Dr. Robert Suderburg
of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA) family is again mourning the loss
of a former chancellor. Robert Suderburg, who served as the school’s third
chancellor, died April 22 in Williamstown, Mass., at the age of 77. The school’s
second chancellor, Robert Ward, died April 3 in Durham at the age of
A composer, conductor
and pianist, Suderburg was chancellor from 1974-1984.
tenure as chancellor was marked by major capital improvements, financed through
increased contributions from the state and private sources. Among these
improvements were the completion of the Workplace and the opening of the Semans
Library; the partial renovation of the old Gray High School building; the
acquisition of the former Mack Truck facility; and the renovation of the old
Carolina Theatre, now the Stevens Center.
“He led the
school through a period of tremendous growth,” said Chief Advancement Officer
Mark Hough, who was a student in the School of Drama when Suderburg was
chancellor. “He was a lovely man, always there for the students. He had a great
passion for the arts and for the School of the Arts.”
it is ironic that Suderburg should pass away during UNCSA’s current period of
capital growth, which includes construction of a new state-of-the-art library.
“I think he would be proud of where we are, and where we are going,” Hough
Miller, who retired from UNCSA as dean of undergraduate and graduate academic
programs, was a philosophy instructor during Suderburg’s tenure. “We are
grateful for his contributions. He raised the level of what we could
accomplish,” Miller said. “He was a very innovative
chancellor, Suderburg awarded UNCSA’s first honorary doctorates, to recipients
that include author and school founder John Ehle, actresses Helen Hayes and
Rosemary Harris, choreographers Agnes de Mille and Arthur Mitchell, film and
theatre director Jose Ferrer, violinist and composer Itzhak Perlman, and
guitarist Andres Segovia.
is survived by his wife, Elizabeth; daughter, Erika; and son, Jonathan and family. At his request, no memorial service will be
C. Suderburg was a
renowned composer, conductor, and pianist, devoted to the performance of
20th-century music. He received his B.A. from the University of Minnesota, an
M.M. from the Yale School of Music, and a Ph.D. from the University of
compositions have been published by Theodore Presser and performed nationally
and internationally by major orchestras, ensembles, and solo artists, including
the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Seattle and North Carolina symphonies, and the
Philadelphia String Quartet. His works and performances have been recorded by
Columbia, Vox and Delfon, among others.
taught music at Williams College beginning in 1985. He became
composer-in-residence in 1986, and served as Chair of the Music Department from
1986 to 1995. He retired in 2001.
conducted and taught at Bryn Mawr, the Philadelphia Musical Academy, the
University of Pennsylvania, and the City University of New York. Suderburg also
served as Co-director of the Contemporary Group at the University of Washington
(1966-1974), and President of the Cornish Institute in Seattle (1984-1985). He
served on many boards and panels, including the National Endowment for the Arts
(NEA) Composers Panel from 1975 to 1981.
fellowships, awards, and prizes including two Guggenheim Fellowships, two NEA
Fellowships, numerous ASCAP awards, awards from the Rockefeller Foundation and
the American Music Center, the USIA award, and others.
Robert Suderburg plays the piano for a performance of "Kaleidoscope" in 1982
Photographer: Charlie Buchanan
* Williams College: The Passing of Robert Suderberg
*The Business Journal: Former UNCSA Chancellor Robert Suderberg dies
*The Winston-Salem Journal: Former UNCSA Chancellor dies
Special Thanks to the UNCSA Archives for providing the photos seen on this page.
Visit the UNCSA Image Archives or the UNCSA Flickr account to see more pictures of Robert Suderburg.