In the Loop
Faculty News : Mar 1, 2018

Passion for music inspired career in teaching

By Madison Hallman

Music was a part of Dr. David Z. Kushner’s life from a young age. Growing up, he studied piano and participated in multiple recitals; however, it wasn’t until high school that he realized he wanted to pursue a career in the music field.

Kushner attended Boston University for his undergraduate studies where he majored in piano performance and developed a keen interest in music history and music criticism. While attending the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music to attain his Master of Music degree, he decided his next career move: to become a college professor. He wanted to combine his passions for music history and historical/literary musicology to inspire students.

“It is important that society realizes that music is part of the everyday world; it is not created in an ‘ivory tower,’” Kushner said.

Kushner has been a member of the Gator family since 1969, where he has had the opportunity to serve as Coordinator of Musicological Studies and Coordinator of Graduate Studies in Music. He has written multiple articles, such as Ernest Bloch in San Francisco and Religious Ambiguity in the Life and Works of Ernest Bloch. However, his favorite writings are his books, Ernest Bloch: A Guide to Research and The Ernest Bloch Companion, inspired by his time at the University of Michigan where he wrote his Ph.D. dissertation on the subject, Ernest Bloch and His Symphonic Works.

Kushner tends to write about topics that detail the historical surroundings in which the composer lives, which often includes references to controversy. He acknowledges that one of the biggest challenges he’s encountered while writing and researching relates to the personal issues or foibles of the composers, such as the subject of Bloch's many lovers. However, Kushner asserts that the creators of the art are human and possess human frailties or blind spots that should not overshadow and impact their creative contributions to society.

“As music is an integral part of society, it cannot be separated or isolated from that with which it is surrounded,” Kushner said.