The Faculty of Music evolves into 2000s with Deans Paul Pedersen, David Beach, and Gage Averill #tbt

PAUL PEDERSEN, Dean 1990-1995

After graduating from the Faculty of Music with a composition Master’s degree in 1961, Paul Pedersen taught math and science classes at Parkdale Collegiate in west end Toronto. He eventually went to McGill to teach while completing his PhD in musicology in 1970.

Paul Pedersen, photo by John Winiarz

At the Faculty of Music at McGill he chaired the theory department and was dean there from 1976 to 1986. In 1990 he returned to Toronto to became Dean, a position he held until 1995. During his time (in which he also managed deep cuts from central UofT administration) he implemented the Jazz Studies Program and completed the installation of a new recording studio. Professor Pedersen retired July 1, 2001.

Collection summary of Paul Pedersen archives at McGill

Paul Pedersen Canadian Encyclopedia entry

DAVID BEACH, Dean 1996-2004

Following receiving his PhD from Yale, David Beach taught at there for seven years, where he also served as Director of Undergraduate Studies in Music. Following a one-year appointment at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York, he accepted a position at the Eastman School of Music, University of Rochester, where he taught for twenty-two years.

At Eastman, he served for several years as Chair of the Department of Music Theory and for three years as Dean of Graduate Studies at the University of Rochester.

In the words of Professor Beach:

I remember very clearly that day in September 1995 sitting in my office at the Eastman School of Music thinking ‘I’ve done this before’ – I had just returned to my old job as chair of the department of Music Theory after four years as Dean of Graduate Studies at the University of Rochester – when the phone rang. It was Edward Laufer (MusBac 1957, MusM comp), a long-time professional colleague, urging me to apply for the position of Dean of the Faculty of Music at the University of Toronto. What timing! I was ready for a new challenge, so I sent along a copy of my C.V., and one thing led to another until, next thing I knew, [my wife] Marcia and I were headed for Toronto.

While he was Dean, Professor Beach greatly expanded the graduate program including adding the first PhD program in Music Education in Ontario, growing the composition and ethnomusicology programs, as well as the performance programs for conducting and opera.

Dean David Beach speaking at the Student Awards Reception, 2000

Also of note was the growth of fundraising at the Faculty under Prof Beach, where over $14 million was raised, of which $5.5 million was for scholarships for students.

Professor Beach is known primarily as a leading proponent of the theories of Heinrich Schenker, an Austrian musician who died in 1935. Professor Beach has published over forty articles in leading academic journals and published/edited several books.

GAGE AVERILL, Dean 2004-2007

From driving a tractor to becoming Dean, Prof Gage Averill has had a diverse career.

From the Vancouver Sun in 2010: “[Gage Averill] dropped out of the University of Wisconsin in the early 1970s to play fiddle in an Irish band and do community organizing. He also started one of the first world music radio shows in the States, relocated to Seattle, and paid the bills driving a school bus and a tractor.

He hurt his back, which led him to return to school. In Wisconsin he had studied forestry, but at the University of Washington he found his true calling, ethnomusicology. He became an expert on Haitian music and embarked on a sterling academic career that has taken him from Columbia University to Wesleyan, New York University and the University of Toronto.”

Prof Averill joined the Faculty in 2004 and embarked on a five-year strategic plan to enhance the student experience at the Faculty of Music. He established the comprehensive degree option and expanded graduate programs. His work on the plan ended when he was appointed Vice Principal Academic and Dean at University of Toronto-Mississauga in October 2007. Prof Averill was later nominated for a 2010 Grammy Award for Best Album Notes for his project, Alan Lomax in Haiti: Recordings For The Library of Congress, 1936-1937.