Professor profile: Kristin Van Cleve

Kristin Van Cleve, newly appointed chairperson of the music department, is working on establishing a music major. Photo by Marquel Plavan.

The University of Dallas has a music major? Not yet, but under the direction of the newly appointed chairperson of the music department, Kristin Van Cleve, this is certainly a possibility for the future of UD.

“One of the main goals I have is to establish a bachelor of arts in music, and that is in the works,” Van Cleve said. “I’m forming a curriculum for that, and also, one of the things I’d love to see is a real music department facility.”

Van Cleve spoke highly of the fact that there is “such a love of learning” on campus. That, along with the talented musicians on campus, would greatly increase the strength of UD’s academic community.

Van Cleve, an avid lover of the Baroque style and a Queen fan, played for the Orchestra of New Spain, Apollo’s Fire, the Cleveland Baroque Orchestra and the Fort Worth Symphony. She was inspired at a young age to play the violin and has had a successful career since.

Van Cleve plays the violin, an instrument that can transcend the verbal barrier of language, representing what she described as a “common language.”

“We, as violinists, try to emulate the human voice,” Van Cleve said. “I’ve always enjoyed singing. I’m not a singer, but I play with singers all the time. So I think the idea of the violin as my voice was always something that drew me to that particular instrument.”

Van Cleve had several words of wisdom for young and frustrated musicians:

“One of the things that I’ve learned is that you have to be really patient when you’re a musician, and you have to work really hard and you have to practice a lot. And that sounds kind of cliche — you know, practice. It’s a lifelong endeavor, you can never stop practicing, but that’s one of the great things about it. … ‘m still learning things  as a musician, even after playing for many many years.”

This life-long endeavor has made Van Cleve realize just how important music is to the world. Most of us probably hear several songs a day, whether we planned to or not.

“I think a world without music would be a much more silent world, but beyond that, I think music has the capability to bring people together,” Van Cleve said. “I think bringing people together, being a source of beauty in many different ways … I think that music is one of the most powerful ways to do that.”

We often get tired of songs we’ve played on repeat for weeks on end, but Van Cleve says listening to the same classical music never gets old.

“I guess that’s the wonderful thing about classical music, you can play it over and over again and still find interesting and new things about it,” Van Cleve said. “For me, it never gets old and it’s never stale.”


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