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(Boston) — Benjamin E. Juarez, director of culture, technology and development at the Dr. Jose Maria Luis Mora Research Institute for social sciences, history and culture in Mexico, today has been named dean of Boston University’s College of Fine Arts (CFA) announced BU President Dr. Robert A. Brown.
“Benjamin brings to Boston University an impressive spectrum of experience as an artist and leader in the performing and visual arts, a passion for creating a world-renowned conservatory, and a vision for the role of the arts in the fabric of a modern research university,” said Brown. “I have great optimism for the future of the College of Fine Arts under his leadership.”
Juarez’s forward technological thinking, coupled with his vast knowledge of the world of arts and his administrative experience in academia, will advance fine arts education at BU.
“The brightest students in the world come to Boston — from India, Turkey, Mexico, China, from everywhere and it’s important, from the arts, that they see their cultures somehow reflected in what we may call the canon,” said Juarez. “It’s not that all the art is done by white males that were alive until the late 19th century. The other axis is technology. With social tools, the I-Pad, broadcasting high-definition media from anywhere, the live-stream camera, you can do things that before only CBS or NBC could do with a remote unit that cost millions of dollars. We have to take advantage of both the richness of diversity and the use of technology to train our students to build themselves a different paradigm.”
As dean, part of Juarez’s task will be fund-raising for continuing CFA renovations. At the Centro Nacional de las Artes from 2007 to 2009, he oversaw 600-plus employees, 1,800 students and an $8 million annual budget. He signed student and faculty exchange agreements with other art schools in Mexico and the U.S and launched joint programs with such places as the Kennedy Center; hosted international arts conferences; and presided over a 30 percent increase in visitors to the center.
Prior to being appointed dean, Juarez directed the Centro Nacional de las Artes, Mexico’s national arts center, running professional schools in music, dance, arts, theater and film, research centers, the organization’s TV channel, and more than 20 theaters and performing spaces.
Earlier, Juarez served as director of cultural activities for Universidad Anahuac del Sure. For a decade from 1992, he led an international research project on Mexican cathedral music that provided for the transcription and performance of hundreds of works composed between the 16th and 19th centuries. The work yielded a dozen CDs bankrolled by UNESCO and other funders.
From 1978 to 1979, he was head of music and dance at the National University of Mexico, founded in 1551, where he inaugurated Mexico’s major, 2,100-seat concert hall and oversaw its international programming. He founded Cantar y taner, an ensemble that used original Mexican instruments and performance practices, in 1975. He was principal guest conductor and assistant conductor of the State of Mexico Symphony Orchestra from 1979 to 1981; associate conductor of the Mexico City Philharmonic Orchestra from 1983 to 1987; and music director of the Gran Festival de la Ciudad de Mexico in 1989-90. He has lectured and run workshops on music and the arts in Mexico and abroad, where in 1984, Juarez was honored as the first Latin American to conduct an orchestra in China.
Juarez received his B.A. in 1969 from Centro Universitario Mexico; a master’s of fine arts in music from the California Institute of the Arts in 1973; and a certificate in business administration from Universidad Anahuac del Sur in 2002.
The Boston University College of Fine Arts was created in 1954 to bring together the School of Music, the School of Theatre, and the School of Visual Arts.
Founded in 1839, Boston University is an internationally private research university with more than 30,000 students participating in undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs. BU consists of 17 colleges and schools along with a number of multi-disciplinary centers and institutes which are central to the school’s research and teaching mission.