Campus News

Brigham Young professor Dale Monson named director of UGA’s Hugh Hodgson School of Music

Brigham Young professor Dale Monson named director of UGA's Hugh Hodgson School of Music

Athens, Ga. – Dale E. Monson, director of the School of Music at Brigham Young University, has been named new director of the Hugh Hodgson School of Music at the University of Georgia.

Monson replaces Donald Lowe, who has been director of the school since 2001.

“A truly great university must have a strong and vibrant fine arts program,” said UGA President Michael F. Adams. “The Hugh Hodgson School of Music is an important part of our fine arts program and one of the anchors of the East Campus arts complex. I am excited that Dr. Monson has accepted our offer, and I am looking forward to working with him.”

Monson will begin his work at UGA on July 1.

“I think that Dr. Monson will be an outstanding director, and the school will greatly benefit from his presence,” said Garnett S. Stokes, dean of the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, of which the music school is a part. “The college and the University of Georgia are committed to further strengthening the school and to providing needed resources to increase the school’s visibility on the national stage. Dr. Monson will surely be vital in helping us achieve that prominence.”

Monson received his bachelor’s degree in clarinet performance at Brigham Young in 1975; master’s in music theory and orchestral conducting, also from Brigham Young in 1976; and his doctorate in historical musicology from Columbia University in 1982.

“I am thrilled at the opportunity to come to the University of Georgia and to work alongside the faculty, administration and students of the Hugh Hodgson School of Music,” said Monson. “Music in higher education today is built on centuries-old traditions of excellence, on reaching for the highest standards in education and performance, and expressed in a love for the art that resounds not only in concert halls, but in the hearts of its students, teachers and audience. The opportunities and future of music at UGA are particularly great, resting on the strong foundation of an inspired faculty, guided by its retiring director, Donald Lowe, and extending through the many others who came before, traced back to Hugh Hodgson himself.”

The Hugh Hodgson School of Music has 304 undergraduate majors and 145 graduate students.

Monson worked on the musicology faculties of the University of Michigan (1982-1991), Penn State (1991-1999) and BYU (1999-present). He has been director of the School of Music at BYU since 2003. He is also director of the Pergolesi Research Center and editor-in-chief of the Pergolesi Complete Works Edition. He has published in the field of 18th-century Italian opera, particularly in the study of singers and their influence on the music of opera seria. His other interests include aesthetics, 19th-century Romantic literature and Stravinsky.

As a young clarinetist, he performed in the BYU Philharmonic as a student and was featured as a youth soloist with the Utah Symphony on their “Salute to Youth” program. He studied orchestral conducting and was guest conductor of the Chamber Orchestra of the Palace of Fine Arts in Mexico City and also has been assistant conductor at the Lake George Opera Festival and of the orchestras at Brigham Young University and Columbia University.

At Brigham Young, Monson has taught music appreciation, music history for majors, graduate surveys and seminars and literature courses. At other institutions he has also taught historical performance practice, the early 20th century, Stravinsky, Romanticism, style analysis, bibliography and research techniques and many special topics courses in the music and opera of the 18th century.

He is the winner of numerous awards and grants, including a National Endowment for the Humanities grant. He and his wife, Ruth, are the parents of five children.

Lowe, who retired in December 2007 but has continued to work during the search for a successor, will now permanently retire. He praised Monson’s selection as his successor.

“I am very pleased with the appointment, and I believe he has the background, experience and dedication to continue the development of the school into one of the premiere music schools in the country,” said Lowe.

Monson is excited about the challenges ahead.

“Everyone here is reaching for lofty goals, seen in the vision for the arts expressed to me by President Adams and Provost Mace, and in the vibrant and pragmatic support of Dean Garnett Stokes,” said Monson. “It is easy to see what is in the eyes of the school’s faculty and students: this is a place on the move, one that will rise high in national prominence in the years ahead. I am convinced of this as well. Of the many things that draw me to Athens, it is the hope and investment in the future of music and the other arts, shared by all, that is the greatest inspiration. I look forward not only to joining this collaborative and shared momentum, but to contributing to those plans and enjoying the artistic fruits it will bring.”

The Hugh Hodgson School of Music is named for Hugh Hodgson, founder of the school of music and longtime UGA faculty member. A native of Athens, he became a professor at the University of Georgia in 1928, heading the newly created department of music, a position he held until his retirement in 1960.

While at the university, he won numerous awards and taught and influenced countless students. Hodgson continued his efforts to popularize various forms of music by presenting an annual opera, organizing a Little Symphony Orchestra, directing the Men’s Glee Club, establishing chamber music festivals and performing recitals and delivering lectures nationwide. He died in 1969.

For more information about the Hugh Hodgson School of Music, see