Longy School of Music of Bard College Appoints Assistant Dean of Artistic and Social Change Dr. Ian Saunders

 Dr. Ian Saunders

Longy School of Music of Bard College

Cambridge MA 02138

Dr. Ian Saunders is the conservatory’s new Assistant Dean, effective September 14.

Dr. Ian Saunders comes to Longy having worked as an educator and performer after receiving his Musical Arts doctorate from the University of Maryland. Prior to joining Longy, Dr. Saunders was the Classical Roots Coordinator at the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, where he began his relationship with the Orchestra as a Diversity Fellow. Previously, Saunders was the Associate Dean of Students at the Eastern Music Festival in Greensboro, North Carolina.

“We are honored to welcome Dr. Ian Saunders to the Longy Community. He is an incredible musician and leader, and our students, faculty and staff will benefit greatly from his expertise,” said President Karen Zorn. “I look forward to working closely with him to advance our social change mission and to create meaningful change for students and communities through music.”

Longy prepares our students to become the musicians the world needs them to be. Dr. Saunders will develop and grow programs that will guide students on how to use their artistry to drive positive change in their communities.

“I am excited about my new role at Longy. The School’s commitment to preparing our students to become citizen musicians is inspiring. Talent is spread evenly across humanity, but the opportunity to nurture that talent is not. By modeling what equitable and authentic community relationships are to our students, they graduate capable of shaping careers rooted in social change.”

Dr. Saunders will work with faculty and program directors to guide some of Longy’s signature programs including:

  • Sistema Side by Side. An orchestra comprised of Longy students and young musicians from Massachusetts-based El Sistema-inspired programs, Sistema Side by Side is centered on mentorship and musical excellence.
  • Music as a Healing Art. Partnering with the Music for Healing and Transition Program, Longy offers an academic year class as well as a summer program leading to certification as Music Practitioner. This training prepares musicians at all levels to use their artistry for healing within a variety of settings (hospitals, assisted living facilities, hospice care, transitional housing, etc.).
  • Teaching Artist Program. Longy was among the first music conservatories to require its students to study and practice teaching artistry, placing its students in community organizations, schools and other venues around the city. Through the teaching artist program, Longy students learn how to interact with new audiences and create meaningful musical experiences in a variety of settings.
  • Music and Civic Engagement. Preparing students to make an impact in the community is a prominent feature of Longy’s Catalyst Courses. In this class, students learn how human-centered design can help them identify social needs through music.
  • Musician’s Portfolio. At the heart of being an artist in society is self-awareness and identity and determining what you have and wish to say to the world.

Saunders will also cultivate partnerships with national and international institutions, including area public schools and health care facilities, and the El Sistema network.

“Dr. Ian Saunders joins our Academic Affairs team as a musician who has truly lived Longy’s mission of creating equity and social impact through music,” said Dean Dr. Judith Bose. “He brings significant experience as a performer, speaker and educator, and is the perfect choice to lead some of our most important initiatives. We are thrilled to announce his appointment.”

In addition to his oversight of Longy’s signature programs and partnerships, Dr. Saunders will directly manage co-curricular and professional development opportunities. He will also be responsible for the artistic design and curation of Longy’s concert season. Saunders looks to continue Longy’s work of decolonizing the classical music cannon and amplifying the voices of Black and brown, women and LGBTQ musicians.