April 15, 2021

Wynton Marsalis & Dr. Ronald Crutcher to Keynote at Future of Music Faculty Fellowship

Dr. Ronald Crutcher and Wynton Marsalis
Dr. Ronald Crutcher and Wynton Marsalis

The Cleveland Institute of Music’s Future of Music Faculty Fellowship has added internationally acclaimed musician, composer and educator Wynton Marsalis, and national leader in higher education and distinguished classical musician Dr. Ronald Crutcher to the already impressive list of keynote speakers and faculty for the inaugural program.

Powered by a grant awarded in the inaugural cycle of the Sphinx Venture Fund, this first-of-its-kind career development initiative will engage up to 35 Black and Latinx music professionals who are pursuing or considering academic careers, preparing them with the skills, insights and networks to flourish professionally and influence generations of musicians.

“Wynton Marsalis and Ron Crutcher are recognized worldwide for their commitment to the future of music and for their tireless work to support the next generation of educators,” said Paul W. Hogle, President & CEO of CIM. “Adding their accumulated wisdom, experience and passion to the speaker roster will add immense value to the 35 participants seeking to secure their places in the academy.”

Marsalis – the first jazz musician to win the Pulitzer Prize in Music – is among the country’s most celebrated artists. As the Co-founder, Managing and Artistic Director of Jazz at Lincoln Center, as well as the Director of Juilliard Jazz, Marsalis has elevated jazz music to the forefront of some of America’s leading arts institutions. He has written five books, performed with virtually every major American orchestra, and as a leading advocate for American culture, he has created a vital body of work that places him among the world’s finest musicians and composers.

Crutcher is currently president and professor of music at the University of Richmond, and author of I Had No Idea You Were Black: Navigating Race on the Road to Leadership. He was the first cellist to earn a doctor of musical arts degree from Yale University, after which he performed with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. Crutcher is a veteran of higher education, holding leadership roles in venerable institutions including Butler School of Music at the University of Texas at Austin, Wheaton College in Massachusetts, Miami University of Ohio and CIM.

Marsalis and Crutcher join previously announced keynote speakers Simon Sinek, best known for his TED talk “How Great Leaders Inspire Action” and the related bestselling book Start with Why, and MacArthur “genius” grant winner Dr. Angela Duckworth, author of the book Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, who will deliver inspiring messages. Program faculty will include university presidents, music school deans, experienced faculty, teaching artists and performance psychologists from institutions ranging from The Juilliard School to the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University to the Heifetz Institute.

Hogle added: “Current and aspiring young faculty members from around the country are incredibly enthusiastic about this fellowship – more than 65 applications were started in the first week after we announced, and winning one of the coveted 35 spots will be very competitive.”


The Future of Music Faculty Fellowship will bring together a cohort of up to 35 Black and Latinx music professionals who aspire to academic careers. The program is offered at no cost to participants, and Black and Latinx musicians and scholars from across disciplines and genres – from classical to jazz, from performance to pedagogy – are eligible to apply.

Beginning in June 2021 and taking place over several months, the Fellowship is structured as a series of virtual convenings. The program concludes in January 2022 with an in-person convening coinciding with SphinxConnect 2022; travel, lodging and conference registration are included for Fellows.

Program curriculum will cover practical skills, such as navigating the tenure process, as well as soft skills, such as thriving in a highly competitive work environment. As important as skill development, Fellows will receive a powerful platform for showcasing their skills to potential employers, as well as a career mentor, who will offer personalized coaching and career advice during and between modules.

Focus areas and key dates:

Module 1 (June 25-27): The Academic Job Market
Module 2 (July 30-Aug 1): Navigating the Search Process
Module 3 (Aug 27-29): Effective Teaching
Module 4 (Oct 22-24): The Politics of Academia
Special session (Nov 12): Wynton Marsalis (topic TBD)
Module 5 (Dec 3-5): Peak Performance and Influencing at All Levels
Module 6 (Jan 27-29, 2022): Putting it All Together, in person at SphinxConnect

Program faculty will be drawn from conservatories and music programs nationwide, and include some of the most renowned leaders and thinkers in higher education and music. They include:

  • Dr. Carlos R. Abril, Professor and Associate Dean, Frost School of Music, University of Miami
  • Dr. Michael Birenbaum Quintero, Associate Professor of Music and Chair of Musicology and Ethnomusicology, Boston University
  • Dr. José Bowen, author of Teaching Naked and former President of Goucher College
  • Dr. Ellen Burts-Cooper, Senior Managing Partner, Improve Consulting, and Adjunct Faculty, Weatherhead Executive Education
  • Dr. Frank Candelaria, Dean, Blair School of Music, Vanderbilt University
  • Dr. Rodney Dorsey, Professor and Chair of Department of Bands, Jacobs School of Music, Indiana University
  • Dr. Aaron Flagg, Chair and Associate Director of Jazz Studies, The Juilliard School
  • Dr. Jason Geary, Dean, Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University
  • Dr. Don Greene, author of Audition Success, Fight Your Fear & Win and Performance Success
  • Dr. Eileen M. Hayes, Dean, College of Arts and Communication, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, and former President of the College Music Society
  • Dr. Álvaro Huerta, Associate Professor in Urban & Region Planning and Ethnic & Women’s studies at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona
  • Dr. Alisha Lola Jones, Assistant Professor of Ethnomusicology, Indiana University
  • Dr. Ricardo Lorenz, Professor and Chair of Music Composition, Michigan State University
  • Dr. Karen Kelsky, author of The Professor is In
  • Daniel Pettrow, Director of Performance and Communication Training, Heifetz International Music Institute
  • Dr. Louise Toppin, Professor of Music (Voice), University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance


Applications are open and will be accepted through May 1, 2021.

Who may apply? Black and Latinx doctoral students, those who hold adjunct or junior faculty positions and professional musicians who are considering a career in academia are encouraged to apply. The Fellowship is open to all music genres and disciplines, including performance, music theory, jazz studies, ethnomusicology and more.

All elements of the program are offered free of charge to selected Fellows. Fellows will receive travel, lodging and SphinxConnect registration for the in-person convening in January 2022.

To access the application and conference agenda, please visit cim.edu/fellowship.

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The Future of Music Faculty Fellowship is powered by a grant from the Sphinx Venture Fund.