Music Professor Takes His Bow–For Now

Posted: December 5, 2001 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Michelle Nery

After 33 years at George Mason, Music professor Joseph Kanyan will retire from the university in January. In 1968, when Kanyan was hired as the first full-time music professor at George Mason, the university had only been a four-year, degree-granting institution for two years and was still known as George Mason College. As the campus grew, so did its programs, and Kanyan was instrumental in the Music Department’s growth.

“When I came to the university, George Mason didn’t have one turntable,” says Kanyan. “I bought the first turntable and the first LPs. There was one really old donated piano, so when I established the band and orchestras, I bought all new instruments.” Kanyan taught Music Appreciation his first year at George Mason and except for the first four music courses listed in the 1968-69 catalog, he created the music curriculum from the ground up.

Kanyan has held many positions at the university, including assistant dean for Student Academic Affairs in the College of Arts and Sciences, associate chair and interim chair of the Department of Music, chair of the Department of Performing Arts, and undergraduate and graduate coordinator for Music. He was also a member of the Arts Restructuring Committee that proposed the creation of the College of Visual and Performing Arts.


“I never like to make plans,” says of Kanyan of his future. “I’ll just see where the wind blows me. I’ve really enjoyed myself at George Mason–it seems like 3 years, not 33. Time has gone by quickly.”

Kanyan will conduct the George Mason University symphony orchestra and choruses one final time at the Holiday Concert on Sunday, Dec. 9, at 7 p.m. and will be honored at a retirement reception in the Concert Hall lobby on Monday, Dec. 10, from 3 to 5 p.m.

See the full story in the December issue of the Mason Gazette.

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