The University Record, April 10, 2000

Boylan expanded ‘great music legacy’

By Joanne Nesbit
News and Information Services

School of Music Dean Paul C. Boylan is retiring this year after 21 years as dean, 35 years on the faculty. Photo by Bill Wood, U-M Photo Services
“They don’t come here to study with the dean. They come here to study with the faculty,” says Paul C. Boylan, retiring dean of the School of Music. And during his 21 years as dean, Boylan has worked to strengthen that faculty, “the core of what a dean should be doing,” he says.

The longest-serving dean the School has had (Earl V. Moore served for 20 years), Boylan has watched the enrollment double and endowments grow from under $1 million in 1979 to more than $50 million today. While all the changes were taking place, the student body remained diverse and the faculty multicultural. The gender split of the School’s student population remains at about 50/50.

Boylan says the Internet and global communication has brought a much broader palette of sounds and cultures to the students than was available 20 years ago. To meet the needs of students exposed to “the world,” Boylan has developed a faculty to fit those needs.

One of the areas in which Boylan takes special pride is his work to make the musical theater program “arguably the best program in the country.”

Not all the students enrolled in the School are headed for careers on the concert stage. A good 15 percent of the students do interdisciplinary studies, including engineering and art, Boylan says. And the School’s graduates are highly sought in music education, dance and all of the performing arts.

He inherited a School with a great music legacy, but has worked to open windows to new and important currents—jazz, improvisational studies, musical theater and the American Music Institute.

“I will miss the energy of the students and the colleagueship of friends,” Boylan says of his retirement after 35 years on the faculty. “This is a wonderful civilized institution with high values. I hope that those are maintained in the future with the civility that has always been here.”

So what will this native of Wisconsin who has been surrounded by music since early childhood do now? Well, he plans to take at least a year to explore his musical roots and recapture his abilities as a pianist. He will probably split his time between Ann Arbor and Sarasota, Fla., which, he says, has a terrific cultural season of opera, symphony and theater performances.

Concert honors Boylan

The University Symphony Orchestra will perform a concert at 8:30 p.m. April 14 in Hill Auditorium in honor of School of Music Dean Paul Boylan’s retirement.

The concert program will include Brahms’ “Academic Festival Overture,” Vaughan Williams’ “Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis,” Ravel’s “Piano Concerto in G,” Bernstein’s “Glitter and Be Gay” and Respighi’s “Pines of Rome.”