Press Releases

Volker Straebel Named Dean of The Herb Alpert School of Music and Richard Seaver Distinguished Chair in Music at California Institute of the Arts

Volker Straebel Named Dean of The Herb Alpert School of Music and Richard Seaver Distinguished Chair in Music at California Institute of the Arts

Volker Straebel has been appointed the next dean of The Herb Alpert School of Music at CalArts and the new Richard Seaver Distinguished Chair in Music. | Photo by Kai Bienert.

Valencia, Calif. (October 29, 2020) - Volker Straebel has been named Dean of The Herb Alpert School of Music at CalArts (HASOM). An accomplished musicologist, composer, and curator with expertise in the American avant-garde, experimental music and sound art, he will assume his new position on Jan. 2, 2021. Straebel will report to CalArts Provost Tracie Costantino. As dean, Straebel will also hold the Richard Seaver Distinguished Chair in Music during his tenure at CalArts.

“Volker’s innovative and open approach to musical creativity and his commitment to a multidisciplinary arts environment made him a strong match for CalArts,” said Costantino. “Our students will also benefit from his experience as a curator and producer. He served as a curatorial advisor to the annual large-scale music festival MaerzMusik (Berliner Festspiele) for 12 years and he was in charge of the productions and concert activities of the Electronic Music Studio at Technical University Berlin for five.”

Volker joins CalArts after serving as director of the master’s program Sound Studies and Sonic Arts at the Berlin University of the Arts. His distinguished career includes writing, lecturing, curating, and performing around the world, and serving on numerous prestigious juries and committees such as "Sonambiente," a festival on sound art produced by the Berlin Academy of the Arts and Berliner Festspiele, and the Electroacoustic Music Studies Network conference. 

“Following the Bauhaus and Black Mountain College, CalArts defines the most recent innovation in experimental arts education in an institutional setting,” Straebel said. “As a music curator, performer, and musicologist at the Berlin University of the Arts, I have been in close contact with faculty and alumni of the HASOM for more than a decade. I am delighted to serve as dean of the school, whose musicians I highly respect and admire. To follow David Rosenboom in that position is a great honor and obligation, and I hope to become instrumental in further developing the school and to broaden its impact in Southern California, the United States and the world in these challenging times.” 

HASOM offers rigorous training in an unrivaled variety of musical styles and cultures. The vibrant mix of offerings allows students to acquire the musical fluency to work across conventional boundaries, expand their artistic and cultural horizons, and develop a global creative vision. Qualitatively different from conventional music conservatories, technical excellence is only one part of the CalArts story, as The Herb Alpert School of Music seeks to empower students as complete makers of music. Straebel succeeds Dean David Rosenboom who has served as dean of the HASOM for 30 years. 

Straebel earned his M.A. in musicology, philosophy, and library studies from Technical University Berlin.  

California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) has set the pace for educating professional artists since 1970. Offering rigorous undergraduate and graduate degree programs through six schools—Art, Critical Studies, Dance, Film/Video, Music, and Theater—CalArts has championed creative excellence, critical reflection, and the development of new forms and expressions. As successive generations of faculty and alumni have helped shape the landscape of contemporary arts, the Institute first envisioned by Walt Disney encompasses a vibrant, eclectic community with global reach, inviting experimentation, independent inquiry, and active collaboration and exchange among artists, artistic disciplines, and cultural traditions.