Johns Hopkins Gazette: May 15, 1995

NYU's Robert Sirota To Succeed 
Pierce As Director of Peabody Institute

By Dennis O'Shea

     Technique. Performance. Artistry. These have been the
primary concerns of American conservatories of music for nearly
200 years. The goal has been to train, to nurture, great
soloists, conductors and composers.

     And that, says Robert Sirota, incoming director of the
Peabody Institute, should always be a major focus of a
conservatory. But perhaps not the only focus.

     Dr. Sirota, who will take charge at Peabody in September,
says that conservatories are ready to do more. They should, he
said, be active in their communities, promoting art as a
humanizing force in society.

     They should encourage their students to be excited about
teaching and communicating about music, even beyond the concert
stage and recital hall.

     And they should, he said, foster student insight into being
human, the kind of insight that empowers great art.

     "I would hope Peabody could be a place where we could
explore possible new models for artistic training," he said, "so
that the 19th-century model of the conservatory--which we all
have been in love with--will give way to some new generation of

     In fact, Dr. Sirota said, Peabody is already becoming such a
place. The conservatory's faculty, he said, is pushing new
frontiers; the Peabody Preparatory is deeply involved in
Baltimore and the region; the university administration
encourages new links with other Hopkins divisions that expand the
conservatory's capabilities.

     "This is a wonderful place for really pursuing that
relationship between great artistry and humanity," Dr. Sirota
said. "All of the pieces are in place for something extraordinary
to happen in advancing the arts in society through Peabody."

     Dr. Sirota, an active composer, conductor and teacher as
well as administrator, comes to Peabody from New York University,
where he is chairman of the Department of Music and Performing
Arts Professions. Previously, he was director of the Boston
University School of Music.

     He said Robert O. Pierce, who is retiring after 13 years as
director and 37 years on the faculty, has done "a great service
to music and the arts in this country" by restoring the once
nearly bankrupt Peabody to financial health and artistic

     "What Bob Pierce did was to save it from financial collapse,
with the help of Johns Hopkins and the state of Maryland," Dr.
Sirota said. "I feel I'm building on a secure foundation in terms
of who is in place in the faculty and in terms of the current
condition of Peabody."

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