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Colson will lead School of Music

May 31, 2007

KALAMAZOO--Educator, performer and composer Dr. David J. Colson has been chosen to serve as the eighth director of Western Michigan University's School of Music. He will take office July 1.

As the school's new leader, Colson will oversee faculty and staff as well as direct all finances and operations. He also will be active in recruitment and community and donor relations. Members of the search committee say Colson's broad range of experiences uniquely qualifies him not only to understand the aspirations of students and faculty, as well as the extended University community, but also to bring these aspirations to fruition.

"We think that Dr. Colson will bring to the position new insights and initiatives that will enable all aspects of the program to evolve in what is recognized as one of the nation's premiere music schools," says Dr. Robert Spradling, chair of the search committee and professor of music at WMU.

Colson joins WMU from California State University, Chico, where he was chair of the Department of Music and held the David and Helen Lantis University Chair, the university's first endowed professorship. He taught music theory and composition courses. Professional musicians throughout the United States and Europe have performed and recorded Colson's compositions, which are released on MMC Recordings and Red Mark, and published by Avera Music Press. He is a fellow of the MacDowell art colony in Peterborough, N.H., and is an invited composer at the Colorado College New Music Symposium each summer.

He also has performed extensively as a conductor and a percussionist. He was music director and conductor of the Chico Symphony Orchestra as well as a resident conductor for various other orchestras. He recently conducted a recording of George Crumb's "Ancient Voices of Children," which was nominated for a 2006 Grammy award. He was a percussionist with the Toledo Symphony and Northwood orchestras, and has performed with the Houston Symphony, Houston Ballet, American Ballet Theatre and Sacramento symphony orchestras, among others.

Colson holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in composition from Rice University, where he was awarded the Sallie Shepard Perkins Prize for highest achievement. He received a bachelor's degree from the University of Michigan and a master's degree from the University of Iowa.

He follows a long line of passionate and dedicated musicians who have led WMU's School of Music. The legacy began with Harper C. Maybee in 1913, and continued with Dr. Elwyn Carter, 1945-65; Dr. Robert Holmes, 1966-72; Dr. Robert Fink, 1972-78; Donald Bullock, 1978-88; Dr. Donald Gibson, 1988-92; and Dr. Richard O'Hearn, 1992-2007.

Media contact: Kevin West, (269) 387-4678, kevin.west@wmich.edu

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