Toni Marie Montgomerydean of Henry and Leigh Bienen School of Music at Northwestern University since 2003, will step down at the end of the 2022-23 academic year after a distinguished two-decade tenure, Vice President Kathleen Hagerty announced today. As Northwestern’s first African-American dean and the first female dean of its music school, Montgomery launched a host of initiatives that increased Bienen School’s visibility and enhanced its status as one of the top schools. country music.
“It has been a true honor to serve as dean of this great school,” said Montgomery. “I am extremely proud of the continued accomplishments of our faculty, staff, students, and alumni, and appreciate the support of Northwestern presidents Henry Bienen and Morty Schapiro.”
Montgomery’s most enduring legacy is the world-class Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Center for the Musical Arts, which opened in 2015. Offering breathtaking views of Lake Michigan, the architectural gem of 155 000 square feet also houses three exceptional performance halls. as faculty studios, administrative offices, and rehearsal and practice spaces. Bringing the lakeside Bienen School community together for the first time in four decades, the spectacular building fulfilled a dream shared by all former deans of the North West School of Music.
“I am thrilled that for generations to come, Bienen School students and faculty will enjoy studying, practicing and performing in the beautiful facilities of the Ryan Center for the Musical Arts,” Montgomery said.
Montgomery will continue to be Dean for the current academic year and will step down on August 31, 2023. She will continue to be a Full Professor. The university will soon appoint a committee to launch a global search for Montgomery’s successor, Hagerty said.
“For two decades, Toni-Marie Montgomery has consistently pushed the Bienen School’s standards of excellence ever higher,” Hagerty said. “The resulting advancements in scholarship and performance, facilities and the core student experience under his leadership will be felt for decades. The year ahead will provide us with many opportunities to express our gratitude to Dean Montgomery for all she has done for the Bienen School and for Northwestern.
Montgomery molded the school’s faculty, hiring two-thirds of its tenured and tenure-eligible faculty. Under his leadership, the Bienen School has developed many programs to increase its visibility in the Chicago area as well as nationally and internationally. As the school’s profile has grown, it has increasingly attracted students of the highest caliber and admissions have become even more selective, with only 10% of applicants accepted each year in recent years. years.
“Toni-Marie Montgomery has proven herself to be one of our best and most respected leaders over the past two decades,” said President Emeritus Morton Schapiro, who left office Sept. 12. “She has strengthened the Bienen School on every level and made it one of the best places in the world to develop new generations of exceptional artists. She has also woven the school more fully into the cultural fabric of Chicago. , to the benefit of the northwest and the region.
The creation of two biennial international awards has brought renowned musicians to campus for performances and residencies. The $50,000 Jean Gimbel Lane Prize for Piano Performance features internationally renowned pianists in performances and masterclasses. For the $100,000 Michael Ludwig Nemmers Award for Music Compositionthe Dean has partnered with the world-renowned Chicago Symphony Orchestra to present compositions by the illustrious award winners.
Also in Chicago, Montgomery arranged for the Bienen School to present annual concerts at the popular Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park and partnered with classical music radio station WFMT-FM for its nationwide broadcast series. national “Music from Northwestern”. In the nation’s capital, the Bienen School has been featured in the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Conservatory Project, a showcase for top student artists from the nation’s leading music schools. With Schapiro’s support, the school shared the talents of its students on the world stage with Northwestern University’s first-ever symphony orchestra. Asia Tourincluding concerts and alumni events in Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong.
Montgomery spearheaded the creation of many Bienen School programs that greatly enhanced the student experience. The renowned Dover Quartet, engaged as the School of Music’s premier quartet in residence, give annual performances and train student chamber ensembles. With the launch of the Skyline Piano Artist Series and the Tichio-Finnie Vocal Master Class Series, the school has increased its offering of on-campus residencies by prestigious guest artists. The Bienen School has been at the forefront of the use of technology in music, and its online offering Davee Media Library broadcasts concerts, conferences and master classes around the world. Since 2007, all students in Northwestern’s Doctor of Musical Arts program have received full scholarships, a distinction shared with only two other US music schools.
During Montgomery’s tenure, the Bienen School increasingly focused on new music, notably through the founding of Northwestern’s new music institute. This multi-faceted center for performance and scholarship regularly brings leading composers and performers to campus for festivals, concerts, residencies and symposia as well as its biennial Northwestern University New Music Conference (NUNC!) . The school’s Contemporary Music Ensemble, the Bienen Contemporary/Early Vocal Ensemble and other groups presented numerous world premieres, including commissioned works, and the Northwestern Opera Theater gave regional premieres of five operas by eminent contemporary composers.
Gaining increased support for the school was another achievement of Montgomery’s deanery. In 2008, the School of Music was renamed the Henry and Leigh Bienen School of Music in honor of Northwestern’s outgoing president and his wife, and donations from trustees, alumni, and friends of the University have created a endowment that continues to fund scholarships and new initiatives. More recently, the Bienen school exceeded its ambitions fundraising goal for We will do it. The Northwest Campaign. In response to the school’s campaign priority, Contributions created 23 new scholarships and merit-aid scholarships to recruit and retain outstanding music students. As an additional legacy to the school, Montgomery established a piano scholarship in her name and that of her late mother.
To further the school’s diversity, equity and inclusion goals, Montgomery led the introduction of a new undergraduate musicology core curriculum that provides students with a more inclusive and diverse representation of the music history. The recently inaugurated Black Composers Showcase series expands the repertoires performed and studied at school and educates students and the wider community about the important contributions of composers of color. The music of black American composers has long been a priority for Montgomery as a performer and educator, including as a founding member of the Black Music Repertory Ensemble at Columbia College Chicago, and she is regularly invited to participate in public conversations and to media interviews on the subject.
Montgomery is currently secretary of the board of directors of the Gateways Music Festival and a member of the board of directors of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association and the Ravinia Festival. An accomplished pianist, she continues to perform on campus as well as across the United States and abroad.