Dean Mortenson Announces Retirement

February 16, 2023
Gary Mortenson, D.M.A., dean of the Baylor University School of Music since 2015, announced at a faculty meeting on January 31 that the 2023-2024 academic year will be his final as dean.

Over the next 18 months, Mortenson will dedicate his time to preparing the way for new leadership for the School of Music. Following a year-long sabbatical in the 2024-2025 academic year, he will begin full retirement in summer 2025.

A nationwide search will be conducted for the next dean of the Baylor School of Music during the 2023-2024 academic year.

"Dean Mortenson's commitment to the artistic development of our students and faculty is apparent in both the world-class performances of the School of Music and the success of our graduates," Brickhouse said. "Not only has Dean Mortenson provided outstanding leadership for the School of Music, his contributions to the University and its mission have been very significant. He will be missed both within the School of Music and in the larger Baylor community."

As dean, Mortenson oversees the activities of 65 full-time School of Music faculty and 17 staff who serve the needs of 350 music majors and approximately 500 non-majors who participate in music while pursuing majors in a variety of fields. He places health and wellness issues as a top priority for the School of Music by resourcing seminars, master classes and coaching sessions from experts in the field of musicians' health.

During his inaugural year as dean, Mortenson visioned and created the Semper Pro Musica Solo and Chamber Music Competition to identify the top solo and chamber music talent within the School of Music through two rigorous rounds of competition. The winners, selected by a panel of external judges, were presented in Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall in New York City in late May 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2022. The next competition will take place in 2024.

His service to Baylor has included serving as Interim Provost for Administration from April 2018 through May 2019. In 2020, he served as co-chair of the Commission on Historic Campus Representations, charged by the Board of Regents to review the historical record and context of the University and its early leaders and to evaluate and offer guidance regarding all statues, monuments, buildings and other aspects of the campus within this context. The findings and recommendations of the Commission are helping to tell a more complete story of Baylor's early history and its commitment to nurture and celebrate the increasingly diverse nature of its current and future students.

Before joining Baylor, Mortenson taught for 26 years at Kansas State University, where he served as chair of the Department of Music and the inaugural director of the School of Music, Theatre and Dance. He earned his bachelor's degree in music education from Augustana College, a master's degree in music from Ithaca College, and his Doctor of Musical Arts degree from The University of Texas at Austin.

He was publications editor of the International Trumpet Guild (ITG) and served on the ITG Board of Directors for 12 years. During his tenure as editor, Mortenson represented ITG at major international trumpet competitions and conferences in the U.S. and around the world. In 2014, he received the ITG Award of Merit. Mortenson's research on trumpet and brass pedagogy-related topics has been published in the Instrumentalist, Jazz Educator's Journal, Music Educator's Journal, Medical Problems of Performing Artists and the International Trumpet Guild Journal. He is a member of Pi Kappa Lambda music honor society, a Sigma Alpha Iota National Arts Associate, and a Phi Mu Alpha honorary member.
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