Dr. William L. Pelto

Dr. William Pelto
First Name: 
Dr. William L.
Last Name: 
Main Title: 
Office Location: 
Room 114, Broyhill Music Center
Phone Number: 

Welcome to Appalachian State University and the Mariam Cannon Hayes School of Music!

I feel very honored to have served the Hayes School since July 2009, following in the footsteps of the School's visionary first deans, Dr. Arthur Unsworth and Dr. William Harbinson. As dean, I am responsible for coordinating and facilitating nearly all activities of the Hayes School, including planning, budgets, faculty development, personnel, fund raising, and alumni relations. I work closely with Dr. Jay Jackson, our associate dean, on other matters such as curriculum and special events. Additionally, I serve as ex-officio member of the board of directors for An Appalachian Summer Festival and I am a co-facilitator of Arts at Appalachian, an affiliation of arts leaders throughout the ASU campus. I have also served as chair of the University Academic Assessment Committee and many university-wide search committees.

I came to Boone from Ithaca, New York, where I served the Ithaca College School of Music since 1991, first as a member of the music theory faculty and, from 2000 to 2009, as associate dean. At Ithaca, among many other responsibilities, I supervised grant-funded programs, including a multi-year faculty and student exchange with the University of Limerick and the Enduring Masters© series, a program that recognizes lifelong achievement by professional musicians. My research focuses on music theory pedagogy, including development of the takadimi rhythm solfege system with colleagues Richard Hoffman and John W. White, a pedagogy that has been adopted by numerous music programs in colleges, universities, and public school systems. I have also specialized in music theater conducting, working for such places as San Francisco State University, the University of Alaska Summer Fine Arts Camp, Cornell University, and the Hangar Theater. Early in my working life, I served as a budget research analyst in the State of Alaska's Office of the Governor back in Juneau, my boyhood town.

I earned a bachelor of arts degree in political science from Yale University, a master of arts in music theory from San Francisco State University, and a Ph.D. in music theory from the University of Texas at Austin. During the 2004-2005 academic year, I also served as an American Council on Education Fellow, completing a residency in the Office of the President at Brooklyn College-CUNY and visiting leaders of nearly thirty colleges and universities.

I live in Boone with Linda Larson, my wife of twenty-eight years, a choral conductor and soprano who specializes in performance of new music, oratorio, opera, and art song. We are both enthusiastic walkers, hikers, and skiers, and I also do a bit of rock climbing. I first discovered my musical interests when I heard my boyhood neighbors playing their piano, and as a six-year-old, I begged my parents for one. Who would have known that early lessons on a second-hand, mint-green-painted piano would have led to this terrific opportunity in Boone, North Carolina!