Jeremy Allen, executive associate dean, named interim dean
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Gwyn Richards, the David Henry Jacobs Bicentennial Dean of the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, will step down June 30, after a successful two-decade career as the school’s leader, to return to the faculty in choral conducting.
During Richards’ tenure, the renowned school’s faculty increased, its facilities expanded, and it received unprecedented support from benefactors, including a $40.6 million gift from Barbara Jacobs and her family, after whom the school is named.
“Dean Richards’ visionary impact on the sensational Jacobs School is already legendary,” said Provost Lauren Robel. “His understanding of the uniqueness of the school and its importance to the world of the arts is what has driven his work. Everything he has done as dean has focused on excellence.”
Richards studied choral conducting with Julius Herford at the then-IU School of Music. After leadership positions with McGill University, Rice University and the University of Southern California, he returned to the School of Music in 1992 as director of admissions. He later served as the associate dean of admissions and financial aid for the Jacobs School, being named interim dean in 1999 and dean in 2001.
Under Richards' leadership, the Jacobs School strengthened its reputation as one of the world’s elite schools of music, adding dozens of internationally renowned musicians to its faculty ranks, hosting several world premiere opera and ballet performances, and welcoming numerous guest performers and teachers from the world’s leading institutions and major performance halls.
The school has also launched several notable educational, career development and community-engagement initiatives, such as the Fairview Violin Project, which brings violin instruction to underserved classrooms; Project JumpStart, a student leadership team that offers high-impact programming for Jacobs School students; and the addition of the Music Scoring for Visual Media program and a number of other offerings to the already robust Department of Composition. Additionally, Richards encouraged the school to adopt the long-awaited Chamber and Collaborative Music/Collaborative Piano Department.
In 2013, Richards led the Jacobs School’s move into its new home in the East Studio Building, located near the school’s existing spaces, on East Third Street. The 155,000-square-foot structure houses more than 130 teaching studios, music practice rooms, classrooms, offices, rehearsal rooms and graduate student areas. Additionally, earlier this year, IU announced that the Musical Arts Center would undergo a major renovation this summer—the first renovation since it was built in 1971, as part of the IU Bicentennial.
As of 2020, IU Jacobs School of Music Opera Theater has celebrated 72 years of stellar operatic performances. IU Jacobs Opera Theater has also hosted many world premieres, including “Vincent” in April 2011, which detailed the life of Dutch-born painter Vincent van Gogh; the world premiere of “Our Town,” Thornton Wilder's quintessential American drama, in 2006; and “The Tale of Lady Thị Kính,” composed by Jacobs School faculty member P.Q. Phan, in 2013.
In 2018, the school hosted the collegiate world premiere of Jake Heggie’s “It’s a Wonderful Life” and partnered with Santa Fe Opera, San Francisco Opera and Seattle Opera to coproduce "The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs," an electro-acoustic opera about the Apple cofounder by composer Mason Bates and librettist Mark Campbell.
Jeremy Allen, the Eugene O’Brien Bicentennial Executive Associate Dean for the Jacobs School of Music, will become interim dean of the school on July 1.
Allen is a jazz musician and a Grammy-nominated bassist who has performed in the United States and abroad with such jazz luminaries as Fred Hersch, Mike Stern, David Liebman, Kenny Wheeler, Bob Brookmeyer and George Garzone. DownBeat magazine describes his playing as “worthy of Jaco Pastorius.” As a recording artist, Allen can be heard on releases by Origin Records, Cadence Records, Patois Records, Artists House Music and his own label, Watercourse Records.
A search for a permanent leader of the school will begin in the next academic year.