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Conflict of Vision: UT Music School Director Resigns

Glenn Chandler and Douglas Dempster have opposing views about the future of UT's Butler School of Music.
Photos courtesy University of Texas at Austin
Glenn Chandler and Douglas Dempster have opposing views about the future of UT's Butler School of Music.

Glenn Chandler,the director of the burgeoning University of Texas Butler School of Music, has stepped down. The resignation comes at the encouragement of Douglas Dempster, dean of the College of Fine Arts

Chandler had served as the Butler School’s director since 2001.

Dempster says he and Chandler had different visions of the role and the future of the school of music. The core issue was that Chandler wanted the school to become its own entity separate of the College of Fine Arts. Instead, Dempster wants the school to become more integrated into the College of Fine Arts.“We’re developing gaming courses that involve music and design and theater and storytelling. We’re looking at digital and interactive technologies that pull various art forms together. Of course opera and musical theater are multimedia art forms — all of which speak to the need for integration and collaboration,” said Dempster. 

While Dempster agrees that Chandler oversaw the school in a period of great growth, Dempster attributed much of that growth to the leadership of the previous dean of the College of Fine Arts, Robert Freeman.

Dempster has appointed an interim director for the school of music. Glenn Richter is a longtime UT faculty member and former director of the Longhorn Band. The school will conduct an international search for a permanent replacement.

But Dempster says before that search begins, he and others will sit down and establish a clear vision for where the music school should be headed. He expects that process to take at least a year.

Glenn Chandler was not available for comment. He is a tenured faculty member and has the opportunity to stay with the Butler School of Music in that role.

Laura first joined the KUT team in April 2012. She now works for the statewide program Texas Standard as a reporter and producer. Laura came to KUT from the world of television news. She has worn many different hats as an anchor, reporter and producer at TV stations in Austin, Amarillo and Toledo, OH. Laura is a proud graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia, a triathlete and enjoys travel, film and a good beer. She enjoys spending time with her husband and pets.