building on it. Next, she feels a great leader’s role is to encourage others, to provide an environment that allows growth, to create pathways to look forward and experiment with outside-of-the-box thinking. She knows and understands the advantages of technology, it should not dominate us—it should serve us.

All music lovers know that music does heal; thus the UofL Music Therapy program will receive her full attention.

She also plans to be visible in the community both promoting and advocating for music. At the same time, she’s eager to recruit new students, diversifying the composition of the music school.



It would be remiss not to mention the many, many accomplishments of Chris Doane. His tenure as a very unflappable administrator in some trying times has greatly enhanced the Music School. Here are just five for starters:

  • From fall 2002 to fall 2018, the School of Music grew in enrollment of music majors by
    60% to an all-time high of 411 majors and increased the total number of available
    graduate and undergraduate music degrees and the range of music courses for study by
    general students.
  • Over the same time period, 40 music endowments were added, and music endowments
    held within and outside the UofL Foundation accounting for approximately $1 million in
    music scholarships and expenses annually.
  • International affiliations for the School of Music have grown to include institutions in
    Europe, Central, and South America, as well as invited performances in Asia, Europe,
    Central and South America. Grants awarded to the School of Music by the U.S
    Department of Education and the Library of Congress Open World Leadership Center
    have enabled exchange music student programs in Brazil and Russia over multiple years,
    with new programs added in Spain, Costa Rica, and Poland since 2016.
  • Every major music ensemble has presented at national and international professional
    meetings, with the Cardinal Singers earning international recognition as one of the most
    successful collegiate mixed choirs in the world. Music faculty and student ensembles
    have performed in prestigious venues throughout the U.S., including five appearances in
    NYC’s Carnegie Hall since 2006.
  • The National Association of Schools of Music have reaccredited the University of
    Louisville through two, 10-year reaccreditation cycles in 2006 and 2016 and approved
    for listing all new music degrees developed, while the American Music Therapy
    Association has renewed “approved” status for UofL Music Therapy degrees, a
    prerequisite for the program.

So the baton has been passed. Luckily Chris and his family love Louisville and will be using it as their base. Chances are we may even get to see more of him at the many musical offerings at UofL. Speaking of which, how often do you check out the School of Music website for a schedule of events. Most of these concerts are free and the students very much like to have people in the audience. Comstock Hall has glorious acoustics and comfortable seats. AND so… the beat goes on; the beat goes on.


Susan Rostov has been  a public relations professional and the owner of s.r.p.r for more than thirty years. She has been active in the cultural life of Louisville her entire life.