Dr. Lori Wiest appointed Director of the Fred Fox School of Music

Dear Arizona Arts faculty and staff,

Photo of Lori WiestI am delighted to announce the appointment of Dr. Lori Wiest as the next Director of the Fred Fox School of Music. Dr. Wiest will begin her appointment on July 1, and she hopes to be in Tucson starting on August 1.

For Dr. Wiest, this is a homecoming, as she received her doctorate in Choral Conducting from the University of Arizona School of Music 30 years ago this spring under the guidance of Dr. Maurice Skones.

In addition to her DMA from UArizona, Dr. Wiest holds a Master of Music degree in Choral Music from Arizona State University, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Music Education and Piano Performance from North Dakota State University.

Since 1991, Dr. Wiest has served on faculty in the School of Music at Washington State University (WSU). From 2004 to 2018, she held a series of major leadership positions at WSU, including Associate Dean of the Graduate School, Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Interim Chair of the Department of Foreign Languages and Cultures, Interim Chair of the Department of Fine Arts, and Coordinator of the WSU Individual Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program.

In 2018, Dr. Wiest returned to full-time teaching and has been Director of Choral Activities in the WSU School of Music, conducting two auditioned choirs and teaching graduate courses in Choral History/Literature and Choral Conducting. Under her direction, the WSU Concert Choir and Madrigal/Chamber Singers have been invited to perform in South Korea, Russia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Austria, Germany, and Italy, and nationally at major venues (including Lincoln Center) and professional conferences. A recipient of grant funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, she has been the director of the Spokane Symphony Chorale, and has performed with Cantiamo, the WSU Voice Faculty Ensemble, and Chor Anno. She serves actively as a clinician, adjudicator, and guest conductor.

At WSU, Dr. Wiest earned the prestigious 2019 “Sahlin Faculty Excellence Award for Leadership” and the 2018 “Excellence in Institutional Service Award” within the College of Arts and Sciences.

“I am honored and excited to be joining the University of Arizona as the Director of the Fred Fox School of Music,” she writes. “I have always felt a special connection to Tucson and the school. It is with great pride that I return to work alongside such talented colleagues and students as we continue to achieve excellence, create new paths, and lead in new directions.

“I am looking forward to having an intricate role within such an amazing community of faculty, staff, undergraduate and graduate students, and alumni; to developing relationships and collaborations; and to cultivating and continuing to move forward the creativity, innovation, and achievements of the Fred Fox School of Music.”

We launched this national search in October 2019, under very different conditions. It is thanks to the dedication, persistence, and hard work of the search committee (chaired by Martina Shenal and Andy Belser) that we have been able to see it through to this very successful conclusion. I also offer my gratitude to all the members of the Fred Fox School of Music community—faculty, staff, students, and advisory board members—for your engagement with our finalists during their virtual visits, and the thoughtful feedback that you offered in response to your interactions with them.

Finally, we all owe a debt of gratitude to Dr. Rex Woods for the grace and generosity of spirit he has brought to the role of interim director over this past academic year. We have all benefitted enormously from his thoughtful, humane, and collaborative leadership. If you know Rex, you will not be surprised to hear that he has offered to provide whatever support Dr. Wiest will need in order to make a smooth transition.

Warm regards,

Andrew Schulz
Vice President for the Arts
Dean, College of Fine Arts

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