Act Three: The UNCSA Years
Upon turning sixty in 2005, Mr. Mauceri announced that he would be leaving the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra and the Pittsburgh Opera and looked for ways to bring his varied experiences together for what he called, "Act Three." In May of 2006, the Board of Governors of the University of North Carolina and its President, Erskine Bowles, unanimously elected him chancellor of the North Carolina School of the Arts (now known as the University of North Carolina School of the Arts or UNCSA) in Winston Salem. Established by the General Assembly of North Carolina in 1963, UNCSA is part of the UNC system and is America's first public arts university of conservatories, with a high school component. The campus represents most of the elements of Mr. Mauceri's life and work, with its schools of music, dance, design & production, drama, and filmmaking as well as his commitment to research and teaching.
Serving for seven years, below you will find Mr. Mauceri's major achievements as chancellor.
Major Achievements of John F. Mauceri, UNCSA Chancellor 2006-2013
Lobbied and secured to have "University" added to the school's name to distinguish it from the growing number of arts magnet high schools, and to affirm the school's relationship with the UNC system. This relationship, which existed since 1972 but was generally unrecognized by the public, secured UNCSA's unique Internet URL as UNCSA.edu. The name change was supported by the BOT, BOG, NC State Legislature and signed by the Governor.
Shepherded, along with the provost and faculty, UNCSA from a trimester institution to a two-semester school congruent with the other UNC campuses and most American Colleges and Universities.
Conceived and implemented (with full support from the Kenan Institute for the Arts and the UNCSA provost) the school's first full summer school, consisting of summer intensives, professional development courses, and academic offerings, made possible by the two-semester calendar.
Created a telethon to create a database of all living alumni. Significantly increased alumni giving and awareness through appointment of seven alumni to UNCSA's Board of Trustees to represent each of the arts disciplines, academics, and the high school, and created and actively engaged with alumni hubs in New York, Los Angeles, Washington D.C. and Chicago. Appointed an alumnus (dance/music), as Director of Alumni Giving, and drama alumnus Mark Hough, Chief Advancement Officer - the first alumnus to serve in an executive leadership position at the school.
Created the position of Executive Producer which has resulted in the transformation of income-negative and income-neutral events into major revenue streams for scholarships - including West Side Story (which had been planned in 2005 but had no budgetary support), and Oklahoma!. Each of these productions brought in over $300,000.00 for scholarships and broke all box office records. The annual production of The Nutcracker, which, for over 40 years, was a co-production with the Winston-Salem Symphony, was taken over by UNCSA in a creative response to the economic downturn, and currently brings in an additional $300,000.00 a year for scholarships. The EP office increased attendance to UNCSA productions by 25% in one year alone.
Connected UNCSA to creative artists who are at the top of their professions, including David Rambo (producer and writer CSI and Revolution), Julie Kent (prima ballerina ABT), Danny Elfman and Alan Menken (composers), J.T. Rogers (playwright), Kristin Chenoweth (Tony Award winner), and Thomas Schumacher (President of Disney Theatrical Group) - all awarded UNCSA honorary doctorates - as well as Dick Cook (Chairman of Disney Studios), Joe Volpe (former General Manager, Metropolitan Opera), Don Hahn (film producer), Adam Guettel (opera/music theater composer), Theodore Chapin (President and Executive Director, Rodgers & Hammerstein) and Barlett Sher (opera/stage director).
UNCSA's name and reputation were brought to the attention of the world in the chancellor's program notes, articles, speeches and appearances. Some of these include China, Denmark, Australia, Germany, Austria, Great Britain, and Brazil. Media outlets like NPR, PBS, BBC, WQXR, as well as the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, The Huffington Post and important institutions, such as the Smithsonian Institution, Yale University, Harvard University, New York University, the Vienna Academy, Lincoln Center Chamber Music Series Lectures, the Museum of Modern Art (NYC), and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Achieved a positive outcome, with support from UNCSA's faculty and provost, to implement faculty rank for the first time in the institution's history.
UNCSA achieved a student retention rate second only to UNC-Chapel Hill in the UNC System.
UNCSA maintained the best record for clean audits in the University of North Carolina System under UNCSA COO George Burnette, appointed by Mauceri.
Lobbied and secured $48 million in capital funds for four new buildings, including a new library and a new film production design building, all currently under construction.
Charged by President Bowles to restructure the school's Advancement Office, the chancellor and his Chief Operating Officer, began by making the accounting systems of the school and its Foundation congruent. After more than a year of work, it was discovered that the school owed the Foundation approximately $500,000.00. This, added increased pressure to the running of the school, but this debt has been paid off and UNCSA is no longer in debt to the Foundation. The creation of an All-School Fund encouraged unrestricted giving and systems were put in place to allow for on-line giving for the first time in the school's history.
Increased the UNCSA endowment by $14 million (which is a 60% increase), including five new one million dollar endowed professorships, in five disciplines.
Successfully lobbied North Carolina legislature, during both Democratic and Republican majorities, to grant special UNCSA recurring appropriations amounting to many millions of dollars, as well as one-time monies that have literally preserved the school's ability to fulfill its mandated function during a period of unprecedented budgetary cuts.
Successfully lobbied the university Board of Governors, to allow tuition and fee adjustments, achieving recurring funding of over $1 million per annum.
Secured the largest one-time private gift in the history of the UNC School of the Arts - $6 million from the William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust to endow The William R. Kenan, Jr. Excellence Scholarship Awards.
Raised private funds for a Steinway grand piano for the School of Film scoring stage, secured a half million dollars to complete this crucial facility and made funds available for purchase of essential new instruments (celesta, contrabassoon, English Horn, Steinway baby grand piano) for the School of Music. The scoring stage, which had previously been used for storage, is currently one of the most used spaces on campus, supporting the Schools of Filmmaking, Music and Dance and making it possible for UNCSA to produce first class instrumental recordings and sound tracks. Donated his own Baldwin piano on the occasion of his 65th birthday in 2011 as an unlocked and always accessible instrument for any student attending the school.
Appointed new deans who are renowned in their disciplines, including prima ballerina Susan Jaffe, now Dean of the School of Dance, and New York Director/Producer, Carl Forsman, now Dean of the School of Drama, as well as former Dance Dean Ethan Stiefel, and former Film Dean Jordan Kerner. Kerner led the movement to refresh North Carolina's film industry that has brought in $300 million to the state this year and is estimated at $500 million for next year. Stiefel brought a world class and current professionalism that inspired profound changes in the entire university along with a major shift in the reputation of the School of Dance.
Upon commencing his tenure as chancellor in 2006, 70% of executive staff positions were vacant or interim appointments and were filled.
Because it was clear that (U)NCSA had no alumni in the Board of Governors, and many of its members had never been on campus, the chancellor encouraged the January, 2008 Board of Governors meetings to take place while the campus was in full academic and artistic swing. The chancellor, in conjunction with GA's secretary and chief of staff and (U)NCSA's COO Burnette, produced a flawless meeting environment while also presenting the students' achievements as the BOG entered their various committee meeting rooms. Marimba ensembles, jugglers, dancers, and works of visual artists, were on constant display. Lunch took place in the paint room, accompanied by the jazz ensemble and the high school drama students, surrounded by artwork. A cocktail party in the chancellor's residence included a student string quartet, the Arabian Dance from The Nutcracker, a scene from August Wilson's Gem of the Ocean, a short film and two musical numbers from West Side Story. The next morning, at the conclusion of the BOG's public meeting, a brass and percussion ensemble in the balcony of Catawba Theater performed Fanfare for the Board of Governors by film composition student Chris Heckman. As of this report, there are members of the BOG and GA who still talk of this transformative experience in telling our story to those who hold the greatest power and responsibility in supporting UNCSA.
UNCSA was listed for the first time in Kiplinger's 100 Best Values in Public Education, and subsequently rose from 61st to 31st, based on academic achievement.
UNCSA was listed for the first time among The Hollywood Reporter's top 25 schools in film and drama.
UNCSA's School of Drama was selected by The Hollywood reporter as #7 in the world, and #4 in the world for college programs.
Secured a five- year commitment of $750,000 to televise UNCSA productions on UNC-TV to bring the school's talented students to statewide audiences and beyond. These productions include The Nutcracker, Oklahoma!, Much Ado About Nothing, and the as-yet-to-be released Dance Fantasies, which includes Act Two of Swan Lake, Larry Keigwin's Kingdom, and the school's first all-school student ballet film, Molly Under the Moon. The recent restoration of the 1913 Debussy-Nijinsky-Bakst ballet, Jeux, has been filmed for future broadcast and dissemination.
Led the campaign to complete the $5 million needed to match the A. J. Fletcher Foundation grant to create a ten million dollar endowment to establish the A.J. Fletcher Opera Institute at the School of the Arts.
Partnered with and secured the private funding ($500,000.00) for an exclusive cooperative agreement as the official affiliate school of American Ballet Theatre's Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School.
During a period of transition in which the position of Chief Advancement Officer was vacant and no new hires were permitted within the university system, the chancellor reorganized the leadership for the Advancement Department resulting in an "overall improvement" award from CASE (Council for Advancement and Support of Education) covering years 4 through 6 of his tenure at UNCSA.
Conceived and implemented the Music Academy of the American South (MAAS) with the provost and the dean of music, under the artistic direction of Music alumnus Justin Poindexter, and with the support of the Thomas S. Kenan Institute for the Arts and Flow Automotive. The sold out inaugural weekend in June, 2012, took place on the UNCSA campus and in Old Salem. Its second iteration took place in June, 2013.
Chancellor Mauceri served as music director of UNCSA's 50th Anniversary production of West Side Story; a restoration of the original 1943 production of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Oklahoma!; the world concert premiere of Dmitri Shostakovich's Hamlet, performed with alumni and faculty with the North Carolina Symphony as well as the Aspen Festival; the American premiere of Erich Wolfgang Korngold's complete score to Much Ado About Nothing (fully staged), and led performances of the UNCSA Symphony Orchestra on campus, as well as the Grove Park Inn (Asheville) and for the opening of the new wing of the North Carolina Museum of Art (Raleigh). UNCSA students also performed at the Governor's mansion, in the NC State legislature, and at President Ross' inauguration. In April of 2013, he led the students of the Schools of Music, Dance and Design & Production, in two performances at UNC Chapel Hill as part of an international, yearlong festival celebrating the one hundredth anniversary of the premiere of Stravinsky's Rite of Spring. UNCSA was the only university to take part in the festival that included many of the world's greatest performers and dance companies, such as Yo Yo Ma, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Mariinsky Orchestra, the Joffrey Ballet and the Martha Graham Dance Company.
Secured funds to invite UNCSA students to shadow him and experience and learn from his professional engagements at: the Hollywood Bowl (ballet, music, film), the Vienna Konzerthaus (string quartet who played in the Vienna orchestra, two drama students who sang at the American Embassy, and two film students), the Grammys in Los Angeles (two students who were guests in the orchestra), the Ravinia Festival (West Side Story, full production), the Aspen Festival (drama alums and faculty), Walt Disney Concert Hall (three composers), the Kennedy Center (composer and film composer), the Gewandhaus Orchestra in Leipzig, Germany (one composer and three alumni), Danish National Symphony Orchestra in Copenhagen (2 film composer graduate students, one conducting graduate student, one faculty member), the opera house in Bilbao, Spain (one composer and one alumnus) and the opening concert of a new professional orchestra in Los Angeles (3 dancers, 7 musicians and one dean.
During the darkest days of budget cuts, the chancellor cut his administrative support and functioned for years with a part-time administrative assistant, counting on the support from Director of External Affairs, Jim DeCristo and Mrs. Mauceri, to take up the slack. The school, whose "story was not being told," as President Bowles pointed out, had a single person in charge of press and marketing (the excellent Marla Carpenter) and clearly could not handle the gigantic tasks of telling our thousands of stories, given the 300+ performances the school achieved every year. For three years, the chancellor collected clippings from local and national papers, magazines and books, edited them into "mailings" that went out three times a year to donors, legislators and members of the boards to celebrate the achievements of students, faculty and alumni. Because of his personal relationship with the award-winning photographer, Donald Dietz, thousands of digital images of students, both on and off stage, were used free of charge to promote the school. The chancellor regularly updated a five-minute slide show that he kept on his personal computer, to give people anywhere he traveled, a virtual tour of the school many had never seen.
In order to create a better sense of community, the chancellor arranged an annual photograph, used for the school's holiday card, that included all the deans and five students (representing the five conservatories) to be sent to the school's constituency. In addition, and with funds from his discretionary account, the chancellor, in partnership with the director of facilities, Chris Boyd, selected Dietz images to be printed in gigantic format and installed on the faces of some of the school's least interesting walls, where they represent the extraordinary talents and achievements of the students. Using discretionary funds, large posters, representing fourth year films, are now installed annually on the façade of the scoring stage, making the film village look more like the Hollywood studios the students hope to enter someday. With the formal acceptance of the school's three color symbolism, inexpensive banners were purchased to dress up the campus during public events. These flags and the entrance banners, which are four years old, still fly in the wind as if brand new and change the atmosphere in bright and theatrical ways.
With no budget to regularly thank existing supporters, the chancellor phoned every major donor, along with members of the Boards, as well as the president and his chief of staff, every Thanksgiving morning for seven years to say thank you.
Because college commencement and high school graduation were the last performances in which students would participate and because it was a moment in which the school would perform for the students, the chancellor created a new matrix for these otherwise somber (and occasionally inappropriately riotous) events. This meant creating a surprise reveal for the central moment of the unveiling of the diplomas involving a character from popular culture rising from the orchestra pit and turning the serious event into serious fun. The participation of various faculty members and the designs created by third year D&P students made this an instant tradition. Professor Dumbledore, Indiana Jones, grandpa in "Up!," Mary Poppins, as well as performances by Kristin Chenoweth and Alan Menken at the piano created truly memorable events for our newest alumni and their parents.
As a performing artist, the chancellor occasionally conducted the UNCSA orchestra, conducted and/or produced film scores, music directed the all-school musicals, brought live orchestral accompaniment back to dance performances and took the school, whenever possible, to perform throughout the state of North Carolina: to the Grove Park Inn in Asheville, the NC Museum of Art in Raleigh, UNC Chapel Hill's Memorial Hall, and at major events, such as the installation of UNC President Ross. In addition, the chancellor led memorial concerts for Philip Hanes and Mary Semans, along with a commemoration of Millicent Hayden's life as a major dance faculty member and the retirement of Dean Susan McCullough. He taught, when invited, in film, music history, philosophy, and world history. Under his leadership, UNCSA published its first book, Celebrating 'West Side Story', and released its first commercial CD (Much Ado About Nothing). A second commercial CD (the complete score to Rodgers & Hammerstein's Oklahoma!) is in the works.
Initiated a simultaneous re-broadcast of Oklahoma! as a fundraising telethon with CBS affiliate WRAL-TV and UNC-TV, raising over $100,000.00 toward the relief funds for the victims of tornadoes in the state of Oklahoma, and bringing the school to the attention of many thousands of North Carolinians.
Secured the first $1 million pledge to name the new library after Mary and James Semans.
The chancellor continued to be published during his seven years at the school. Some of these are:
Gershwin: Porgy & Bess (restoration of the original 1935 text) - Decca Records (three UNCSA alumni in the cast) - Nashville Symphony.
Elfman: Serenada Schizophrana - Sony Classics.
Gershwin: Strike Up the Band! (1930) cast album - PS Classics.
Korngold: Much Ado About Nothing - Toccata Classics (with the UNCSA orchestra).
Various DVD bonus album appearances, including: West Side Story (Blu-Ray release), The Fall of the Roman Empire, and El Cid. "The Art of 'Translation'" - published in Fashions and Legacies of Nineteenth-Century Italian Opera (Cambridge University Press). Submitted: June, 2013.