By Tara Bennett
Todd Queen will become the LSU’s new dean of the College of Music & Dramatic Arts this fall. His work focuses on educational opportunity in the performing arts, which includes faculty and guest recitals, master classes, and solo engagements with international and regional opera companies, orchestras, choruses and concert series. He is currently the voice and the chair of the Department of Music, Theatre and Dance in the College of Liberal Arts at Colorado State University, where he served as a faculty member since 2001 where he first began as the director of Colorado State Opera Theatre. During his time at CSU, Queen’s vocal students have been selected for young artist programs in the U.S. and abroad with former students currently attending conservatories and apprentice programs, such as Eastman School of Music, Indiana University, University of North Texas and Minnesota Opera, and have placed in the district and regional finals of the Metropolitan Opera National Council auditions. He will begin at LSU on July 1 pending board approval.
Queen talked with DIG about his passion for arts education and his new role at LSU:
DIG: Tell us a little about your background in the performing arts. What made you pursue it as your career?
“The arts are an integral part of our culture. It is not an elective; it is part of the fabric of our lives.”
Todd Queen: I started my college career at Brigham Young University as a music education major with a double emphasis on saxophone and voice. I loved the college experience and decided I never wanted to leave. I went to see “Carmen” during my freshman year, the first opera I had ever seen, and I came home that night and told my roommates I wanted to be an opera singer. I was hooked! I then went out and pursued a master’s and doctorate so I could be a performer and educator.
DIG: How has your multifaceted experience – performer, educator and administrator — prepared you for your position as Dean?
TQ: I believe my experience as a teacher and performer allows me to be a better administrator because I have experience in the classroom and in the professional world. My experience as an opera director allows me to see multiple points of view, and I appreciate both the behind the scenes work, as well as the artistic work on the stage.
TQ: I believe that the arts are an integral part of our culture. It is not an elective; it is part of the fabric of our lives. Educating students at an early age to the many different aspects that incorporate the arts is essential, as it builds a foundation that will stay with them throughout their lives. I have found that once students are exposed to the arts at an early age, it leaves a lasting impression and it demystifies some of the stereotypes that still remain about the arts.
DIG: How will you encourage students (majors and non-majors) to get involved in the College of Music & Dramatic Arts?
TQ: I want every LSU student to have a positive experience with the arts at LSU. I am a big proponent of non-major participation in ensembles and classroom experiences. I also hope students will experience our concerts and productions in our theatres and concert halls.
DIG: Are there ways in which alumni can contribute?
TQ: During my time at CSU, we created an alumni relations position so we could reconnect with our alumni. Our alumni are essential to our success for several reasons. First, they can spread the word throughout the world that we have a world class performing arts program. Second, we want to hear from our alumni about their success stories so we can promote them as evidence of receiving a world class performing arts education at LSU. Finally, it is important for our current students to see and hear from successful alumni. I am committed to bringing alumni back to campus to inspire our students and help them become successful in the professional world.
DIG: When you’re not busy “being the dean,” what activities outside of academia do you enjoy?
TQ: The committee asked me this question, and I told them administration is my hobby. I do enjoy golfing, through I’m terrible, but I am hoping to improve once I get to the warmer weather.