Skip to content

A Message from the Leadership of the School of Music

June 19, 2020

The leadership of the University of Utah School of Music is committed to fostering an inclusive environment that is unequivocal and purposeful in its rejection of racism. Through our artistic and educational mission, we are compelled to contribute significantly to the current conversation. As a famous writer once said, “music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.” However, we recognize that an almost exclusive focus on the study of a wonderful musical tradition that—nevertheless—has often remained silent on current social issues, has the potential to yield a narrow perspective.

We are committed to challenging this silence through purposeful steps that are likely to yield tangible results, even when they may seem to unsettle established ways in which the School has fulfilled its mission. We intend to examine habits and structures that might discourage us from giving musical expression to a broad array of perspectives, including those connected to social justice. If the School is to continue to contribute in relevant ways to the education of its students, then it must respond to social injustices, such as systemic racism, not only through words but also through its programs and performances.

Actions the School of Music intends to undertake include the following:

  1. A review of all of our programs in order to identify opportunities to broaden our students’ musical experience and amplify their awareness of anti-racist perspectives in music.
  1. A review of our hiring practices in order to identify opportunities to broaden fields of study in the School of Music and amplify their focus beyond traditional Western Music.
  2. An initiative encouraging the presentation of lectures and performances focusing on inclusion and social justice.

We realize these are only first steps. We welcome further ideas and we invite students, faculty, and community members to join the conversation.


Miguel Chuaqui
Director, School of Music

Jared R. Rawlings
Associate Professor, Music Education Area Head
Associate Director, School of Music
Director of Undergraduate Studies

Robert Baldwin
Professor, Director of Orchestras
Director of Graduate Studies

Kirstin Chávez
Associate Professor, Voice
Artist in Residence

Cathy Clayton
Associate Professor (Lecturer)
Musicology and Harp

Michael Sammons
Assistant Professor, Percussion
Percussion Area Head

Last Updated: 3/22/23