Diane Petrella Named Dean of the UMKC Conservatory


Dr. Diane Helfers Petrella, Interim Dean of the UMKC Conservatory has been named as the Dean for a three-year term.  Her appointment marks the first time in the Conservatory’s 112-year history that a woman has held this post.

Dr. Petrella has been at the Conservatory since 2006 having served as professor of piano and piano pedagogy, chair of the keyboard studies division, associate dean of graduate studies, executive associate dean, and interim dean at the Conservatory. In her announcement, Dr. Barbara Bichelmeyer, Interim Chancellor and Provost noted that Dr. Petrella’s appointment comes at the request of Conservatory faculty and staff, with strong support from the Kansas City arts community.

Diane earned a DMA in Piano Performance from the University of North Texas, an Artist Diploma from Texas Christian University, an MM in Piano Performance from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a BM in Piano Performance and Music Education, magna cum laude, from Eastern Illinois University. From 2001–2006 she held a similar teaching appointment at Oakland University in Rochester Hills, MI.  An accomplished pianist, Diane and percussionist Nick Petrella formed the Petrella Ensemble in 2002, which has since taught and performed new music throughout the United States and in Mexico, Poland, Austria and the Czech Republic. In 2006, Nick and Diane authored The Musicians Toolbox, Thoughts on Teaching and Learning Music, which has since been embraced by NAMM and other music advocacy organizations, and was contracted for distribution by Alfred Publications in 2012.

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