FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – The Indiana University Jacobs School of Music will show its affection for dean emeritus Charles Webb the day after the world celebrates its official love holiday on Feb. 14, the same date Webb turns 90.
Jacobs School faculty and staff will pay tribute to the nonagenarian 3-5 p.m. on Feb. 15 in the main lobby of the Musical Arts Center.
Webb retired from Indiana University in 1997, after serving as Jacobs School of Music dean for 24 years. During that time, he bolstered the school’s reputation from nationally respected to internationally revered, making visionary curriculum enhancements, adding premier artist-faculty members and implementing ambitious initiatives.
In addition to championing the school’s global outreach efforts, Webb brought some of the world’s foremost musical figures to Bloomington, including Leonard Bernstein for a six-week residency in 1982 to work on his opera “A Quiet Place” with Jacobs students.
“A large music school in a relatively small town with a constellation of some of the greatest performing pedagogues and academic music professors led to a very unique environment that stimulates a special kind of relationship and learning between faculty and students,” said professor emeritus Henry Upper, former associate dean and director of undergraduate studies. “Charles and I shared a love for the Jacobs School, and it was a true privilege to assist him in guiding one of the greatest music schools in the world, which flourished on his watch.”
In addition to his administrative duties, Webb maintained an active performance career as conductor, pianist and organist, serving as organist at Bloomington’s First United Methodist Church for 62 years. He was a member of the Hymnal Revision Committee of the United Methodist Church and his “The Art of Descant and Free Harmonization” book contains more than 200 of his choral and organ descants, harmonizations and arrangements.
Webb has served on the boards of numerous organizations, including the Avery Fisher Prize, International Music Festivals, Inc. and Van Cliburn Piano Competition. He was a director of the Busoni Foundation and listed in “Baker’s Biographical Dictionary of Musicians,” “Outstanding Educators in America” and “Who’s Who in America.”
In 1980, he received the Distinguished Alumni Award from alma mater Southern Methodist University and was named a member of the prestigious Indiana Academy in 1983.
Webb has served as a judge for international music competition on several continents, including the Munich Competition, Busoni Competition in Italy and Liszt-Bartok Competition in Hungary, as well as the Carl Flesch Competition in London, Chopin Competition in Warsaw and Marguerite Long-Jacques Thibaud Competition in Paris.
In 2004, Webb was named a Living Legend of the State of Indiana by the Indiana Historical Society and was appointed by Colin Powell to the Department of State Advisory Committee on Cultural Diplomacy. Webb has also received three Sagamore of the Wabash awards, from governors Bowen, Orr and O’Bannon, the highest award given by the state of Indiana for meritorious service.
Webb’s Indiana University awards include the Thomas Hart Benton Mural Medallion in 1987, and he was named an honorary member of the Alliance of Distinguished and Titled Professors of Indiana University in 1997. He received the President’s Medal for Excellence in 2000 and the Distinguished Alumni Service Award in 2005.
His autobiography, “The Emergence of a Musical Life: A Retrospective on Charles H. Webb,” was published in 2021.
For more information on the Feb. 15 reception, contact Maggie Frye at firstname.lastname@example.org.