The Catholic University of America

Dec. 10, 2009

CUA President Appoints New Dean of Benjamin T. Rome School of Music


Grayson Wagstaff

Very Rev. David M. O'Connell, C.M., president of The Catholic University of America, announced today that he has appointed CUA Professor Grayson Wagstaff as dean of the university's Benjamin T. Rome School of Music, effective in summer 2010.

Wagstaff will succeed Dean Murry Sidlin who completes two terms in the post at the end of the current academic year. Sidlin noted that Wagstaff's appointment is "an excellent choice."

Chair of the school's musicology program, Wagstaff also serves as director of CUA's Latin American Center for the Graduate Study of Music.

"I am delighted that Grayson Wagstaff has generously accepted my appointment," observed Father O'Connell. "Dr. Wagstaff brings such breadth and depth of musical and academic experience to the deanship along with high energy and a strong commitment to CUA's Catholic identity and mission. The university is fortunate to provide him and his colleagues with this opportunity for leadership."

James Brennan, university provost, noted that "the conversation among the faculty supporting Dr. Wagstaff's leadership was constructive in its promise of a bright future for the school. I look forward to working with Dean Wagstaff in the months and years ahead."

Wagstaff is a recognized authority on the history of Catholic liturgical music in Spain and the early colonies in Latin America. His published research includes studies of the history of the Requiem Mass, pre-Tridentine Gregorian chant traditions and other music used in Marian devotions.

His recent research examined the Franciscan missions in California, music from 20th-century Brazil and American TV music in the 1950s. He is a member of the CUA graduate board and has been active in the university's Center for Medieval Studies.

Wagstaff has written numerous articles in such professional journals as "The Musical Quarterly," "Journal of the Royal Music Association," "Notes," "Inter-American Music Review" and the "Journal of Plainsong and Medieval Music." He has been a contributor to the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians II, The Encyclopedia of the Renaissance, and The Reader's Guide to Music: History, Theory and Criticism.

In addition to his work on the school's curriculum committee, Wagstaff is a frequently sought-after speaker at national and international conferences in his fields of interest and expertise. He has lectured at arts education programs in the Washington, D.C., area, including Smithsonian Associates, Maryland Presents, Washington Opera and The Washington Performing Arts Society.

MEDIA: For more information, contact Katie Lee or Mary McCarthy in the Office of Public Affairs at 202-319-5600.