Peter Landgren suspects that what he'll be doing for
the next year may not be all that different from what he's
been doing for the past 27.
While running a school is hardly the same thing as
performing in a symphony orchestra, the similarities, he
said, are difficult to ignore.
"Being a musician is about collaboration," said
Landgren, who will become interim director of the
Institute when Robert Sirota departs at the end of
September to assume the presidency of the Manhattan School
"If a member of an ensemble is off in their own little
world, it's obvious to anyone who hears them perform," he
said. "I will look at my new role with Peabody in the same
way that I would look at changing seats in an ensemble that
already performs at a very high level. My part in that
ensemble will change but not my desire for collaboration
and a team approach."
Landgren, a Peabody faculty member since 1981, joined
the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in 1978 and three years
later became associate principal horn, a position he still
holds. He will serve as Peabody's interim director for the
2005-2006 academic year, until Sirota's successor is
identified. He and Sirota already have begun working
together to ensure a smooth transition.
"Peter has emerged as a real leader among the faculty
of the Peabody," President William Brody said. "As head of
the Peabody Change Team for two years, he has been
instrumental in designing a plan to restructure the
institute's administration and faculty governance, changing
the way that Peabody works and better aligning its
operations with its mission to be one of the world's great
"Peter's choice as interim director ensures
continuation of the incredible momentum Peabody has
established under Bob Sirota," said Provost Steven Knapp.
In Sirota's 10 years as director, the institute completed a
transformational $27 million renovation of its Mount Vernon
Place campus. It has revamped its curriculum, established
closer ties to other institutions in Baltimore and
collaborated in the founding of the Yong Siew Toh
Conservatory in Singapore.
In addition to heading the Peabody Change Team,
Landgren has been co-chair of the institute's Undergraduate
Committee and a member of its Academic Council. He teaches
both graduate and undergraduate horn players, coaches
chamber music ensembles and conducts sectional rehearsals
for both of Peabody's orchestras. In 2003, he won the
Alumni Association Excellence in Teaching Award.
His mandate as interim director, Landgren said, is to
see Sirota's change effort through to completion, maintain
Peabody's momentum in raising funds and enhancing its
reputation, and--working with the deans, faculty and
staff--oversee the institute's educational and artistic
Landgren, who will take a one-year leave of absence
from the BSO while continuing to teach at Peabody and play
occasional chamber music concerts, has long been a student
"Being such a longtime member of the symphony and of
Peabody, I've noticed how leadership is so important not
just to smooth operation of an organization but also to how
happy people are, how engaged they are and how successful
the organization is," he said.
"I've noticed examples of good leadership and less
than good leadership," he said. "Bob Sirota has been a
pillar of strong leadership."
Though heading the Change Team had whetted his
interest in moving into administrative roles, he said, "I
didn't see my first position as being interim director of
Peabody. The rapidity with which this is all happening is a
No problem there, though. Whenever stress levels
escalate, Landgren will just keep in mind those parallels
between the next year and the past 27.
"It has to do with fear or, hopefully, the lack of
it," he said. "If a horn player is up on stage and is at
all questioning the decisions he's about to make as a
performer, it's obvious to everyone on stage and in the
audience and to the music critic who's writing about it the
"It has to do with confidence, with knowledge of
oneself," he said. "That confidence and self-knowledge,
when combined with collaboration, is also critical to