Senior Associate Dean of Institute Studies Abra K. Bush, DMA, oversees all elements of the curriculum and personnel for the academic and applied study areas of the Peabody Institute, including faculty affairs, Academic Affairs, Ensemble Operations, and the Arthur Friedheim Music Library.
Since joining Peabody in 2016, Bush has implemented new faculty orientation and structured faculty evaluation programs; led the development of the Breakthrough Curriculum, which fully integrates music leadership and community engagement learning into the core training of student musicians; launched a “Lunch and Learn” series to facilitate faculty discussion of best practices in the scholarship of teaching and learning; and begun a systematic departmental and program review for all Conservatory departments. Her role also encompasses policy development, faculty and staff leadership, student retention initiatives, and accreditation compliance.
Prior to joining Peabody, Bush was director of the Music Division at The Boston Conservatory, where she developed a strategic vision for the division; established the Master of Music degree in Classical Contemporary Music Performance; and was a member of the Academic Planning Committee for the Boston Conservatory/Berklee merger.
Previous academic appointments have included roles at the Eastman School of Music, Concordia College, and Kenyon College. Sought out for her expertise in, especially, assessing music students’ learning, Bush has been an invited presenter at multiple national meetings and conferences of the National Association of Schools of Music, the National Association of Teachers of Singing, the College Music Society, and Assessment in the Arts.
A soprano, Bush holds her BM in Voice Performance and MM in Opera Theater from the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music and her DMA in Voice from The Ohio State University. She made her professional opera debut as Drusilla in L’incoronazione di Poppea at Opera Columbus with Boston Baroque. Her operatic roles encompass works from all periods of opera, including Paix in Les Arts Flourissants, Mrs. McClean in Susannah, Kate Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly, Fiordiligi in Cosí fan Tutte, and Laurie in The Tender Land, and she has delivered numerous recital, master class, and oratorio performances across the United States and in China. She has adjudicated competitions for NATS and Eastman, among others.