Appointed director of the Hugh Hodgson School of Music in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences in July 2019, Peter Jutras is in his 14th year as a piano faculty member at UGA. In this profile Q & A, he talks with about the next era for the Hodgson School, which is expanding its presence in the musical world.
What was the state of the art in the Hodgson School in your first semester as director?
Peter Jutras: I’ve seen tremendous growth since I arrived in 2006, both in quantity but also in quality: We’ve hired a number of remarkable faculty members in that time who are truly world-class performers, world-class artists and teachers. We’ve become one of the leading schools in the Southeast.
The world of music, and particularly classical music, is changing, and I want us to adapt so our students can be relevant and have the skills for a marketplace that is very different from, say, 30-40 years ago. Music is as important to the human condition as it always has been. There is no culture any place in the world, any time in human history that doesn’t make music. Classical music remains very popular; people still have a keen interest in it—even though they may not be attending concerts as frequently as traditional audience members did in decades past.
How are people experiencing it now, compared to the past?
There’s a lot more customizable consumption. People are finding music online, investigating different recordings, artists and genres. People in general are more eclectic in their musical tastes; you see more and more people who build playlists that have classical and pop, bluegrass and indie rock from maybe an Athens band, all that fits together. And our students are well-equipped to navigate those different styles. I want to help them enhance those skills and be musicians for all people and all occasions.
There really is no such thing as incoherent musical tastes anymore.
At the same time, the level of skill, virtuosity and artistry that our students have when they play classical repertoire at a really high level is important to the world and valuable to people. We’re in a time where anyone can make music just by dropping beats on a computer, and that’s great. I love to see that participation. But we also need to hold a place for quality and artistry. That’s what our students and our faculty do, and I think that’s really valuable.
Full profile here.