FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Abra K. Bush, currently senior associate dean of institute studies at The Johns Hopkins Peabody Institute, has been named David Henry Jacobs Bicentennial Dean of the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, effective July 1, subject to approval by the IU Board of Trustees. She is the school’s first-ever woman dean and one of very few women to lead a prominent U.S. school of music.
IU Bloomington Provost and Executive Vice President Rahul Shrivastav made the announcement on Wednesday, April 13.
“We are excited to welcome Abra K. Bush, whose visionary leadership in performing arts education and scholarship are a perfect match for our campus and the world-class Jacobs School of Music,” Shrivastav said. “Abra’s academic experience, proven record of curricular development, and commitment to student success, faculty excellence, and diversity and inclusion position her well to further the global reputation of the school at the dawn of its second century.
“Our campus is also grateful to Jeremy Allen for his interim leadership during a search process that was extended by the pandemic."
Allen served after Gwyn Richards returned to the Jacobs faculty following a successful two-decade career as the school’s leader.
At the Peabody Institute, which is the oldest and one of the nation's most celebrated music conservatories, Bush oversees curriculum and personnel for academic and applied areas including faculty and academic affairs, concert and ensemble operations, learning innovation and the Arthur Friedheim Music Library and Archive.
In the role of senior associate dean, Bush has developed groundbreaking curricula, forged new strategic partnerships and overseen the recruitment and hiring of more than 100 preeminent artistic and academic faculty. From 2017 to 2021, she increased underrepresented faculty by more than 65 percent.
Prior to joining Peabody, Bush was the first woman director of the Music Division at The Boston Conservatory, where she developed a strategic vision for the division, established the Master of Music degree in Classical Contemporary Music Performance and was a member of the Academic Planning Committee for the Boston Conservatory/Berklee merger.
Previous academic appointments have included roles at the University of Rochester, Concordia College and Kenyon College. She also served as assistant dean of academic affairs at the Eastman School of Music.
“I am thrilled and humbled to serve as dean of the prestigious Jacobs School of Music,” Bush said. “I look forward to working with the immensely talented faculty, staff and students who make this such a special place. We will work together to establish new priorities, opportunities and ambitions; creatively think through the next generation of programming; and implement collaborative, innovative strategies to further strengthen our reputation and success.”
For an entire century, the Jacobs School has welcomed young artists from all over the world to learn and grow under the tutelage of outstanding and unparalleled faculty. As one of the most highly acclaimed institutions in the world for the comprehensive study of music and dance, the school plays a key role in educating the performers, scholars, composers, dancers, audio engineers and music educators who influence performance and education around the globe.
Bush will oversee the school’s internationally renowned music education programs, taught by 175 faculty members in residence, which prepare students for both the performance and entrepreneurial aspects of enduring, successful careers. The Jacobs School’s more than 1,500 students come from all 50 states and as many as 56 countries, and its alumni network now includes over 17,000 members.
The Jacobs School delivers more than 1,100 performances each year and features more than three dozen performance ensembles. The school's 2021-22 performance season received significant underwriting from the Prebys Foundation of San Diego. The season is known as the Conrad T. Prebys Centennial Performance Season and includes festivities celebrating the countless artists who have touched the internationally renowned school over the past 100 years.
Bush earned Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees from Oberlin College Conservatory of Music and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from The Ohio State University. She has been an invited presenter at multiple national meetings and conferences of the National Association of Schools of Music, the National Association of Teachers of Singing, the College Music Society and Assessment in the Arts.
A soprano, Bush made her professional opera debut as Drusilla in "L’incoronazione di Poppea" at Opera Columbus with Boston Baroque. Her operatic roles encompass works from all periods of opera, including Paix in "Les Arts Flourissants," Mrs. McClean in "Susannah," Kate Pinkerton in "Madama Butterfly," Fiordiligi in "Così fan tutte" and Laurie in "The Tender Land." She has delivered numerous recitals, master classes and oratorio performances across the U.S. and in China.