Juilliard’s García-León named next dean of Yale School of Music

José García-León of The Juilliard School will be the Yale School of Music’s next dean, President Peter Salovey announced today.
José García-León

José García-León (Photo by Allie Barton)

José García-León of The Juilliard School will be the Yale School of Music’s next dean, President Peter Salovey announced today.

A pianist of international renown who is now Juilliard’s dean of academic affairs and assessment, García-León earlier was a dean and professor of music at the University of New Haven.

At Yale, he succeeds longtime School of Music Dean Robert Blocker.

García-León starts Sept. 1.

I am confident that Professor García-León will contribute in extraordinary ways to the school’s world-class intellectual and creative environment, consistent with the values and work that have defined his career,” Salovey said in an email announcement to the Yale community. “He is deeply devoted to the school’s mission of educating and inspiring students with exceptional artistic and academic talent for service to the profession and to society.”

García-León will bring to Yale extensive leadership and teaching experience in musical education, Salovey said. At Juilliard, he established and expanded a wide range of institutional initiatives, including the development of new degree programs, certificates, and curricula. He also introduced innovative instructional technologies, opened a new branch campus in China, and enhanced opportunities for musical and academic exchange with partner schools.

Among García-León’s honors and awards is first prize in the Artist International Competition of New York. He has performed extensively as a solo recitalist around the globe, notably in the Big Hall of the Tchaikovsky Conservatory and Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, as well as at the St. Petersburg International Music Festival.

A noted scholar, he has traveled the world to present his research on the roots of and multiculturalism in flamenco music, the similarities and differences between Argentinian tango and the tango flamenco, and the composition of jazz and classical music.

I’m humbled and honored to have been appointed dean of the Yale School of Music,” said García-León, who will be the Henry L. and Lucy G. Moses Dean. “I take on this role filled with optimism, rooted in the deeply transformative tenure of Dean Robert Blocker. Thanks to his outstanding leadership and the excellent work of his team, I’m stepping into a school in enviable financial health and ripe for opportunities on multiple fronts. His legacy will endure for years to come.

As the only Ivy League school of music, the Yale School of Music is in a unique position to shape the future of music education. By garnering from the wealth of resources of a world-class university and strengthening the bridges with its incomparable roster of professional schools, the music school has the potential to renew and create new paths in the music profession, moving forward onto a vibrant future in which curiosity, creativity, compassion, and collaboration will be indispensable.”

Before joining Juilliard, García-León was associate dean of the University of New Haven’s College of Arts and Sciences. He began his teaching and academic leadership career at Oakland Community College, in Michigan, where he established and subsequently expanded the institution’s music program.

He also has “harnessed his experiences as a conductor and in chamber music to assemble high-performance teams and nurture a spirit of collaboration in the academy,” Salovey said.

He believes firmly in the value of meaningful inter-collegial connections. His leadership at Juilliard, for example, broadened the scope of interaction and learning among students and faculty from across different divisions,” Salovey added. “Students now benefit from updated or expanded offerings in entrepreneurship, performing arts technology, public speaking, music pedagogy, and marketing.”

García-León’s career is further distinguished by a focus on increasing access to education, said Salovey, who noted that “his passion for this priority is rooted in lived experience.”

Born in Seville, Spain, García-León came to the United States as an international college student and relied substantially on financial aid to complete his education, the president said. “This support catalyzed his steadfast commitment to advancing the promise of higher education for others. He has been at the fore of Juilliard’s initiatives to foster greater equity, diversity, inclusion, and belonging for its students, faculty, and staff. More particularly, he has helped to overhaul faculty and staff hiring processes to attract a more diverse candidate pool and make significant strides in increasing the school’s outreach to previously underrepresented communities.”

García-León graduated with highest honors from the Conservatorio Superior de Música de Sevilla before earning his B.A. in music from the State University of New York at Binghamton and his D.M.A. in piano performance from the Manhattan School of Music. He is a member of the College Music Society – Northeast Regional Chapter, of which he was previously a board member for performance, and is a member of the Music Teachers National Association – Connecticut Music Teachers Association.

García-León and his wife, Coralie Gallet, have three children and many interests.

A voracious reader of many topics, from scholarly works on music to Swedish crime fiction in French, he looks forward to discussing books with students and colleagues in the Yale community,” Salovey said in the announcement. “He also enjoys endurance sports and is eager to again savor the natural charms surrounding the Elm City.”

Salovey thanked Blocker, the current dean, for “outstanding service to Yale over nearly three decades,” and said García-León’s “clarity of purpose, strength of character, and absolute commitment to excellence in teaching, scholarship, and practice make him a worthy successor to Blocker, under whose leadership the school has grown considerably in resources and stature.”

Said Blocker: “The Yale School of Music community, in New Haven and throughout the world, joins me in welcoming José García-León, our newly appointed dean. We anticipate his leadership and the contributions he will make to the School of Music and the university. I am especially pleased that Dean García-León will have the opportunity and pleasure of working with the extraordinary faculty, staff, and Board of Advisors who are truly devoted to our school and its mission.”

The president also praised the search advisory committee, chaired by Vice Provost Emily Bakemeier, and thanked the School of Music faculty members, staff, students, and alumni who provided input.

Said Bakemeier: “It has been such an honor these past months to work with the dedicated members of the search advisory committee, each of whom brought such unique insights and perspectives to the process of helping to search for a new dean of the School of Music. Together we learned about the many exciting aspirations for the future of the school from its faculty, students, staff, and alumni, as well as from many others in the musical spheres across the university. I am delighted that José García-León will bring to Yale his considerable musical, academic, and administrative talents as the next dean of the School of Music.”

The incoming dean described himself as “immensely grateful for the opportunity to work with such distinguished, world-renowned faculty, devoted staff, and brilliant students and alumni,” adding that “I am one of their biggest fans!

I look forward with excitement to years of discovery and partnership, all united in the conviction of the comforting, expressive, and transformative power of music.”

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