Professor: Musicology; Music Theory
BMus, MA, PhD (Toronto)Email
Don McLean is Professor of Music Theory and Musicology. He was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal through the Canada Council in 2012 for his “exploration of the changing context of music in the academy and society, and innovations in infrastructure development and interdisciplinary teaching and research.” He served as Dean of U of T Music from January 1, 2011 through June 30, 2021.
Key administrative initiatives at U of T Music include: (1) leadership and faculty renewal in teaching, research, and public engagement in most academic areas (opera/voice/early music, musicology/ethnomusicology/theory, music education, piano, strings, winds, percussion, ensembles, jazz, and composition/contemporary music); (2) new interdisciplinary programs and research in music and health, and music technology and digital media, as well as partnerships with other faculties, colleges, academic units, and institutions, including the annual (since 2015) Digital Media at the Crossroads (DM@X) Conference (with U of T, York, Ryerson, OCAD, and McCarthy LLP); (3) ongoing efforts at increased internationalization (resulting in improved profile and rise in international rankings) through links to the EU (notably through the Association of European Conservatories), US, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, and greater diversity in recruitment of faculty and students; (4) infrastructure renewal of existing facilities (performance hall upgrades, classrooms/seminar rooms, Electronic Music Studio, research labs) and equipment/technology, with major new projects planned and/or underway; (5) renewal of Music Advancement team and establishment of Faculty of Music Advisory Council (FMAC) leading to increases in major philanthropic support for Faculty priorities; (6) completion of two UTQAP External Reviews (2015 and 2020), the first resulting in the Strategic Plan for Music 2016-2021 (PDF), the more recent handed forward to Dean Ellie M. Hisama for administrative response and strategic plan extension, with renewed focus on building an equitable, diverse, and inclusive community.
Research—As a research scholar, Prof. McLean is engaged in four areas: (1) Schenkerian theory and analysis, with focus on motive and hierarchy across repertoire domains, (2) music of the New Viennese School, with focus on Berg, (3) the emotional impact of music on listeners, with focus on how structural features engender emotional response, and (4) higher education in music in an evolving global context, with focus on interdisciplinary research, infrastructure development, and curricular reform.
Biographical Background—Trained in piano performance and pedagogy, coaching and accompanying, conducting and composition, musicology and music theory, Prof. McLean is a three-time graduate of the University of Toronto and a two-time graduate of the Royal Conservatory of Music, and taught for both institutions from 1978–1989. His masters/doctoral graduate work and subsequent research has been funded by the Canada Council, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, and the Connaught Foundation, and he was one of the first recipients of the American Musicological Society AMS 50 doctoral awards. He received a UofT SAC/APUS campus-wide teaching award in 1983. His former graduate students now hold prestigious academic positions at major Canadian and international institutions, some moving on to success in other professional fields.
In 1988, McLean moved to Montreal and McGill University, where, as Dean of the Faculty from 2001–2010, he played key roles in the strategic expansion of its faculty and programs, the creation of CIRMMT (Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Music Media and Technology), the realization of the New (now Elizabeth Wirth) Music Building (a world-class research, performance, and library facility), and—through a transformative gift from Seymour Schulich—the naming of the Faculty as The Schulich School of Music of McGill University. He returned to Toronto and U of T Music as Dean in January 2011 and renewed for a second term from 2016 through 2021. He is currently on administrative leave.