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April 7: Former Head of Carnegie Mellon's School of Music Shares Experience, Advice in New Book


Eric Sloss                           

Former Head of Carnegie Mellon's School of Music Shares
Experience, Advice in New Book, "Leadership in the Arts"

PITTSBURGH—Carnegie Mellon University School of Music Professor and former head of the school Marilyn Taft Thomas isn't just writing symphonies — she's writing books, too. Her new book, "Leadership in the Arts," is now available on and other major Web sites, such as Barnes & Noble, Books A Million and Borders. It's also available directly from the publisher, AuthorHouse, at
Marilyn Thomas "Leadership will determine the future of the arts," Thomas said. "It is central to the health and stability of every arts organization in existence today. Yet, exciting, dynamic leadership in the arts is as rare as the perfect diamond. Why? Well, running an arts program is anything but a day at the beach, and most of the challenges come from the people themselves."
In the book, Thomas combines good advice and a conversational tone with some humor. "The only way to ensure staying within your budget is to have more money than you actually need - good luck on that one," she writes.
Thomas drew on her abundance of leadership experience in writing the 348-page paperback. From 1988 to 1996, she was head of Carnegie Mellon's School of Music and from 1997 to 2000, she directed the school's graduate program. From 2000 to 2003, she was executive director of the River City Brass Band, a 28-piece ensemble that plays about 60 concerts each year.
Before Thomas was a leader of schools and performance organizations, she was a leader in her profession, becoming the first woman to receive a Ph.D. in composition from the University of Pittsburgh as well as a well-known composer, winning nine awards from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers. In 1981, she became a faculty member at Carnegie Mellon, and was a recipient of the prestigious Henry Hornbostel Teaching Award, given annually to a professor in the university's College of Fine Arts for teaching excellence.