Dr. Jeffrey Sposato named chair of Wayne State University's Department of Music

The below letter was sent from Dean Hasan Elahi to the College of Fine, Performing and Communication Arts.

Dear colleagues,

Following a nationwide search, I am pleased to announce the appointment of Jeffrey S. Sposato, Ph.D., as chair of the Department of Music. Sposato is currently a professor of musicology and interim associate dean for faculty affairs in the College of Fine and Applied Arts at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC).

Jeffrey S. Sposato, Ph.D., comes to Wayne State University from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

We are thrilled to have Dr. Sposato join Wayne State to lead the Department of Music. The breadth of his musical background, scholarly accomplishments and professional leadership, coupled with his expertise in community engagement and driving innovation, made him an excellent choice for this key leadership position.

As associate dean, Sposato focuses on faculty success, with an emphasis on mentoring, professional development and promotion. Prior to this appointment, he served as director of the UIUC School of Music from 2019 to 2023. He is also president of the Association of Illinois Music Schools.

His teaching and research interests include music of the baroque, classical, and romantic periods; sacred music; choral music; concert traditions; and opera. He is author of three books, including "Leipzig After Bach: Church and Concert Life in a German City" (Oxford 2018), a project that led to several historical recreation concerts in Houston and Leipzig, as well as "The Price of Assimilation: Felix Mendelssohn and the Nineteenth-Century Anti-Semitic Tradition" (Oxford 2006), which was named a Choice magazine Outstanding Academic Title for 2006.

Before joining the faculty at the University of Illinois, Sposato served as associate director and director of graduate studies at the Moores School of Music at University of Houston, where he taught in the musicology division for twelve years. Prior to that, he taught for six years at the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg, where he founded and directed that school’s collegiate chorale. His grants include an ACLS/Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship for Junior Faculty and a Fulbright fellowship for doctoral research in Germany.

Dr. Sposato holds a Ph.D. in musicology from Brandeis University, an M.M. and a B.M. in vocal performance from New England Conservatory of Music, and a B.A. in German studies from Tufts University. He is set to begin July 1, 2024.

I would like to thank every member of the search committee led by Michael J Barnes, interim chair of the Maggie Allesee Department of Theatre and Dance. I would also like to thank Russ Miller for serving as interim department chair for music. His efforts will also be instrumental in ensuring a seamless transition.

Please join me in congratulating Dr. Sposato and welcoming him to Wayne State.

Dean Hasan Elahi

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