Eileen Strempel named new dean of UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music

3 min read
Eileen Strempel
Eileen Strempel (Courtesy Eileen Strempel)
Eileen Strempel
Eileen Strempel (Courtesy Eileen Strempel)

Eileen Strempel, opera singer and professor of voice in the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, has been named inaugural dean of the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music, effective July 8.

“The Herb Alpert School of Music weaves together UCLA’s celebrated scholarly brilliance and performance excellence. Its rich diversity mirrors that of the global reach of the city in which it is embedded,” Strempel said. “Both as a performer and as an entrepreneur, Herb Alpert has been instrumental in fostering this global reach, and it will be an honor to lead a school that bears his name. I am grateful to the search committee and to Executive Vice Chancellor Scott Waugh and Chancellor Gene Block for the opportunity to serve as the school’s inaugural dean in our nation’s top public urban research university.”

An accomplished scholar and performer, Strempel has served as senior vice provost for academic affairs (2015–18), acting associate provost for faculty affairs and strategic development (2016–17) and special assistant to the provost (2018). Prior to her appointment at the University of Cincinnati, she held faculty appointments in the department of art and music histories and the department of voice at Syracuse University, where she also served as assistant vice president for academic advancement (2010–15), associate dean of the graduate school (2008–10), director of strategic planning for the College of Arts and Sciences and School of Visual and Performing Arts (2007–08), assistant to the dean and university liaison for the performing arts for the College of Arts and Sciences and School of Visual and Performing Arts (2001–07), and director of the opera program (2000–01). She was also an American Council on Education fellow-in-residence at Colgate University from 2011 to 2012, and was awarded a Kauffman Foundation eProfessorship while at Syracuse.

“Chancellor Block and I are confident that Eileen will provide outstanding leadership as inaugural dean of the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music and that she will be an extraordinary addition to our campus leadership team. We look forward to welcoming her to UCLA this summer,” Waugh announced in an email to campus.

Strempel’s scholarly interests focus on the music of women composers, and her work includes numerous recordings, commissions, articles and edited volumes that examine the political, social and musical contexts of the most influential female composers of our time. An opera singer by training, she has performed with the Bolshoi Opera, Wolf Trap Opera and Opera Theatre St. Louis, as well as with the Chautauqua, Skaneateles and Berkeley Early Music festivals, with roles including Violetta in “La Traviata,” Gilda in “Rigoletto” and the title role in “Lucia di Lammermoor.” She has been featured on eight recordings, including love lies bleeding: songs by Libby Larsen. A Presidential Scholar in the Arts, Strempel is a nationally recognized champion for transfer students and views superb public education as one of the social justice issues of our time. With Stephen Handel, she co-edited the two-volume set “Transfer and Transformation: Fostering Transfer Student Success.” They are currently at work on their third book about transfer students.

Strempel is a board member of the National Institute for the Study of Transfer Students, the Cincinnati Opera and the Cincinnati Song Initiative. She is also active as a member of the American Council on Education Council of Fellows. She received her bachelor of music from the University of Rochester’s Eastman School of Music and her master of music and doctor of music from Indiana University.

Waugh thanked the search/advisory committee members for assembling an outstanding pool of candidates and for their roles in recruiting Strempel. David Schaberg, dean of the Division of Humanities in the UCLA College, served as committee chair. Other members were:

  • Lily Chen-Hafteck – professor of music
  • Nina Sun Eidsheim – professor of musicology
  • Alicia Gaspar de Alba – professor of Chicana and Chicano studies, English and gender studies
  • Michael Hackett – professor of theater
  • Peter Kazaras – professor of music; director of Opera UCLA
  • Mark Kligman – chair, UCLA Department of Ethnomusicology; professor of ethnomusicology and musicology; Mickey Katz Endowed Chair in Jewish Music

“I also wish to thank Judi Smith for her key role in establishing the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music as the University of California’s first standalone school of music,” Waugh said in his email, “and for her exceptional leadership as interim and founding dean during the past three years.”

This announcement was originally published on the UCLA Newsroom