An African-American music scholar and young piano prodigy has been named the new director of the University of Maryland School of Music. His tenure began July 1.

Jason Geary

Jason Geary

Jason Geary comes to Maryland after a 12-year stint at his alma mater, the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance, where he served as associate professor and associate dean for graduate studies, equity and inclusion.  

“We’re thrilled to have Jason join us as the next director for the School of Music,” Bonnie Thornton Dill, dean of UMD’s College of Arts and Humanities, said in a statement. “Jason has the knowledge and experience to take the school to the next level, making it a national leader among schools for music at public research institutions.”

As a young pianist, Geary won competitions that resulted in performances with several esteemed orchestras. He went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in piano performance from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music as well as master’s and doctoral degrees in musicology from the University of Michigan and Yale University, respectively.

Now a respected musicologist and pianist, Geary has won many prestigious grants and fellowships, including a Fulbright Grant and membership in the School of Historical Studies at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton.

His scholarship has focused on music of the 19th century, and he has published several articles and book chapters exploring the intersection of music and Hellenism, according to his bio on, where his treatise, “The Politics of Appropriation: German Romantic Music and the Ancient Greek Legacy” is sold.

Geary said he is excited to expand the reach of the school across and beyond the College Park campus.
“The School of Music at the University of Maryland has an excellent reputation both nationally and internationally, and I am eager to help build upon the many successes of this already dynamic and distinguished institution,” Geary said in a statement. “I see the promise and the potential of building on the reputation of respected academic and performance programs, of collaborating with an active and engaged faculty, and of capitalizing on the beautiful resources offered by The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center.”


Zenitha Prince

Special to the AFRO