LSU School of Music Names John Dickson as New Director of Choral Studies
BATON ROUGE – The LSU School of Music recently announced that John H. Dickson will become the school’s new director of choral studies and serve as a professor of music, effective Aug. 15.
Dickson will fill the vacancy left by longtime Director of Choral Studies Kenneth Fulton, who is retiring after 27 years with the LSU School of Music.
Dickson most recently served as dean and professor of conducting of Mercer University’s Townsend School of Music since July 1, 2008. He previously served as director of choral studies and chair of the conducting division at Texas Tech University. Prior to his appointment at Texas Tech, Dickson served as professor of conducting and associate dean for doctoral studies at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary’s School of Church Music in Louisville, Ky.
“Ken Fulton and the LSU choral program are synonymous with choral artistry,” Dickson said. “LSU’s choral program now faces a new vision that can embrace the greatness of its past traditions while establishing new collaborations and goals for creative choral excellence. It is at this crossroad with enormous potential that I am honored to accept this new calling and challenge.
“Teaching has always remained my highest priority. Commitment to the sacredness of our tasks as choral musicians has produced my greatest joy – the countless students whose lives have been touched through a shared intimacy and discovery of the mysteries of music making.”
Willis Delony, interim director of the LSU School of Music, said he was excited for Dickson’s recent appointment.
“That a person of Dr. Dickson’s stature in the choral community would be attracted to LSU is actually no surprise, especially given the powerhouse program that Ken Fulton has built during his time here,” Delony said. “Now we have a wonderful opportunity to go from strength (Fulton) to strength (Dickson) and build even further on a tradition of choral excellence that is decidedly world class. Our future is bright, and we’re excited to welcome Dr. Dickson to our LSU family.”
Laurence Kaptain, dean of the LSU College of Music & Dramatic Arts, also expressed his pleasure with bringing Dickson, whom Kaptain referred to as a “world-class choral conductor,” to LSU.
“Dr. Dickson explained to me that the high level of faculty colleagues, a tradition of attracting talented students and the opportunity to train the next group of graduate students in choral conducting, led to his decision to become a part of the excellence that defines music study, creativity and performance at LSU,” Kaptain said. “His appointment to our faculty sends a signal world-wide that the traditions of choral excellence established by conducting luminaries such as the late Dallas Draper, Victor Klimash and, most recently, Ken Fulton, will continue.”
Fulton, the Earleene Noland Sanders Alumni Professor of Choral Studies and Chair of the Division of Ensembles and Conducting in the LSU College of Music & Dramatic Arts, will retire after directing his final LSU A Cappella Concert, who will perform with LSU Symphony Orchestra, on April 22 at the LSU Student Union Theater at 2:30 p.m.
In addition to heading the university’s choral department, Fulton has also taught undergraduate and graduate choral conducting, literature and methods and guides the graduate degrees in choral conducting. He has been named as one of LSU’s Distinguished Professors and, in January 2006, he was awarded an Alumni Professorship, the university’s most prestigious endowed teaching professorship. Fulton is also the chorus master for the Baton Rouge Symphony Chorus and the artistic director and conductor for the Linz International Choral Festival in Linz, Austria where he annually conducts performances with the Festival Orchestra and Chorus. He also serves as editor for the Kenneth Fulton Choral Series, published by Alliance Music Corporation.
Throughout his career, Fulton has conducted performances in some of the most prestigious performance venues in the world including Carnegie Hall in New York, Symphony Hall in Boston, the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., the Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, the Mozarteum and the Brucknerhaus in Austria. In addition, he has conducted the LSU A Cappella Choir in invitational performances at the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris and the Vatican in Rome. He has also led the choir on six successful European tours of the Netherlands, France, Germany, England, Wales, Scotland, Austria, the Czech Republic, Italy and Switzerland.
For his part, Dickson said he feels welcome at LSU already.
“I am most grateful for the warm reception I have already experienced from the LSU faculty, staff and students,” he said “I believe my gifts are an excellent fit for this post, and with the collaboration of the faculty and students, I have the passion, the energy, and the vision to continue the legacy of artistic excellence that has been the hallmark of the LSU choral program.”
For more information on the LSU Choral Department, visit www.music.lsu.edu/choir.