Petrella Named Interim Dean of Conservatory

Pianist will serve for the 2017-18 academic year

Diane Helfers Petrella, D.M.A, has agreed to serve as Interim Dean of the UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance for the 2017-18 Academic Year, announced Barbara A. Bichelmeyer, Ph.D., provost and executive vice chancellor

Dr. Petrella is a tenured Professor of piano and piano pedagogy who served as Executive Associate Dean of the Conservatory this past year. She has previously served as Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and Chair of the Division of Keyboard Studies. From 2001 to 2006, Dr. Petrella held a similar teaching appointment at Oakland University in Rochester Hills, MI. She has also taught at Texas Wesleyan University, the University of North Texas and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and was on the piano faculty of Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp for 10 years, serving as chairperson of Blue Lake’s piano department, from 2000 to 2002.

Dr. Petrella has presented at the national conferences of the College Music Society, Music Teachers National Association, and the National Group Piano and Piano Pedagogy Forum, and served as President of the Missouri Music Teachers Association from 2010 to 2012. She has appeared as a soloist with several regional orchestras and is active as a soloist, collaborative pianist, speaker and adjudicator throughout the United States, including her recent appointment to the College of Examiners of the Royal Conservatory, Toronto, Canada. Dr. Petrella has served as a member of the Program Committee for the 2014 National Conference of the College Music Society and as Chair of the Collegiate Chapter Award Committee for the Music Teachers National Association. The UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance awarded her the Kauffman Award for Outstanding Service in Spring 2015.

Dr. Petrella and percussionist Nick Petrella formed the Petrella Ensemble in 2002, which has taught and performed throughout the United States and in Mexico, Poland, Austria and the Czech Republic, actively performing and commissioning new music. In 2006, the couple published The Musicians Toolbox, Thoughts on Teaching and Learning Music, which has been embraced by the National Association of Music Merchants and other music advocacy organizations, and was contracted for distribution by Alfred Publications in 2012.

Dr. Petrella earned her D.M.A degree in Piano Performance from the University of North Texas, an Artist Diploma from Texas Christian University, a Master’s degree in Piano Performance from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Bachelor’s degree in Piano Performance and Music Education, magna cum laude, from Eastern Illinois University.

  • Recent UMKC News

    $20 Million Scholarship Article in The Kansas City Star

    KC Scholars partnership also in U.S. News and World Report … Read more

    Geosciences Professor’s Research Cited in New York Times

    Fengpeng Sun co-authored study on California wildfire seasons The 2015 … Read more

    Bloch Faculty Interviewed on NBC Nightly News

    Brent Never teaches about Kansas City’s racial dividing line Never … Read more