Candelaria to step down from Blair School of Music leadership role; Rose named new dean

Vanderbilt Blair School of Music Dean Lorenzo “Frank” Candelaria, who holds the Mark Wait Dean’s Chair at the school, will step down as Blair’s lead administrator, effective Dec. 31. Candelaria informed the Blair community earlier today that he would be leaving the dean’s role to spend more time with his family.

Frank Candelaria (Vanderbilt University)
Frank Candelaria (Vanderbilt University)

“As my wife, Casandra, and I begin a new chapter together, we are exploring ways to devote more time and attention to our family, currently divided between Nashville and New York,” Candelaria said in his message. “I am proud of the extraordinary progress Blair has made in just three years and will miss working with you and our colleagues across the university in an administrative capacity.”

Candelaria, who was appointed dean of the Blair School in 2020 after an international search, will enjoy a year of academic leave before resuming his appointment as a tenured professor of music. Melissa Rose, senior associate dean of academic affairs and professor of piano, will assume the role of dean for a two-and-a-half-year term, effective Jan. 1, 2024.

“We thank Dean Candelaria for his contributions to Blair and to the university over the past three years,” Chancellor Daniel Diermeier said. “As anyone who has heard its talented students knows, the Blair School continues to attract outstanding and promising musicians along with expert faculty. As we move through this period of transition, we are committed to advancing the Blair School and its mission.”

Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs C. Cybele Raver expressed her gratitude to Candelaria, citing Blair’s trajectory of growth under his leadership.

“Dean Candelaria arrived at the Blair School of Music in the early months of the COVID pandemic, and he helped guide this vibrant performing arts community through multiple transitions,” Raver said. “Over the past three years, he has invested in Blair’s faculty and strengthened Blair’s commitment to diversity and community partnerships. He also secured vital funding for the college’s future. I wish Frank and his family the very best. I thank incoming dean Melissa Rose as she takes on this key leadership role. We are inspired by and supportive of the entire Blair community as we move forward, together.”

Melissa Rose (Vanderbilt University)
Melissa Rose (Vanderbilt University)

To ensure a strong transition, Raver appointed Rose to serve as dean. A prolific collaborative pianist, Rose has performed alongside instrumentalists and singers in concerts throughout the United States and around the world. She has recorded for six record labels, and, in 2017, her recorded and edited viola/piano arrangement of one of Enrique Granados’ Tonadillas was included in the Grammy-nominated film The Music of Strangers.

Passionate about preparing pianists for careers in collaboration, Rose first joined Blair’s faculty as an adjunct senior artist teacher in 1996 and was appointed full time to the faculty in 1999. She holds an M.M. in piano performance from the Yale School of Music and a D.M.A. in collaborative piano from the University of Michigan. In addition to teaching and performing as a pianist, Rose is an advocate for supporting faculty and educating students. Her work on behalf of Blair’s faculty and music performance outreach and her dedicated commitment to enriching all members of society through music led to her deserved appointment as senior associate dean of academic affairs in 2019.

“I am honored by the opportunity to serve as dean of Blair School of Music, which has been my home for the last 27 years,” Rose said. “I look forward to collaborating with my peers and friends as we continue to build on the traditions of excellence, scholarship and artistry that define this wonderful community.”

“Melissa is a remarkable leader and trusted peer within the Blair School of Music,” said Tracy Sharpley-Whiting, vice provost for arts, libraries and global engagement. “The Office of the Provost team is committed to supporting her and the Blair faculty as they build upon their successes under Dean Candelaria and chart a bold trajectory of growth into the future.”