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Utah State University Names Craig D. Jessop as Music Department Head

Friday, Apr. 04, 2008

Craig D. Jessop conducting

Craig D. Jessop join's USU’s music department May 5. He’s seen here conducting the National Honors Choir Workshop at Carnegie Hall in New York City.

Craig D. Jessop, former music director for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, has been named head of Utah State University’s department of music. The appointment was announced by College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences Associate Dean Edward Glatfelter.

“We are pleased with this marvelous addition to the very strong music program at Utah State University,” Glatfelter said. “Professor Jessop brings with him a wonderful quality, not only from the choral aspect, but in furthering the continued growth and development of the entire department. An outstanding artist and director will be leading an excellent music department.”
Jessop, who served as director of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir from 1999 to 2008, said when he stepped down that he intended to keep active in the musical world, including teaching. He will begin his leadership role in the music department May 5.
“I am absolutely thrilled to become a professor and head of the music department at Utah State University for many reasons,” Jessop said. “First of all, I’m an Aggie. My wife is an Aggie and all four of our children are Aggies. I am excited to be able to return to the valley and the university I love so much. And to now be in a position to give back to the educational process is a dream come true. I believe that everything happens for a reason, and I feel strongly that this is the season of my life to give.”
Response on campus and in the music department to Jessop’s appointment was very positive, and student response at USU to the announcement was met with excitement and interest. Catherine Hatch, sophomore music major, attended an introductory meeting held with students and faculty on the USU campus.
“I think that Dr. Jessop would do a wonderful job and is very qualified,” she said. “He’ll have the ability to get things done. He was also very approachable.”
“On behalf of the students and faculty in the department of music, we are delighted to have Dr. Jessop assume this important leadership position and look forward to the numerous opportunities this will afford us,” said interim department head Nicholas Morrison. “We are equally pleased that the best person to lead the department into the future is one of our own graduates.”
Morrison also expressed thanks to USU’s administration for its support in the search effort and support of music programs.
Jessop said there is vibrancy in the USU music department that drew him back to the university.
“There has been exciting, dynamic and excellent leadership in the department over the years,” he said. “I am honored to follow in the footsteps of Max Dalby, who was the department head when I was a student. He was a great influence in my life. There are many others from USU, including Dr. William Ramsey, who is my friend and mentor to this day.”
Jessop also noted the strength of multiple programs in the department including piano, guitar, music therapy, orchestral, choral, instrumental and music education.
“I will be able to work from a great legacy that exists in the department of music,” he said.
Jessop said he is especially excited to work with the Caine School of the Arts in the College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences at USU.
“This collaborative effort is a very progressive approach,” Jessop said. “For the university to take this step to consolidate the arts is very inspiring, and I’m excited to become a part of that process.”
“We are extremely excited and fortunate that a person with Dr. Jessop’s accomplishments and reputation has joined Utah State University’s department of music,” said USU President Stan Albrecht. “His appointment will lift and extend the excellence of our music programs to benefit our students, faculty and the larger community. His accomplishments are unquestionably impressive. We are thrilled.”
Jessop earned a doctorate of musical arts in conducting and performance practice from Stanford University (1980), with an earlier master’s degree in music education from Brigham Young University. He completed a bachelor’s degree in music education at USU in 1973.
Prior to his association with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Jessop had a distinguished career as a lieutenant colonel with the United States Air Force, where he was director of the Singing Sergeants (1979-1987), commander/conductor, Band of the United States Air Forces in Europe (1987-91) and commander/conductor of the Air Combat Command Heartland of American Band (1991-95).
He began his career in education as director of choral activities at Granite High School in Salt Lake City.
“Utah State is my home,” Jessop said. “The people of Utah are my people. My wife and I met, dated and courted at Utah State University. There is no place I would rather spend my time than here in my home state and home university.”
Contact: Edward Glatfelter (435) 797-1196
Contact: Craig Jessop (435) 797-3036
Writer: Patrick Williams (435) 797-1354

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