Ronald Caltabiano, associate dean of San Francisco State University’s College of Creative Arts and an accomplished contemporary classical composer of chamber and orchestral music, has been named dean of Butler University’s Jordan College of Fine Arts.
He will join Butler July 1.
Caltabiano has been acting associate dean or associate dean of San Francisco State’s College of Creative Arts since 2007. There, he manages an $11 million operating budget and oversees 90 tenured or tenure-track faculty, 72 lecturers and 4,000 students.
“Butler looks vibrant, exciting, stable and full of potential,” he said. “Coming in, I plan on investing all my time and energy working hand-in-hand with Jordan College chairs and associate dean, Provost Jamie Comstock and the Butler administration, as well as the local arts community.”
Caltabiano joined the San Francisco State faculty as a lecturer in 1996, became a full-time faculty member in 1997 and served as associate director of the University’s School of Music and Dance (2002-2003).
“He has impeccable credentials, a broad range of experiences and a clear understanding of all aspects of fine arts,” Butler Provost Jamie Comstock said. “He seems to truly appreciate the grounding of the fine arts within a liberal arts curriculum and has great ideas about how to further enhance that liberal arts-fine arts connection. At the same time that he’s dynamic, he’s also reflective and other oriented. He engenders the confidence of others, in part, because he is someone who instantly establishes his credibility but is also remains warm and approachable.”
Caltabiano earned his bachelor’s (1982), master’s (1983) and doctor (1988) of music degrees from The Juilliard School.
He started his career as a music assistant to Aaron Copland (1985-1989) in Peekskill, N.Y.
“He was such a charming, wonderful, humble individual, you would never know he was the man who wrote these incredible pieces and changed American music,” Caltabiano said. “And he created a model for an artist-citizen to have this great career and just be one of the folks in the neighborhood.”
From there, Caltabiano went on to the faculty of the Manhattan School of Music from 1988-1992. He also was a fellow with the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation (1992-1993), a member of the Hong Kong Baptist University faculty (1993-1994) and a faculty member at the Johns Hopkins University’s Peabody Conservatory (1994-1996).
His discography includes: Ronald Caltabiano, CRI no. 835; Torched Liberty, Opus One, No. 168, “New American Works”; Rotations, Move Records, No. MD3172, “Hornucopia”; Character Sketch About a Waltz, Albany-Troy 689, “New Waltzes for Piano”; Clarinet Quartet, Innova No. 616, “American Masters”; Fanfares, Albany-Troy No. 668, “The Contemporary Harpsichord”; Short Story, Resonator Records, No. 08258, “Snapshot”; Metaphor, Innova No. 759, “Turn the Page.”
He has received commissions from or performed with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Dallas Symphony Orchestras, BBC Philharmonic, Hong Kong Philharmonia, Royal Scottish National Symphony, Juilliard String Quartet, Arditti Quartet, Emerson String Quartet, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Fires of London, Melbourne Wind Power, Voices of Change, Exxon Corporation, Meet the Composer and Chamber Music America.
Caltabiano replaces Peter Alexander, who retired in 2010 after nine years as dean of JCFA. Michelle Jarvis, interim dean for the 2010-2011 school year, will return to her role as associate dean.
“Ron understands there are three things that are important for the new dean,” Comstock said. “That is, first to make sure he’s visible on campus and shows support for faculty and student work and the work faculty and students do together. Second, he understands the importance of connecting with the community and making sure the Jordan College of Fine Arts is seen as a visible and integral part of the arts community in Indianapolis. And, third, he also understands that it’s very important for the new dean to have close connections with the faculty, to listen carefully to the faculty’s ideas.
“He can speak the language of each of the disciplines housed in the Jordan College, and he knows what kind of questions to ask to draw out the faculty’s best ideas for taking each area of the College to the next level of excellence. He is prepared to listen to those ideas and help faculty execute their dreams.”
Caltabiano said he is looking forward to coming to Butler.
“I am so attracted to the idea of conservatory-level training that takes place in rigorous, liberal arts setting,” he said. “This is where my road has been leading for a long time.”