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Dr. Robert Pippin, who conducts Northwest's Concert Band and Studio Jazz Ensemble, has been appointed as the next Dennis C. Dau Professor of Instrumental Music. (Northwest Missouri State University photo)

Dr. Robert Pippin, who conducts Northwest's Concert Band and Studio Jazz Ensemble, has been appointed as the next Dennis C. Dau Professor of Instrumental Music. (Northwest Missouri State University photo)

Nov. 29, 2021

Pippin named next Dau Professor of Instrumental Music

Dr. Robert Pippin

Dr. Robert Pippin

Dr. Robert Pippin, an assistant professor of music at Northwest Missouri State University, will serve as the Department of Fine and Performing Arts’ next Dennis C. Dau Professor of Instrumental Music, making him the second faculty member to receive the designation.

Pippin, who succeeds Dr. William Richardson in the role, was selected for a two-year appointment through a process of nominations and a recommendation of the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

“This endowed professorship provides special recognition to Dr. Pippin for continuing exemplary service to the field of instrumental music, based on outstanding teaching, creative and scholarly activity, contributions to the field, and service,” Dr. Mike Steiner, the dean of Northwest’s College of Arts and Sciences, said. “The Dau gift has not only been a tremendous gift to the Department of Fine and Performing Arts but also has set a precedent for the establishment of endowed professorships at Northwest. We are tremendously proud of Dr. Pippin’s contributions.”

Pippin, who joined Northwest in 2015, serves as conductor of the Concert Band and Studio Jazz Ensemble. He teaches coursework related to applied trombone, euphonium and tuba; elements of conducting; and brass methods. His academic interests include brass performance concepts, instrumental conducting and secondary music curriculum development.

Pippin said he is honored to receive the appointment, which also comes with funding he can invest in bringing guest artists to Northwest, trips and other profession-based experiences designed to enhance students’ learning.

“The impact the endowment is going to have on Northwest music and music in this region and the state of Missouri, the program enhancement and everything that goes along with this brings a lot of attention to Northwest,” Pippin said. “It is a real difference-maker in a program. We’re very fortunate.” 

For Pippin, the idea of a career in music began as a trombone player while he was in junior high. Pippin was inspired by his band director, who had a doctorate degree in music.

“He was a fantastic trumpet player, and I realized, ‘Here’s an amazing musician. He’s making a career out of doing music. Maybe I could do that,’” Pippin said. “From then I wanted to have a career in music, and the rest of my public school was a matter of trying to figure out how to do that.”

Pippin went on to earn a Bachelor of Music Education degree and then a Master of Music degree in conducting, both from Colorado State University. In addition to working as a high school band director in Colorado, he was active as a trombonist with the Fort Collins Symphony and as a freelance artist performing classical, jazz and chamber music.

But after 13 years in the high school setting, Pippin felt a calling to teach at the college level and prepare music students to become educators. He subsequently earned a Doctor of Musical Arts in wind band conducting at the Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University in Maryland, where he was director of the Johns Hopkins University Wind Ensemble, assistant conductor for the Peabody Wind Ensemble and taught basic conducting courses.

With two degrees in conducting, Pippin is passionate about equipping future music educators with the tools they need to help younger students gain a holistic understanding of how music works.

“The conducting is where the magic happens,” Pippin said. “That's where you take everything you have as a music educator and try to connect the dots with your students. Everything they’re going to learn about music history, that they’re going to learn about music theory, that they’re going to learn about how music exists in culture, happens in that room. Being the band director, I’m teaching them by what I'm doing on that podium.”

Throughout his career, Pippin also has been a performer, adjudicator and clinician with bands, orchestras and jazz ensembles in Colorado, Kansas, Idaho, Iowa, Maryland, Missouri, Nebraska and Wyoming. He has presented clinics at the National Association of College Wind and Percussion Instructors National Convention as well as the College Music Society Great Plains and Rocky Mountain regional combined conference, the Missouri Music Educators Convention and the Colorado Bandmasters Association Convention. He also will present at the Hawaii University International Conference and the College Band Directors National Association Southwestern Division Conference next spring.

“Music is one of the core things that every human on this planet has in common – that we all connect with in some way,” Pippin said. “There’s cultural relevance to music in every culture, so I feel like that’s why it’s so important. It’s central to what we are as humans to express ourselves musically.”

Northwest announced the founding of the Dau Endowed Professorship in 2017 after receiving a $500,000 cash gift in honor of Dau, a Northwest alumnus and long-time supporter of instrumental music at the University.

An endowed professorship gives special recognition to a faculty member for continued exemplary service to their field, based on outstanding teaching, creative and scholarly activity, and contributions through professional organizations and service beyond the regional level. It recognizes individuals who maintain a high level of productivity and impact during an extended period of time and are considered role models for faculty, staff and students.

Dau, a native of Manning, Iowa, played the snare drum in Northwest’s Bearcat Marching Band and the clarinet in the University’s wind symphony on his way to earning a bachelor’s degree in 1970 and master’s degree in 1971, both in music education. His career as an educator took him to Farragut, Iowa, and then to Maryville High School, where he was a band director from 1979 until his retirement in 1999.

To make a gift in support of the Dennis C. Dau Endowed Professorship in Instrumental Music or for more information about the Northwest Foundation, contact the Office of University Advancement at 660.562.1248 or


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