Robert Blocker

Biography

Prof. Robert Blocker (USA)
The Henry and Lucy Moses Dean of Music, Professor of Piano, Yale University


Robert Blocker, the Henry and Lucy Moses Dean of Music at Yale University, is widely considered one of the nation’s most respected arts administrators and has been described by Yale University President Peter Salovey as “a transformative leader.” Following an initial decade of service as Dean of Music at Yale, Blocker served in 2005-2006 as Provost and Senior Vice-President for Academic Affairs at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. He returned to Yale to continue positioning the School of Music for success in the 21st century. Former Yale President Richard Levin said Blocker “is praised as a superb and visionary leader with a tremendous commitment to students, faculty, and staff at the School.” Blocker holds a tenured appointment as Professor of Piano at the School of Music and is also an affiliate Professor of Leadership Strategies at the Yale School of Management. He is an Honorary Professor and Fellow at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing. 

Prior to his Yale University appointment, Blocker was a Professor of Piano and the founding Dean of the School of the Arts and Architecture at UCLA, where he held a joint appointment in arts management at the Anderson School of Management. Blocker has also served as Dean at the University of North Texas College of Music, the Baylor University School of Music, and the University of North Carolina-Greensboro School of Music. He earned his Doctor of Musical Arts degree under the tutelage of the eminent American pianist Richard Cass and also studied with Jorge Bolet. Blocker was a Fellow at the Harvard University Institute for Educational management and is the recipient of four honorary degrees. 

In addition to the contributions he has made to the music profession as an administrator and educator, Blocker has enriched the lives of many through internationally acclaimed performances on the concert stage. He has been described by the Los Angeles Times as an artist of “great skill and accomplishment” who performs with “a measurable virtuoso bent and considerable musical sensitivity.” Blocker has performed with the Beijing Symphony Orchestra, Shanghai Symphony, Houston Symphony, Monterey Philharmonic, Prague Chamber Orchestra, Moscow Chamber Orchestra, Korean Symphony Orchestra, and Daejeon (South Korea) Symphony Orchestra. In addition to concerto and recital appearances, Blocker has collaborated with such celebrated chamber groups as the Tokyo String Quartet, Artis Quartet, Brentano String Quartet, and Shanghai Quartet. In 2000, Steinway & Sons featured Blocker with Van Cliburn and Billy Joel in a film commemorating the tercentennial year of the piano. Blocker served as editor of The Robert Shaw Reader (Yale University Press, 2004) and is currently working on a book titled Music: The Currency of Hope.