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School of Music names new Director

Kelly Burke

With a passion for combining music, collaboration, and service, Clarinetist Kelly Burke will take the helm of the West Virginia University School of Music as Director, effective July 1.

Burke is currently a Professor of Music previously having held positions as Associate Dean in the College of Visual and Performing Arts, and Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Graduate School at the University of North Carolina Greensboro.

“For the first time in more than 40 years we are bringing in a leader from outside of the current School of Music faculty,” said Keith Jackson, dean of WVU’s College of Creative Arts. “Dr. Burke has been an important leader at UNCG during that institution's transition into a premier music school.

“The WVU School of Music has a rich history and I am confident that she is the right person to continue our evolution into a music school that leads the nation for innovative curricula. I am truly excited when I consider the potential of our current community when paired with a visionary and experienced leader.”

Burke served as Professor of Clarinet for 25 years before moving into full-time administrative roles at UNC Greensboro. She holds the roles of principal clarinetist of the Greensboro Symphony Orchestra and bass clarinetist of the Eastern Music Festival Orchestra. Burke has five internationally released recordings for which she was the principal artist and has appeared in recitals and as a soloist with symphony orchestras throughout the United States, Canada, Germany, New Zealand, Australia, Russia, and China.

In her new role as director, Burke will advance the vision and goals of WVU’s School of Music.

“The field of music is changing, and has already changed in large part due to the pandemic,” Burke said. “It’s a really exciting time to be taking the position responsible for envisioning a new future for the School. My goal is to make it easier for the faculty to enjoy their work and reach their own goals.”

Burke’s introduction during the interview process to the School of Music faculty was one reason she decided to accept the position as director.

“Throughout the interview process, I found the faculty to be really invested in their students, curriculum, and the direction of the School,” Burke said. “That really resonated with me. You don’t see that everywhere.”

Burke is looking forward to adding teaching back into her duties at WVU. She is an award-winning teacher who has been recognized multiple times including Teaching

Excellence awards from the UNCG School of Music, the University, and the UNC Board of Governors, and a nomination for a UNCG Research Excellence Award. Burke has been invited to lead residencies and give masterclasses at universities all over the world and is the author of numerous pedagogical articles and a critically acclaimed volume on clarinet pedagogy.

“As I was looking at new opportunities I knew I wanted to get back in the classroom,” Burke said. “I’m really looking forward to teaching again and working with our students on a more individual basis.” 

For more information on Burke, visit