Aaron Dworkin

March 4, 2016, 8:30 – 9:45 am, Big Think Plenary 1: Disruption and Innovation in Higher Education – The Future of Arts and Design

Named a 2005 MacArthur Fellow and President Obama’s first appointment to the National Council on the Arts, Aaron P. Dworkin serves as dean of the University of Michigan’s School of Music, Theatre & Dance, which is ranked among the top performing arts schools in the nation. He is also the founder of The Sphinx Organization, the leading national arts organization for transforming lives through the power of diversity and the arts. A multi-­media performing artist, author, social entrepreneur, artist-­citizen, and educator, he continually receives extensive national recognition for his leadership and service to communities. Dean Dworkin founded the Dworkin Foundation where he serves as chairman of the Board. His memoir titled Uncommon Rhythm: A Black, White, Jewish, Jehovah’s Witness, Irish Catholic Adoptee’s Journey to Leadership was released through Aquarius Press.

Dean Dworkin has been featured in People Magazine, on NBC’s Today Show and Nightly News, CNN, NPR’s The Story and Performance Today. He has been the subject of articles in The New York Times, Washington Post, Chronicle of Philanthropy, Emerge and Jet Magazines, and many other media outlets, and was named one of Newsweek’s “15 People Who Make America Great.” He is the recipient of the Royal Philharmonic Society Honorary Membership, Harvard University’s Vosgerchian Teaching Award, National Governors Association 2005 Distinguished Service to State Government Award, Detroit Symphony Orchestra’s 2007 Lifetime Achievement Award, Detroit News’s 2003 Michiganian of the Year Award, Crain’s 40 Under 40 and Who’s Who Awards, BET’s History Makers in the Making Award, AT&T Excellence in Education Award, and National Black MBA’s Entrepreneur of The Year. A passionate advocate for excellence in arts education and inclusion in the performing arts, Dean Dworkin has been a frequent keynote speaker and lecturer at numerous national conferences and serves regularly as a panelist on influential arts committees. Dean Dworkin’s board service includes the League of American Orchestras, National Association of Performing Arts Presenters, National Society for the Gifted and Talented, CultureSource, Creative Many Michigan, Knight Foundation’s Arts Advisory Board, the Avery Fisher Artist Program, Editorial Board of Downtown New York Magazine and Independent Sector’s NGen Awards Committee.

Dworkin recorded and produced two CDs, entitled Ebony Rhythm and Bar­Talk, in addition to writing, producing, and directing the independent film Deliberation. An accomplished electric and acoustic violinist, Dean Dworkin earned his bachelors of music and masters of music in violin performance from the University of Michigan School of Music, graduating with high honors. He also attended the Peabody Institute, the Philadelphia New School, and the Interlochen Arts Academy.

The author of a poetry collection, They Said I Wasn’t Really Black, as well as the children’s book The 1st Adventure of Chilli Pepperz, Dworkin’s writings have been featured in Symphony Magazine, Polyphonic.org, Andante, and other websites and publications. Dean Dworkin founded and served as publisher and editor-­in-chief of The Bard, a literary magazine.  A lifelong musician, Dean Dworkin is also a spoken-­word and visual artist. He has strong interests in politics, world history, and issues of economic and social justice. In addition to various genres of music and disciplines of the performing arts, he enjoys travel, movies, and the culinary arts.