DePaul University Newsline > Sections > Campus and Community > Dana Hall named Interim Dean for the School of Music

Dana Hall named Interim Dean for the School of Music

Dana Hall will begin his appointment as interim dean of the School of Music on Nov. 2.
Dana Hall will begin his appointment as interim dean of the School of Music on Nov. 2. (DePaul University/Jeff Carrion)
​Dana Hall, an award-winning bandleader, composer, musician and DePaul faculty member since 2012, has been named interim dean for the School of Music, Provost Salma Ghanem announced​. His appointment begins Nov. 2.

Hall, who earned a Master of Music in jazz studies from DePaul in 2002, has served as DePaul’s director of jazz studies since 2014 and the coordinator of jazz combos since 2012. During his tenure, he’s earned the university’s Excellence in Teaching Award in 2021 and the Distinguished Service Award in 2017. In addition to teaching, Hall has previously served on DePaul’s Faculty Council, the School of Music’s DEI Executive Committee Council and DEI Taskforce, and as co-chair of the University Board on Promotion and Tenure.

“From the time Dana stepped foot on DePaul’s campus as a student and later as a faculty member, he’s been an excellent representative of our university’s Catholic, Vincentian mission. He has helped students thrive during his time at DePaul and will do an excellent job leading the school while we search for a permanent dean,” Ghanem says.

Hall is consistently recognized as one of the top jazz drummers in the world. He was named to New City’s Music 45 list in 2020, and has previously been tabbed a rising star on jazz drums by Downbeat Magazine (2012) and as Chicagoan of the Year by The Chicago Tribune Arts Council (2009).​

As a jazz drummer, Hall has performance and tour credits on six continents and extensive concert hall, nightclub and festival experience all over the world, both leading his own ensembles and in collaboration with ensembles led by many of the legends and luminaries of jazz and improvised music. Some of those famous names include Ray Charles, Bobby Hutcherson, Diana Krall, Wynton Marsalis, Chick Corea and the Charles Mingus Big Band. He also has recorded and collaborated with literary giants Sonia Sanchez and Amiri Baraka.

Among the many notable venues and festivals where​​ Hall has performed include the Chicago, Newport, Monterrey, Nice and Montreux jazz festivals; Carnegie Hall, where he served as permanent member of the Carnegie Hall Jazz Band; the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, the Village Vanguard and the Blue Note in New York City;​​ and the Kennedy Center and Blues Alley in Washington D.C.

His latest large-scale composition, “The Hypocrisy of Justice: Sights and Sounds from the Black Metropolis (Riffin’ and Signifyin(g) on Richard Wright’s ‘Native Son’” is a multi-disciplinary work that explores the themes of mass incarceration, police brutality, ancestral trauma and other ideas central to contemporary conversations around race and social justice. It was accompanied by a co-curated, day-long convening of scholars, activists, administrators, and historians to answer the question “What must be done?” to address the many injustices in our communities.

Hall’s research centers on issues of identity, ethnicity and temporality, popular musics of the world, music as protest and resistance, and musics of both the African continent and the African Diaspora. He is a Special Trustees Fellow at The University of Chicago, where his doctoral dissertation is a historical ethnography of soul music in Philadelphia during the Black Power Movement.

“I would like to thank Provost Ghanem for this appointment and Kate Brucher for her ongoing service to our school, especially in her role as acting interim dean,” Hall says. “As interim dean, I am committed to fostering a compassionate and inclusive community where our students, faculty and staff are seen, heard and supported; where integrity and transparency inform process; where collaboration and teamwork across imagined boundaries is encouraged; and where we simultaneously embrace and amplify all that is foundational to our identity as a school of music while also being brave enough to imagine and realize ourselves into the future.

“I am excited to work with our School of Music staff and faculty to instill and reinforce in our students the healing power of music, inspiring them to develop their passion and skills as performing artists, music educators, sound engineers and performing arts managers to speak truth to power and effect change in the world through their artistic and scholarly practices,” Hall adds.

Brucher served as acting interim dean during the opening month of the fall quarter following the departure of former School of Music Dean Ronald Caltabiano.

“I can’t thank Kate enough for stepping up on very short notice to help get the school year off on the right foot for School of Music students, faculty and staff,” says Ghanem.

The university will share more information about the search for the school's next dean when it is available.