David Ake named new chair of Department of Music

David Ake at CWRU's Play Me I'm Yours
Professor David Ake tests out the pianos at the Play Me, I’m Yours art installation. Photo by Kevin Kopanski.

David Ake, professor of musicology and an accomplished jazz scholar and musician, was appointed chair of the Department of Music at Case Western Reserve University.

Since 2011, Ake has served as director of the School of the Arts at the University of Nevada, Reno. A member of the university’s faculty since 1999, Ake also was chair of the Department of Music and Dance and director of the Jazz Studies program.

Robert Walser, professor of musicology and director of the Center for Popular Music Studies, calls Ake a “wonderful scholar and performer.”

Ake earned his master’s degree in ethnomusicology and doctorate in musicology at the University of California, Los Angeles, having previously completed a Master of Fine Arts in jazz piano at the California Institute of the Arts. His research is mainly focused on notions of identity—nationality, gender, class and race—as they are formed in and through jazz and other American music genres.

“He’s a very ambitious, big-picture scholar dealing with concerns that are central to the humanities,” said Walser. “Having David here means we have a critical mass where Case Western Reserve becomes a destination for students interested in popular music, jazz and 20th-century music. Combined with our strength in early music, we’re really well positioned to take the program to another level.”