By Adriana Aumen, College of Arts and Sciences
PULLMAN, Wash. – Dean Luethi, associate professor and coordinator of music education in Washington State University’s School of Music, was named the new director of the school effective April 1.
Greg Yasinitsky, Regents professor and school director since 2011, will resume his faculty position and award-winning work in the jazz studies program, teaching saxophone, composition, arranging and music theory.
Luethi brings to the directorship extensive experience in drawing disparate voices together — literally and figuratively — for harmonious outcomes. In addition to teaching choral music methods and choral conducting, he directs WSU’s Tenor/Bass Choir and Treble Choir.
His goals for the school include continuing to build a strong sense of community and support for achieving both individual and collective short-, mid-, and long-term goals, he said.
‘Bright future ahead’
“The School of Music exhibits success in every classroom, faculty office and practice and performance space. Together, our students and faculty will continue to achieve in research and creative activities, using new technologies to reach a wider audience, having a larger impact on recruitment and retention, and gaining greater visibility for the school and WSU,” he said.
“The energy in the School of Music is palpable. You see the skip in students’ steps as they walk away after ensemble rehearsals. You hear students hum the latest examples they heard in music history class. And faculty are creating ad hoc student ensembles because our students want more collaborative experiences. The students are excited about their work, excited about their growth, and we see a bright future ahead,” Luethi said.
“Dean has great ideas for enhancing the school’s community of faculty and students,” said Larry Hufford, interim dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “I value his commitment to the engaged learning environments modelled by the school, and I believe students will continue to find its programs beneficial, attractive and satisfying.”
Before Luethi joined WSU faculty in 2010, he was a visiting instructor at the University of South Florida (USF) in Tampa. He earned his doctor of musical arts degree in choral music at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and his master of music degree in choral conducting at USF. His bachelor of music degree in vocal music education is from the University of Wisconsin–Green Bay.
Luethi has presented research and guest conducted at conferences and institutions across the globe, from Hawaii to Cuba, Newfoundland, Austria, and Poland. He is sought after as a guest conductor, adjudicator, and clinician and has been published in a number of distinguished publications, including Choral Journal and Music Educators Journal.
In 2016, Luethi served as assistant conductor for the Classical Music Festival in Eisenstadt, Austria. He is currently working on a virtual choral conducting series for the National Choir Council of the National Association for Music Educators for distribution to choral conductors in India.
Great advances, new dimensions ahead
“We very much appreciate Greg Yasinitsky’s accomplishments as music school director,” Hufford said. “Great advances under his leadership include the addition of engaging faculty and important UCORE courses that are helping students across the University gain new dimensions in their relationships with music. Greg is an innovative and successful musician, composer and educator, and we look forward to further significant accomplishments in his career,” he said.
“It was an honor to serve as director of the School of Music and I’m confident that the school will continue to flourish under Dean Luethi’s leadership,” Yasinitsky said. “I’m delighted to return to teaching and look forward to working closer with students in classes, ensembles, and private lessons. While director, I remained active professionally, but there is no question that I will now have more time to pursue additional professional scholarly activities.”
Yasinitsky recently was awarded the American Prize in Composition for his Jazz Concerto, and he has garnered numerous new commissions and invitations for recording projects and performances in Asia, Europe, Canada and throughout the United States.