David Allen Wehr has been named dean of the Mary Pappert School of Music after serving in the interim role since July. He succeeds Dr. Seth Beckman, who served as dean from 2014-2019.
Wehr, who joined the music school faculty in 2001, is an internationally renowned pianist and artistic director of the Mary Pappert School of Music’s popular Bluff Music Series, which features Duquesne music faculty, members of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and other guest artists. He also holds the Jack W. Geltz Distinguished Piano Chair in the music school.
“I’m thrilled that such an extraordinary performer, scholar and teacher will take the reins of the Mary Pappert School of Music at Duquesne,” said President Ken Gormley. “David Allen Wehr has long been a leader within the school and is helping its faculty to advance innovative initiatives in the field of music and related technology. His understanding of the power of Duquesne’s programs will strengthen and expand what we do for students. The continuity made possible by his appointment will keep a positive momentum going in this school with a long history of success.”
Wehr, whose first piano lessons began at age four, earned notoriety early in his career, winning the 1975 Kosciuszko Chopin Prize in New York City; the 1983 National Federation of Music Clubs Young Artist Award; and second prizes in the 1983 Naumburg International Piano Competition at New York’s Carnegie Hall and the 1986 Kapell Competition at the Kennedy Center.
“It is humbling to have been asked to lead such an outstanding and accomplished faculty,” Wehr said. “I truly believe that no music school in the world can better the overall strength of the Mary Pappert School of Music and our programs in performance, music education, music therapy and music technology. I’m honored to have been appointed to lead into a very exciting and challenging future.”
Wehr said that he is especially looking forward to promoting the music school’s interdisciplinary programs with business, liberal arts and law. “Many music courses and all of our award-winning ensembles are open to any student at Duquesne,” Wehr explained.
His global career launched after his gold-medal winning performance at the 1987 Santander International Piano Competition in Spain, with resulting tours in more than 30 countries in Europe, North and South America, and the far east. Wehr’s more than 1,300 concerts include 13 seasons of touring the United States and Canada for community concerts as a soloist and pianist with the Sartory Trio, along with Duquesne Violin Professor Charles Stegeman.
Wehr’s critical role with the Bluff Music Series began in 2002. The series has paid tribute to composers including Franz Schubert, Ludwig van Beethoven, Frederic Chopin, Pittsburgh native David Stock and Aaron Copland. In addition, Wehr’s critically acclaimed discography with Connoisseur Society, Inc., includes programs by Claude Debussy, George Gershwin and Sergei Rachmaninoff, among others, as well as the complete Beethoven Sonata Cycle.
“In his short time serving in an interim role, David Allen Wehr has shown that he possesses both the respect of the faculty and the vision for what is possible with music at Duquesne,” said Duquesne Provost Dr. David Dausey. “He will build on his already strong record of promoting innovative music education and connecting Duquesne students with the larger regional community. Having spoken with the faculty about this appointment, I know they too share my optimism and enthusiasm at having such a world-class performer and educator at the helm of the school.”
Wehr, who has both an M.M. and an B.M. in piano performance from the University of Kansas, also studied at the Cleveland Institute of Music, the Taos School of Music and the Dartington Summer Music School in London.