Acclaimed Musician, Composer and Educator Shelton G. Berg Named Frost School of Music Dean


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CORAL GABLES, FL - The University of Miami has announced the appointment of Shelton G. Berg as the new dean of the Phillip and Patricia Frost School of Music. Berg, the McCoy/Sample Endowed Professor of Jazz Studies in the Thornton School of Music at the University of Southern California (USC) will replace William Hipp, who has served as dean since 1983. He is an internationally recognized pianist, composer, arranger, and educator and is widely acclaimed for his energetic and innovative approaches to jazz performance, composition, and pedagogy.

University of Miami President Donna Shalala praised Berg's hire. “We are incredibly fortunate to have Shelly Berg join the University community as our new dean of the Frost School of Music. Not only is he a world-class jazz pianist, but he has the administrative experience and the vision necessary to lead the Frost School as it meets the challenges of the 21st century," she said.

Berg joined the Thornton School of Music faculty in 1991, and as chair of the Department of Jazz Studies from 1994 to 2002, he is credited with raising the department's profile to one of the top jazz studies programs in the nation. He conducts the acclaimed Thornton Jazz Orchestra and has spearheaded many of the department's successful community outreach programs. He is a past president of the International Association of Jazz Educators (IAJE) and he received the association's prestigious Lawrence Berk Leadership Award in 2000. He is also the 2003 recipient of the Los Angeles Jazz Society's Educator of the Year award. His groundbreaking book, Jazz Improvisation: The Goal-Note Method, is considered one of the seminal texts on the subject, and his Chop-Monster improvisation series provide an innovative approach to teaching improvisation at a beginning level.

Frost School of Music benefactor and University of Miami Trustee Dr. Phillip Frost expressed full support for Berg's selection. “Pat and I are pleased with the search committee's choice of Shelly Berg from an extremely robust pool of candidates. His appointment represents another turning point for the Frost School of Music that will elevate it to new heights. Having Shelly as part of Miami's music scene will add another dimension to our top talent in the area of jazz. I know our faculty and students will enjoy working with Shelly, and we all welcome him and his wife, Julia, with extreme warmth and enthusiasm," said Dr. Frost.

Thomas J. LeBlanc, UM's Executive Vice President and Provost, notes that “Shelly Berg brings to the Frost School a deep appreciation for its distinctive strengths and the opportunities for its enhancement. I have no doubt he will bring the same passion and creativity he exhibits in his jazz performances to the leadership of the Frost School."

A virtuosic jazz pianist, Berg has performed and recorded with top music industry professionals, including Chicago, KISS, Richard Marx, Steve Miller, Joe Cocker, Morten Lauridson, Carole King, Patti Austin, Monica Mancini, Mickey Gilley, Louie Bellson, Ray Charles, and the Count Basie Orchestra. As a composer/arranger he has contributed and/or orchestrated music for major motion picture and television studios, including 20th Century Fox, Warner Brothers Pictures, ABC, CBS, and NBC networks, and HBO. He has recorded with and/or contributed music to such major record companies as Sony, Warner Brothers, EMI, CBS and Capital. He has written for the Royal Philharmonic, American Symphony, as well as orchestras in Los Angeles, Houston, Boston, Chicago and Atlanta. In 2001, Mr. Berg orchestrated “Japan Concerto," commemorating the tenth anniversary of the Emperor of Japan's coronation. The concerto was performed to a live audience of 100,000 and televised to millions. He also was commissioned to compose “Turn It On," the official theme of the 1986 Olympic Festival.

Berg and his wife, Julia, are preparing for their move from California to Miami over the summer, and he is excited about starting the new academic year at UM. “I am very enthusiastic about leading one of the country's great music schools in a dynamic and growing university. With an eye towards the future, I look forward to working with our distinguished faculty and students to redefine what the music school of the 21st century should be," said Berg.

Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Berg was accepted into the gifted program at the Cleveland Institute of Music at age 6 and was performing professionally at 13. He received a Bachelor of Music and Master of Music in piano performance from the University of Houston. From 1979 to 1981, he was Chair of Instrumental Music at San Jacinto College North in North Shore, Texas. He was Chair of Instrumental and Commercial Music at the San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas from 1981 to 1991.

Michael Halleran, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, chaired the search committee that selected Berg from among a highly competitive field of candidates. Berg will begin his tenure as dean of the Frost School of Music effective June 1, 2007.

The Frost School of Music at the University of Miami ranks among the most comprehensive and innovative music schools in the nation. Building on its original foundation as a conservatory, the school has pioneered new curricula and was the first in the nation to offer degrees in Music Business and Entertainment Industries and Music Engineering Technology. The School was also among the first to offer degrees in Studio Music and Jazz, Music Therapy, and Musical Theatre. Combined with the traditional areas of concentration, these programs offer students one of the widest choices of career programs available. For more information on the school, call 305-284-2241.

This story appears courtesy of All About Jazz Publicity.
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