Years of Service: 1974-2020

Bernard J. Dobroski ’81 PhD received a bachelor of fine arts degree in music performance from Carnegie Mellon University and a master’s in music performance and music history from Catholic University of America in Washington D.C. From 1968 to 1972, he performed as a tubist and keyboardist with the U.S. Navy Band, as a soloist with the U.S. Navy Concert Band, as a conductor and performer with the U.S. Navy Ceremonial Band, and as a leader of the U.S. Navy Brass Quintet. He was an instructor and director of the Preparatory Wind Ensemble of the Washington Youth Orchestra from 1969 to 1972.

In 1981, Dobroski received a PhD from the Northwestern University School of Music. He held various faculty and administrative positions at the school from 1974 to 1985, including assistant dean, director of undergraduate studies, and associate dean for administration. In 1986, he became dean of the University of Oregon School of Music and Department of Dance—a position he held until 1990, when he returned to Northwestern to assume the deanship of the School of Music.

As the school’s sixth dean, Dobroski focused on faculty and student recruitment, expansion of course offerings for nonmajors, and community engagement programs. During his tenure, the school established new academic majors in music technology and music cognition; Philharmonia, an orchestra for non-music majors; and a joint degree program with the Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications. The Evelyn Dunbar Memorial Early Music Festival debuted in 1996, and the first-annual Winter Chamber Music Festival took place in 1997. Notable events as dean included a weeklong celebration of John Cage’s 80th birthday in 1992, which featured the composer in attendance; and a yearlong celebration of the School of Music’s centennial beginning in fall 1995.

In 2003, Dobroski stepped down after 13 years of service as dean and assumed the John Evans Professorship in Music. He has taught graduate and undergraduate courses in the Bienen School of Music and the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences. Dobroski has served on the boards of a number of regional and national organizations, including the Lyric Opera of Chicago Ryan Opera Center, Savannah Voice Festival, Sherrill Milnes VOICExperience Institute, and the Chicago-based Bel Canto Foundation.

Dobroski retired at the conclusion of the 2019-20 academic year and was named professor emeritus.


Alumni Spotlight: Rufus Reid

February 12, 2021

Bienen School Hosts Spring Orchestra Concerts

April 26, 2016

Remembering Pierre Boulez (1925-2016) at Northwestern

January 6, 2016

See All News