Pianist, composer and veteran music educator Jeffrey Sharkey has been appointed director of the Peabody Institute, the music conservatory of The Johns Hopkins University.
Sharkey, now dean of the Cleveland Institute of Music, will join Johns Hopkins on Oct. 1. He succeeds Robert Sirota, who last year became president of the Manhattan School of Music.
"An accomplished pianist, composer, and chamber musician, Jeff Sharkey has been an innovative leader in music education for 15 years," said William R. Brody, president of Johns Hopkins, who recommended Sharkey's appointment to the university's board of trustees. "He will bring extraordinary energy, vision, and experience to an institute that, thanks to its splendid renovation, its steadily growing pool of applicants, and the visibility it achieved under Bob Sirota's outstanding leadership, is truly poised for greatness."
Sharkey became dean of the Cleveland Institute in 2001, serving as the chief academic officer of its college division. At Peabody, he will lead both the college-level conservatory — one of the nation's leading professional music schools with 650 students and nearly 250 faculty members — and the Peabody Preparatory, a community music school with 1,800 child and adult students.
"It is clear to me that Peabody's faculty and staff have the commitment, expertise, and desire to make the Peabody the destination of choice for the finest musicians in this country and abroad," Sharkey said.
"Johns Hopkins does so much to advance the mind and body, and Peabody helps to provide Hopkins with an artistic heart and, through music, to advance the spirit," he said. "Peabody, Johns Hopkins, and the city of Baltimore form a partnership with great potential. I look forward to continuing to promote Baltimore as great city for the arts and I am excited about joining this vibrant community."
Under Sharkey's leadership, CIM has increased applications by 25 percent. He has recruited distinguished faculty members, developed new structures for student affairs and advising, and created exchange programs with the London's Royal Academy of Music and the Paris Conservatoire. He has strengthened CIM's close ties with Case Western Reserve University and works closely with the institute's president on a $40 million capital campaign that includes funding for a new recital hall and a new education building now under construction.
Before joining CIM, Sharkey was director of music at the Purcell School in London from 1996 to 2001 and head of composition and academic music at Wells Cathedral School, also in England, from 1990 to 1996.
He is a 1986 graduate of the Manhattan School of Music and earned a master of music degree in composition from Yale University in 1988 and a master of philosophy from Cambridge University a year later. His teachers have included pianists John Browning, Boris Berman and Peter Frankl and composers Aaron Copland and John Corigliano.
Sharkey was a founding member of the Pirasti Piano Trio, which recorded with ASV Records in the United Kingdom and toured throughout Europe and the United States. Since returning to America, he has played in Trio Zannetti and performed regularly with members of the Cleveland Orchestra and CIM faculty. His compositions have been performed by the St. Louis Symphony under the direction of Leonard Slatkin and in chamber concerts in the United States and Britain.
Sharkey is married to Alison Wells, who will join the Peabody cello faculty. They have three daughters, Jessica, 13; Olivia, 10; and Florence, 6.
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