Chasalow, noted composer, educator, named GSAS dean
Succeeds Mick Watson, who is retiring after 37 years at Brandeis
Eric Chasalow, a renowned composer of both electro-acoustic and traditional music and the Irving Fine Professor of Music, was named dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Brandeis University. His appointment is effective July 1.
Chasalow replaces Mick Watson, the George and Frances Levin Professor of Psychology, who has served as dean since July 2010. Watson retired on June 30 after 37 years as a member of the Brandeis faculty.
“I am excited that Eric has accepted our offer to lead the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences,” said Susan Birren, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “Since joining the Brandeis faculty in 1990, he has distinguished himself as a composer, advisor, teacher and member of the university community. Eric’s experience in graduate education, combined with his vision and drive, will enable him to support and build GSAS’s outstanding graduate programs and to promote Brandeis’ reputation as a top research university that delivers innovative education to our undergraduate and graduate students.”
Chasalow teaches popular undergraduate and graduate courses in theory, composition and electronic music, and also serves as the director of the internationally recognized Brandeis Electro-Acoustic Music Studio. An award-winning composer best known for works that combine traditional instruments with electronic sound, his music is programmed around the world. Chasalow just completed a two-year term as chair of the Faculty Senate; has served on a number of university committees, including the strategic planning steering committee (2012-13) and Provost’s University Advisory Committee (2011-13); and was chair of the music department (1996-2002).
Chasalow graduated cum laude from Bates with a bachelor’s degree in music and biology. A product of the famed Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center, he received his master’s (1979) and doctor of musical arts (1985) from Columbia University. He taught at Harvard University in 2003-04. Chasalow and his wife, Barbara Cassidy, MA ’98, have a son, Simon.
During Watson’s four-year tenure as GSAS dean, he was instrumental in securing renewal of the $2 million Mellon Dissertation Year Fellowship program, enhancing both the stature and fiscal position of the school, and helping shape Fulfilling the Promise: The Brandeis University Strategic Plan.
“We thank Mick Watson for his four years of exemplary service to GSAS and congratulate him on a wonderful career as a teacher, researcher and administrator,” Birren said. “I will miss working with him and wish him all the best in his retirement.”
Nearly 1,000 students are enrolled in the GSAS, which offers 18 doctoral and 37 master’s degree programs. GSAS admissions are highly competitive; just 8.6 percent of PhD applicants and 31 percent of master’s applicants were accepted for the 2013-14 academic year.