College of Music & Dramatic Arts
School of Music
Louisiana State University
Baton Rouge, LA 70803-2504
Laurence Kaptain became Dean of the College of Music and Dramatic Arts at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, began his new appointment on July 1, 2009.
He is an energetic, well-respected academic leader with an exemplary record of effectiveness directing internationally renowned higher education programs and performing arts units in the provision of superlative learning, creative, and performance opportunities. Kaptain brings confirmed expertise in organizational leadership, consensus-building, long-term and short-term strategic planning, technological development, and human resources administration. His strong commitment to creating affirmative educational environments support student learning through the implementation of sophisticated technological infrastructures, contributes to the synergy and success of global academic communities, provides a solid groundwork for the professional career success of both traditional students and non-traditional adult learners, and creates in talented students a sense of confidence and pride in their individual capabilities and potentials. His demonstrated corporate / community networking and grantsmanship capability attracts widespread interest in college programs and enhancement initiatives that garner millions of dollars in supplemental funding. He currently serves as President for the Association of General and Liberal Studies, and is the Treasurer-elect of the College Music Society.
Laurence Kaptain is the first percussionist to receive the DMA (Doctor of Musical Arts degree) from the University of Michigan, where he studied with Michael Udow and Charles Owen, and served there as a visiting faculty member, and he also holds degrees from the University of Miami and Ball State University.
As a percussionist and symphonic cimbalom artist, he appears regularly with major ensembles award-winning composers and renowned performing artists, including the New York Philharmonic, The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the Philadelphia Orchestra, and the Pittsburgh Symphony. His performances may also be heard on recordings with the Chicago Symphony (Solti, Jarvis, Boulez), St. Louis Symphony (Slatkin), Orpheus, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra (Wolff), and the Czech National Symphony (Freeman). He has been interviewed and featured on programs such as NPR’s Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and most recently on a retrospective broadcast of historic recordings made by Georg Solti on the Chicago Symphony’s BP Network broadcasts. He has also performed with renowned artists, including Yo-Yo Ma, Isaac Stern, Pierre Boulez, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Elliot Carter, Gil Shaham, Suzanne Farrell, Kurt Masur, Elvis Costello, Henry Mancini, Donna McKechnie, Carol Channing, and Robert Altman.
At LSU he coordinates and guides the execution of program development and fund-raising efforts to support artistic and intellectual growth of over 600 full-time students, 80 faculty and over 20 professional staff members. In three years he has developed strategic initiatives that align with university goals to attract noted artists / faculty to campus, increased student access to international performance venues, and acquired state-of-the-art educational and communication technologies. He has built new relationships with community and national leaders in business, technology, and the performing arts. Kaptain actively promotes the mission and vision of the College through personal media interviews / press conferences, joint sponsorships of local community music and Martin Luther King events, the first live-streaming of concerts, and web-based social networking and crowdsourcing initiatives. Kaptain administers a $12-million annual budget and $12-million endowment; leads community’s provision of 500+ performances, plays, concerts, and special events to live audiences of more than 1.6 million. In addition, Kaptain has:
- Launched ArtsEngineering Initiative with Dean Richard Koubek of the LSU College of Engineering that intensive residencies by author Eric Booth and Vanderbilt University’s Curb Center’s Elizabeth Long Lingo.
- Drafted and presented $500,000 earmark proposal to Louisiana Senators Landrieu and Vitter for “From the Top,” a 3-year initiative designed to heighten outreach to Louisiana audiences, public radio stations, and community cultural and educational organizations, provide peer leadership development for local musicians, enhance educational programs in local schools, and facilitate tapings of national radio program at area venues.
- Introduced multiple initiatives to produce exceptional income streams, including LSU Performing Arts Academy and $829,000 proposal to Baton Rouge Area Foundation to establish interactive performing arts distance learning to Louisiana schools.
- Raised millions of dollars in contributions to College programs within challenging economic climate, including multi-million dollar ask-outs to name Opera Program, theatre naming, proposed music archive of a major living composer, and establish summer arts program. Kaptain also attracted major gifts to found Janice Pellar / EMCO Creative Arts Entrepreneurship Project, a 3-year pledge to underwrite LSU Opera productions, endowed professorships for Choral Studies, graduate fellowships for international students, and thousands in funding for technology, communication, learning, and planning initiatives.
- Aligned operations of 5 formerly competing areas of music, theatre, opera, band, and Swine Palace by establishing a single communications unit, implementing Web 2.0 and strategic integration of social media into marketing and advancement, introducing a 7-member Dean’s Advisory Committee, and launched Basecamp project facilitation software program.
- Initiated cooperative projects, sponsorships, and collaborations with entities, including the Louisiana Philharmonic (with a $750,000 Mellon Foundation Grant), Houston Grand Opera, Houston Symphony, WRFK-FM Baton Rouge, WWNO-FM New Orleans, and Actors Theatre of Louisville.
- Earned nomination as “Apple Distinguished Educator” based on effectiveness in promoting nationally recognized program, “Communication across the Curriculum,” allowing instructors to embed instructional material into standard curriculum.
- Coordinated key hires of quality staff, including Ronette King Boshea (former reporter with the New Orleans Times-Picayune), Christopher O’Riley as the James M. Syler Distinguished Visiting Artist (2010-13), the CMDA’s first web master, initial in-house graphic designer, an Audience Services Director, a Digital Media Specialist, and a full-time Marketing Coordinator.
- Increased diversity through new hires on the professional staff, full-time faculty, and graduate student enrollment.
- Created and distributed Reimagine, the first all-CMDA newsletter.
- Supported participation by 37-member student theater cast of Antigone at major theatre festival in Seoul.
- Arranged for campus visits by key consultants in the areas of technology, communications / planning, and creative arts entrepreneurship.
He is featured in Peter Seldin’s book, “The Administrative Portfolio” and consults and makes presentations internationally on numerous topics in higher education, communication, and improving faculty teaching and student learning.
While at the University of Michigan he was a Fulbright Scholar to Mexico, received a Rackham Pre-Doctoral Fellowship, and was the first recipient of the UM Charles Owen-James Salmon Percussion Award. His Fulbright award led to numerous publications and recordings of the Mexican marimba tradition that is centered in the State of Chiapas. His dissertation was translated and published in Spanish by the government of the State of Chiapas. He travels to Mexico often as an adjudicator, guest lecturer and consultant.
In the three years of Kaptain’s leadership (2006-09), Shenandoah Conservatory’s programs in music, musical theatre, performance theatre, and dance rose to a place of international prominence. Its performing student ensembles appeared at world-renowned venues, including Carnegie Hall and the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris, while faculty artists frequently performed with the Metropolitan Opera, Pittsburgh Symphony, and Philadelphia Orchestra, at Lincoln Center the Spoleto Festival, and at Styriarte 2009 in Graz, Austria.
Supported by Kaptain’s strong emphasis upon artistic collaboration, cross-cultural exchange, grantsmanship, and community networking, both faculty and students received increased private support to travel to East Asia, Europe, Africa, India, South America, and Mexico during his tenure. While at Shenandoah–Kaptain opened a gateway to student recruiting in China by twice visiting Shanghai and Beijing, arranging for auditions that brought Chinese students to Shenandoah in the Fall of 2008. He also initiated significant local off-campus opportunities for student performances in the Washington, DC area—most notably at Washington Conservatory and at Lorton Arts Foundation Workhouse, a former penitentiary converted into a vibrant creative arts center.
Under Kaptain’s guidance, Shenandoah Conservatory substantially increased student enrollments, attracted more minority faculty, appointed female faculty members to positions of leadership, increased performance attendance, and made several notable faculty hires in the theatre, musical theatre, and dance areas. His first initiatives as dean included appointing the Audubon Quartet as string quartet in residence and naming noted Irish pianist, John O’Conor, and Canadian trumpet virtuoso, Jens Lindemann, as the Conservatory’s first Distinguished Visiting Artists. He also recruited faculty from the Giodorno Jazz Dance Company in Chicago, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, the chamber ensemble Antares, and Duke University. Through his acquisition of private-donor funding, an elite graduate string quartet program was launched and independent funding was also directed toward sending students to master classes, conferences, and classes in New York City and Chicago.
Shenandoah Conservatory enjoyed significant media attention garnered by Kaptain’s conferral of honorary doctorates to New York Times/CNBC columnist/correspondent David Pogue, to Mikhail Baryshnikov, and to modern dance choreographer Murray Louis. Most recently, lutanist Ronn McFarlane and a group of Shenandoah students captured a 2009 Grammy Award nomination in the category of classical crossover.
As a percussionist he studied with Fred Wickstrom and Erwin Mueller, respectively. Other influential teachers included the Late James Lane (Chicago Symphony), Duane Thamm, George McNabney and G. Allen O’Connor. He has held visiting teaching appointments at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Oberlin Conservatory, and has also taught at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory, Stephen F. Austin State University, and Drake University.
Laurence Kaptain is married to Dolores Arce-Kaptain and has two sons, Emiliano and Diego.