The music school welcomes a new dean with the new semester


Ollie Gratzinger | editor-in-chief

The Mary Pappert School of Music has changed its tempo with a new dean.

David Allen Wehr, the Jack W. Geltz Distinguished Piano Chair at Duquesne University, will succeed Seth Beckman, who had served as dean since 2014, according to the press release from the university.

“I’m thrilled that such an extraordinary performer, scholar and teacher will take the reins of the Mary Pappert School of Music at Duquesne,” said University President Ken Gormley in a statement. “His understanding of the power of Duquesne’s programs will strengthen and expand what we do for students. The continuity made possible by his appointment will keep a positive momentum going in this school with a long history of success.”

Wehr has an M.M. and a B.M. in piano performance from the University of Kansas, and has also studied at the Cleveland Institute of Music, the Taos School of Music and the Dartington Summer Music School in London before settling down in Pittsburgh’s Mount Lebanon neighborhood.

A faculty member at Duquesne since 2001, Wehr is the artistic director of the music school’s Bluff Music Series, which began in 2002 and features musicians from the university, as well as the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and other guests. The series pays tribute to internationally acclaimed composers like Franz Schubert, Ludwig van Beethoven, Frederic Chopin, Aaron Copland and Pittsburgh native David Stock.

“It is humbling to have been asked to lead such an outstanding and accomplished faculty,” Wehrr said. “I truly believe that no music school in the world can better the overall strength of the Mary Pappert School of Music and our programs in performance, music education, music therapy and music technology. I’m honored to have been appointed to lead into a very exciting and challenging future.”

As dean, Wehr hopes to promote the music school’s interdisciplinary programs, namely those which overlap with business, liberal arts and law.

“Many music courses and all of our award-winning ensembles are open to any student at Duquesne,” Wehr said.

Wehr was born in New Jersey to a family of professional musicians. He grew up in Idaho, where he had his first piano lesson on his fourth birthday. Wehr has since become a seasoned pianist with numerous awards under his belt, including the 1975 Kosciuszko Chopin Prize in New York City; the 1983 National Federation of Music Clubs Young Artist Award and second prize in both the 1983 Naumburg International Piano Competition at New York’s Carnegie Hall and the 1986 Kapell Competition at the Kennedy Center.

After winning the gold at the 1987 Santander International Piano Competition in Santander, Spain, Wehr embarked on a tour of more than 30 countries.

“David Allen Wehr has shown that he possesses both the respect of the faculty and the vision for what is possible with music at Duquesne,” said Duquesne Provost Dr. David Dausey. “He will build on his already strong record of promoting innovative music education and connecting Duquesne students with the larger regional community.”

Dausey also said that the music school faculty shares his “optimism and enthusiasm at having such a world-class performer and educator at the helm of the school.”