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Professor David Borgo to conclude his commitment as the Chair of the Department of Music after years of exceptional service


david borgo

Following years of exceptional service as chair of the UC San Diego Department of Music, Professor David Borgo will conclude his three-year commitment to the position, effective June 30, 2020.

A saxophonist and ethnomusicologist, Professor Borgo will return to full-time teaching duties in the department’s Integrative Studies, and Jazz and Music of the African Diaspora programs. He has been with the university since 2002.

Most immediately, Chair Borgo is commended for his leadership during the current health crisis, where he not only effectively supported the successful and complicated process of moving courses to distance-learning for our students, but also the difficult decisions to alter a robust series of in-person concerts for the safety of students, faculty and community alike.

Chair Borgo remained dedicated to advocating for students and the opportunities that performances bring: a chance to celebrate time-honored and new work, and build a community of musicians that endure. An empathetic leader, Chair Borgo’s listening ear and commitment to student engagement is exemplary.

Under Chair Borgo’s leadership, the Department of Music saw its undergraduate cohort increase by 11%, and he spent special attention championing increased funding for the department’s graduate students.

Chair Borgo has been instrumental in expanding faculty diversity with a number of crucial and impactful hires, which resulted in curricular innovation and new Diversity, Equity and Inclusion courses for the entire university.

In addition to supporting Arts and Humanities outreach efforts with philanthropic donors and alumni, Chair Borgo was dedicated to raising the profile of the department and arts at the university. He oversaw two successful graduate and undergraduate departmental reviews, spearheaded a reform of degree requirements to add clarity and nimbleness to the curriculum, and facilitated a complete overhauling of the department’s
website and outreach.

David Borgo has built a career of combining his creative work with scholarly research on all aspects of music: sonic, social, historical, cultural and cognitive. His primary interests rest in improvisation, techno-cultural studies, chaos and complexity, and embodied, situated and distributed cognition.

His book “Sync or Swarm: Improvising Music in a Complex Age” won the 2006 Alan P. Merriam Prize from the Society for Ethnomusicology as the most distinguished, recently published English-language book on ethnomusicology. A revised version is due next year.

anthony_burr.jpgCurrently serving as associate chair, Professor Anthony Burr will assume chair duties for a four-year term starting July 1, 2020. Professor Burr is a clarinetist who has worked across a wide range of genres, and teaches courses on music theory, recording and popular music. Audiences will also be familiar with his performances of classical repertoire as part of the department’s Camera Lucida series. “David’s excellent stewardship of the department over his term as chair has positioned us well to be able to negotiate the current crisis, and I would especially like to thank him for going above and beyond during the past three months,” Burr said. “I’m grateful for the opportunity to work with our faculty, staff and students to build on our existing strengths as we move into the future.”

Please join me in thanking Chair Borgo for his dedicated service to the faculty and students in the Department of Music, as well as his commitment to advocating for arts and arts education on campus.

Cristina Della Coletta
Dean, Division of Arts and Humanities