Paul Popiel named dean of KU School of Music

Tue, 12/12/2023


Savannah Rattanavong

LAWRENCE — The University of Kansas has selected Paul Popiel as the next dean of the KU School of Music. Popiel has served as the interim dean since January. He has been a professor of music at KU since 2010.

“Paul’s extensive understanding and experience as a longtime faculty member and director of bands in the School of Music make him an exceptional choice for the role,” said Barbara A. Bichelmeyer, provost and executive vice chancellor. “I’ve had the opportunity to observe how he works with and supports the faculty, students and staff over the past few years, and I’m confident he will continue to build upon the school’s successes to reach new levels.”

Paul Popiel

The School of Music seeks to become a model of diverse, creative and innovative approaches to the study and performance of music in the 21st century. The school brings together students and faculty in music composition, education, history, performance, therapy and theory.

“I am honored and exhilarated to have the opportunity to lead the KU School of Music, a place that I have called my professional home as the director of bands for the past 14 years,” Popiel said. “It's a thrilling time for KU and the School of Music with record enrollments and rapidly growing participation of KU students in music ensembles and music courses from across the university. I am a passionate advocate for making music available to all.”

Popiel is also a conductor in the school and previously was the director of bands from 2010 to 2022. He conducts the Crossroads Wind Symphony and leads the historic Lawrence City Band in its summer concert series in South Park. Popiel recently completed a four-week professional conducting residency with the renowned Osaka Shion Wind Orchestra in Japan and was awarded The American Prize with KU Wind Ensemble for outstanding performance.

His previous appointments include the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music and Oklahoma State University.

Popiel has lectured and performed throughout the United States, Canada, Europe and Asia. He is a contributing author to several volumes of “Teaching Music through Performance in Band” and the Alta Musica journal, as well as the editor-in-chief of The Wind Music Research Quarterly.

He has recorded 10 commercial CDs and his work has been positively reviewed in prestigious media such as The New York Times and Gramophone magazine.

In 2013, Popiel was elected to the membership of the American Bandmasters Association and the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. He has received a number of awards, including the University Scholarly Achievement Award and the School of Music’s Outstanding Teaching Award.

Popiel earned his doctorate in wind conducting from Michigan State University, a master’s degree in trumpet performance from the University of Notre Dame and bachelor’s degrees in instrumental music education and trumpet performance from Truman State University. He also earned a postgraduate diploma in Twentieth-Century Music from the University of Bristol in Bristol, England.

As dean of KU Music, Popiel oversees the school’s strategy, academics, research and creative activities, and is responsible for fostering community engagement and service activities. He will locally and globally guide partnerships to bring an international audience to its program.

Additionally, Popiel will ensure talent development of faculty, staff and student employees and fiscal stewardship of administrative structures and the school’s endowment. In particular, Popiel will assist in KU's Ever Onward capital campaign, garnering external investment to support music students and research endeavors.

“My guiding principle in the dean role is to cultivate an inclusive, diverse and vibrant arts community where musical passion thrives and where creativity, exploration and excellence are celebrated,” Popiel said.

“We have remarkable students and alumni doing incredible things all over the world and a terrific faculty and staff going above and beyond to support them. Our best times are surely ahead of us, and I look forward to working with our faculty and staff to reach ever greater heights. I especially want to thank the students, staff and faculty for their patience with me as interim dean over the past year as the search process played out.”

Tue, 12/12/2023


Savannah Rattanavong

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Savannah Rattanavong

Office of the Provost