Peter Swendsen Peter Swendsen, a cutting-edge composer and accomplished academic administrator, has been hired as the Patricia Valian Reser Chair and Director of Visual, Performing and Design Arts for Oregon State University’s College of Liberal Arts (CLA). Swendsen comes to Corvallis from Oberlin Conservatory of Music in Oberlin, Ohio, where he served as senior associate dean of academic affairs, professor of computer music and digital arts, and co-chair of musical studies.

“We’re excited to welcome Peter as the director of our School of Visual, Performing and Design Arts,” said Larry Rodgers, dean of the college. “He’s not only an experienced, innovative administrator who’s helped lead one the country’s most distinguished conservatories, he’s a nationally prominent musician in his field of computer music. With the renovation of Fairbanks Hall and the construction of the Arts and Education Complex, he’s joining OSU at a time when the future of the Arts has never looked brighter.”

Swendsen is charged with leading one of CLA’s two newest schools which was part of the former School of Arts and Communication.

“It is such an exciting time to be arriving at OSU, and I am eager to engage with the terrific practitioners, scholars, and educators throughout SVPDA, the CLA, and across campus,” Swendsen said. “We are in the midst of a transformational moment in the arts, and our students stand poised to reimagine and redefine our practices and industries.”

As a creator, Swendsen’s work arises primarily from a long-held fascination in the interaction of music and dance, as well as an appreciation for sounds and images from the natural world as compositional material. His compositions have been heard throughout the United States as well as in Europe, South America and Asia. Swendsen cites the collaborations and interdisciplinary connections that arise from his work as inspiration for his teaching and program development.

“Peter Swendsen’s innovative career as a composer, deep leadership resumé, and experience joining various forms of art practice make him an ideal leader for the school,” said Peter Betjemann, Patricia Valian Reser director of arts and education and search committee chair for the position. “He knows and understands why the arts matter, how they are grounded in history as well as how they are evolving, and what students need to enter the dynamic, creative ecosystems of the future.”

Swendsen, a Fulbright Fellow (Oslo, Norway, 2006-07), received his PhD in Music Composition and Computer Technologies from the University of Virginia (2009). He also holds a BM from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music (1999) and an MFA from the Mills College Center for Contemporary Music (2002).

“With the talented and dedicated faculty and staff of SVPDA, I look forward to providing OSU students exceptional training and hands-on experience with focused forms of expression and critical inquiry,” Swendsen said. “We will also celebrate their development of creative thinking skills, robust teaching practices, and explorations of novel forms and ideas, and we will foster a community experience welcoming and supportive of new voices and perspectives.”

Swendsen’s appointment at OSU begins July 1.