Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
May 20, 2024

Jeffrey Sharkey, the current director of the Peabody Institute, will be leaving Hopkins next year for Glasgow, Scotland, where he has been offered the position of Principal of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (RCS), President Ronald J. Daniels announced on Wednesday.

“It’s always mixed feelings when leaving. I’ve made many friends in the Hopkins and Baltimore community and I always hope these will last a lifetime,” Sharkey wrote in an email to The News-Letter. “I will miss quirky Baltimore neighborhoods, great music and dance, faculty friends, amazing excellence of all the divisions of JHU and American football!”

Daniels wrote in an email to the Hopkins community that a search committee is already in the process of locating a replacement for Sharkey. His successor will hold the title of Dean, instead of Director, of the Peabody Institute. The change in title is designed to create unity across the University’s schools, since all of the other academic divisions at Hopkins have Deans, and reflects the recommendations of an expert visiting committee that conducted an external review of Peabody earlier this year.

In order to find the most qualified candidates to replace Sharkey, Daniels has ordered the search committee to conduct a thorough international search.

Daniels also invited members of the Hopkins community to communicate their suggestions regarding the selection of the new Dean to the search committee.

Sophomore Jonah Scott is a Peabody student majoring in recording arts and jazz drums. A recent transfer from the Homewood Campus to the Peabody Institute, he hopes the new dean, whoever he or she is, will strengthen the bond between both Hopkins campuses.

“I just hope that the connection between the Homewood campus and Peabody can really be emphasized,” Scott said. “I hope that there can be a strengthening in the relationship between Peabody and Homewood students.”

Sharkey is set to replace John Wallace, the current principal of the RCS, who is retiring in September of 2014. Wallace expressed high hopes for his successor.

“Jeffrey Sharkey is an outstanding artistic and academic leader,” Wallace said in a statement. “I am certain that he has all of the qualities required to be an outstanding Principal of our extraordinary Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and I wish him all the very best for when he takes up post in September 2014 and beyond.”

Similarly, Sharkey conveyed his respect for Wallace’s achievements as president of the RCS.

“I have long admired the work and achievements of the Royal Conservatoire under the outstanding and creative leadership of John Wallace,” he said in a statement. “I look forward to building on John’s exceptional work, for the benefit of our students, present and future, and for the benefit of the whole of Scotland.”

The Board of Governors of the RCS, led by Chairman Lord Vallance of Tummel, selected Sharkey to be Wallace’s successor.

“We are confident that [Sharkey] is the right person to take the Royal Conservatoire forward,” Lord Tummel said in a statement. “He will bring to the task exceptional leadership qualities combined with a deep knowledge and understanding of the strategic issues facing the conservatoire sector, both nationally and internationally.”

Sharkey, who holds a Master of Music degree from Yale University and a Master of Philosophy degree from Cambridge University, has served as the director of the Peabody Institute since 2006. Prior to directing Peabody, Sharkey held the positions of Dean of the Cleveland Institute of Music, director of music at the Purcell School in London and head of composition and academic music at Wells Cathedral School.

Sharkey is one of the founders of the Pirasti Piano Trio, a group that has toured in Europe and the U.S. He has written numerous compositions and still participates in chamber music performances.

“I’m very excited to have so many art forms (music, drama, dance, screen and production) under one roof with a curriculum that allows for connectivity between the disciplines. I will enjoy the fact that the conservatoire is the only one in Scotland and represents the critical importance of the arts to the whole country,” Sharkey wrote.

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