Donald E. Casey became dean of the School of Music
in 1995, assuming the helm of a school that was on a trajectory toward becoming one of the highest-ranking music schools in the nation. Since that time, four of the school's major ensembles have indeed joined the ranks of the best in the country. Recognized for excellence in music teaching and performance, the school enrolls about 380 graduate and undergraduate students in its highly competitive programs, which presents over 300 public performances each year.
A cadre of teachers who are extraordinary in both their musical and teaching abilities has joined the faculty, including Ilya Kaler, the only violinist ever to win gold medals at the Tchaikovsky, Sibelius, and Paganini competitions, internationally renowned mezzo-soprano Jane Bunnell, and most recently piano virtuoso George Vatchnadze.
Twenty members of the Chicago Symphony and Lyric Opera of Chicago orchestras are members of the faculty, which numbers 110.
Casey helped elevate the image of the school through an expansion of the already active recording program for faculty and ensembles and through the creation of a noteworthy annual magazine, "Con Brio." Under his direction, the number of endowed scholarships grew from 14 to 50 and all undergraduate and graduate curricula for the school were revised. The school offers undergraduate and master's degrees in performance, music composition, music education and jazz studies; undergraduate degrees in sound recording technology and performing arts management; and a post-master's certificate in performance.
Although his academic background is in music education, Casey also is an accomplished conductor, arranger, and scholar. He is the author of numerous articles in professional journals and has produced papers, workshops and other presentations. He has made more than 100 appearances as a music festival guest conductor or adjudicator in 20 states and four Canadian provinces. He is a member of several professional associations and has been widely sought as a consultant.
He was a music education design consultant and a member of the board of directors for Harmonic Vision, Inc., a music education software company that produces software to foster musical learning for children. Casey led the design team that produced products that have garnered more than 50 awards and honors and are used by more than a million children.
A native of Illinois, he attended the Eastman School of Music and received his Bachelor's and Master's degrees in music education from Northwestern University, where he was associate professor of music education, coordinator of music education, and director of undergraduate studies in music education before joining DePaul. He earned his Doctorate in music education from the University of Illinois School of Music.
He is currently on the Board of Grant Park Symphony, where he led the search team that engaged the new executive director, Paul Winberg. He also serves on the Board of the DePaul Art Museum, and is a member of the Steering Committee for DePaul’s next Strategic Plan. He has traveled the country for the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM) working with colleges and universities to obtain and renew their NASM credentials, and regularly presents at Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) conferences on fundraising.