Rowe appointed director of Brubeck Institute

The Brubeck Institute at the University of the Pacific in California will welcome its new director Tuesday after a six month-long search.

Simon Rowe, an Australian native and currently associate professor of music at Minnesota State University Moorhead, received his master’s degree in music from SIUE. He is most involved in jazz studies and has made a name for himself as a jazz pianist in the popular Simon Rowe Trio.

Simon Rowe, director of the Brubeck Institute

Rowe finished his undergraduate degree at Eastern Illinois University and from there decided to work towards his master’s degree in jazz performance at SIUE. He said aside from the friendly and helpful faculty at the university, being close to the St. Louis area and its rich jazz music culture allowed him the opportunities to get where he is today.

“It looked like a very active, involved program,” Rowe said. “And what was also appealing was that the program was in the greater St. Louis area. That allowed me to work professionally in the area and develop my skills as a jazz pianist.”

While earning his degree at SIUE, Rowe made many associations through the faculty and through the opportunities he had playing with well-known jazz artists. He went on to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to further his education and received a doctorate in musical arts in performance.

Rowe continued to hone his skills as a musician, but wanted to become a teacher of music, which is one of the initiatives he takes at Minnesota State University and will take at the Brubeck Institute.

“I believe not everyone who plays and aspires to play at a high level desires to teach,” he said. “But I’ve got to say, when you’ve had the good fortune to have had many, many wonderful mentors as I’ve had and met people like that who really inspire you, you feel compelled to pass that on. And these people unlock some truths; not just about music or the arts, but they unlock truths within you as a person, your path and your potentials, your passions.”

Rowe will take his experience with him to the Brubeck Institute, where he will manage its five core programs: The Brubeck Fellowship program, the annual Brubeck Festival, the Summer Jazz Colony for high school musicians, an outreach program, and the Brubeck Collection.

The Institute was founded in 2000 to build on Dave Brubeck’s legacy and his lifelong dedication to music, creativity, education and the advancement of important social issues including civil rights, environmental concerns, international relations and social justice. Rowe said he will continue to advance those very foundations the institute is based on through his passion of teaching music.

“I’m excited about jazz music. I’m excited about the arts,” Rowe said. “I feel it natural that young people come to me and connect with me to use my experience and wisdom to help them move along.”

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