Townsend School of Music Dean John Dickson Accepts Post at Louisiana State University


Dr. John H. Dickson, dean of Mercer University’s Townsend School of Music, today announced that he has accepted the position as director of choral studies at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, effective Aug. 15.

Dr. Dickson has served as dean of the Townsend School of Music and professor of conducting since July 1, 2008, and came to Mercer from Texas Tech University, where he was director of choral studies and chair of the Conducting Division. Prior to his appointment at Texas Tech, Dr. Dickson served as professor of conducting and associate dean for doctoral studies at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary’s School of Church Music in Louisville, Ky.

“I want to express my deep gratitude for the privilege of serving as dean of the Townsend School of Music. Though four years is such a brief span of time, I anticipate that the work we have done together will ensure a bright and outstanding future for the music school,” Dr. Dickson said.

“Throughout my professional life I have sought to follow the axiom that you leave a place in better shape than when you arrived, I have had tried to do that at Mercer, although I have not done this alone,” he said. “Together with the gifted faculty and staff of the Townsend School of Music, a supportive administration, as well as significant donors, we have transformed a small but dedicated department into a vibrant school of music and Center for Strings that are flourishing. In the end, the daily music-making of a collegiate choral conductor and pedagogue is what I have done all my life. Consequently, I am looking forward to my new appointment as director of choral studies at LSU.”

“I am grateful for John’s many contributions to the Townsend School of Music over the last four years,” said Mercer President William D. Underwood. “He has not only advanced the school’s visibility, talent level and quality of performances, he has been a great ambassador for Mercer in the community and across the country. We will miss John, but wish him the very best as he returns to his real love and highest calling, which is teaching and conducting.”

In addition to serving as dean at Mercer, Dr. Dickson has an active career as conductor and guest clinician for numerous state, regional, and national American Choral Directors Association conventions, All-State choruses, and choral festivals around the world. He is artistic and musical director of Atlanta’s newest professional chamber choral ensemble, Coro Vocati. Internationally known as a conducting pedagogue, he has presented master classes before the Association of British Choral Directors, the Russian State Music Conservatories of St. Petersburg and Moscow and workshops throughout England, Wales, Scotland, Finland, France, and Canada.

Appointed as a Visiting Fellow of Wolfson College, Cambridge University, Dr. Dickson sang with Sir David Willcocks and The Bach Choir in London. A second post-doctoral fellowship allowed him to serve as principal rehearsal conductor for The Bach Choir in Musical Director David Hill’s absence. Dr. Dickson is founding director of the C. S. Lewis Foundation’s Oxbridge Choral Institute, a professional chorus serving the triennial symposium in Oxford and Cambridge. The Choral Journal and The Mastersinger have published his articles on a holistic approach to conducting.

About Mercer University
Founded in 1833, Mercer University is a dynamic and comprehensive center of undergraduate, graduate and professional education. The University enrolls more than 8,300 students in 11 schools and colleges – liberal arts, law, pharmacy, medicine, business, engineering, education, theology, music, nursing and continuing and professional studies – on major campuses in Macon, Atlanta and Savannah and at four regional academic centers across the state. Mercer is affiliated with two teaching hospitals — Memorial University Medical Center in Savannah and the Medical Center of Central Georgia in Macon, and has educational partnerships with Warner Robins Air Logistics Center in Warner Robins and Piedmont Healthcare in Atlanta. The University operates an academic press and a performing arts center in Macon and an engineering research center in Warner Robins. Mercer is the only private university in Georgia to field an NCAA Division I athletic program. For more information, visit