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Veteran Professor Is Named Director of Scheidt School of Music at the U of M University News
For release: April 12, 2010

For press information, contact Curt Guenther, 901/678-2843

 

Dr. Randal Rushing
Dr. Randal Rushing
Dr. Randal Rushing, professor of voice and soloist of the concert and opera stage, has been appointed director for the Rudi E. Scheidt School of Music. He has been a faculty member at the School for 20 years, its associate director for student services since 2000, and the School’s interim director since 2008.

“I am very pleased, as are all members and friends of the College of Communication and Fine Arts, that an artist of Dr. Rushing’s national and international reputation is the new director of the Scheidt School of Music,” said Dr. Richard Ranta, dean of the College of Communication and Fine Arts. “He has proven over the past two years that he can lead and manage effectively and smoothly a large and diverse school, and I believe that everyone in the Memphis music community will enjoy working with him.”

A recipient of the Rotary International Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial Scholarship, Rushing studied at the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik Rheinland in Köln, Germany. This was followed by engagements with the Stadttheater Regensburg and Theater der Stadt Heidelberg. “My plans always were to return to the United States to continue my singing career and to seek university teaching opportunities,” Rushing said.

The University of Memphis offered exactly what he was looking for. “I was excited when I read the job description that specified that the initial tenure-track position was for an artist/teacher/performer,” he said. 

As a soloist, Rushing made his debut at Carnegie Hall in 2000 and his Lincoln Center debut in 2004. He has performed as tenor soloist with numerous opera companies and orchestras at home and abroad. Among them are the Chicago Symphony, the 21st Century Consort, resident ensemble for contemporary music at the Smithsonian Institution’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C., the St. Cecilia Orchestra and Chorus in New York City, and the Memphis Symphony. He has also performed throughout Germany, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, and Central America.

As a voice teacher, Rushing said the students keep him energized. “I want them to become fiercely independent artists. To observe from the audience while they stand and deliver a confident performance is very gratifying.”

When Rushing agreed to serve as the Scheidt School’s associate director in 2000, he knew it would be a challenge. “Yes, it was challenging, but again also very gratifying,” he said. “I like seeing ideas develop into projects and projects to come to fruition.”

Rushing believes the landscape of leadership in music is changing in Memphis, noting his appointment, the new music director at the Memphis Symphony Orchestra, and a change of artistic and general director at Opera Memphis. “It is thrilling to be a part of this shift,” he said.  “We are all facing the challenge of attracting new audiences with fewer resources and being more efficient without compromising artistic integrity.”

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