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A dynamic faculty member known for giving the gift of music to students and audiences around the globe has been named the new director of the School of Music at George Mason University.
Linda Apple Monson, Distinguished Service Professor, joined the George Mason faculty in 1999 and served as the managing director of the School of Music and the director of keyboard studies before taking on her current role.
"Linda Monson is a consummate musician, a great teacher, a tireless worker, and an inspirational motivator. What more could one ask for to lead our School of Music?" said Rick Davis, dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts.
“Our music majors get to experience the depth and breadth of music making and music learning,” Monson said. “In my mind, music is one of the greatest gifts you can give someone.”
A recipient of the “Influential Women of Virginia” award in 2014, Monson was named Mason’s Faculty Member of the Year in 2012 and earned Mason’s Teaching Excellence Award in 2009.
“It’s a privilege to serve as director and I will give it my utmost,” she said. “The best is yet to come in our School of Music because of the great faculty and staff, students and team of supporters we have.”
Monson is preceeded by Col. Dennis Layendecker, who now serves as director of orchestral studies.
Her goals in her new role include raising the level of excellence for music performance, increasing music education and increasing the visibility of the school both nationally and internationally.
Increasing the general education offerings of the School of Music will provide more opportunities for non-music majors to study music, Monson said. She feels expanding opportunities for more music ensembles to include non-majors is another way to share music and go beyond the offerings of a lecture-style course on music.
“That ultimately is what’s really compelling to students—making music yourself and with others,” she said.
Having chamber ensembles perform in public campus spaces, such as the Johnson Center, and hosting innovative master classes are other ways to increase the school’s visibility on campus, Monson said, adding that she has a “fierce determination to make good things happen for our school.” That’s evidenced by a project she took on early in her Mason career, working with former Mason Board of Visitors rector Sidney Dewberry to make Mason an All-Steinway School in 2007.
“You must figure it out, collaborate with your team and then work hard together to make great things happen,” she said.
“The director can provide leadership and inspiration, but it’s the entire team that helps make wonderful things happen,” she added. “It’s a shared vision for our School of Music. I want to turn our collective dreams into reality.”