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Lorenzo Candelaria

Dean, School of the Arts

Professor of Music

Dean Candelaria joined Purchase in 2018 with the aim of creating a model for arts education in the United States. The model builds on Purchase’s unique identity as a distinguished public arts school, fully integrating the humanities and sciences to cultivate well-rounded, impactful artists for a more complex, diverse American century.

A native of El Paso, Texas, Candelaria is a first-generation, Mexican-American college graduate. Following a year of study with the celebrated Russian violinist Victor Danchenko at the Cleveland Institute of Music, he completed his undergraduate degree in musicology at the Oberlin Conservatory where he also studied violin, viola, and the Chinese erhu (a two-stringed fiddle). Candelaria received his Ph.D. in musicology with the honor of “distinction” from Yale University, specializing in early music while pursuing a performance career with groups that included Walt Disney World’s Mariachi Cobre and the Grammy-nominated Mariachi Sol de México. With the generous support of a Fulbright fellowship, he conducted nearly two years of groundbreaking archival research on Catholic plainchant and liturgy in Spain. 

Candelaria has held professorships at the Yale Institute of Sacred Music (visiting) and the University of Texas at Austin, where he received tenure and served for twelve years on the musicology faculty. More recently, he served as an Associate Provost at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP)–a Hispanic Serving Institution of 25,000 students that earned national distinction for its bold and inspiring mission of “access and excellence” in an under-resourced community along the U.S.-Mexico border. A recipient of the prestigious Robert M. Stevenson Prize for outstanding scholarship on the music of Spain and Mexico, Candelaria is an award-winning author, teacher, and widely-engaged speaker on topics ranging from plainchant to mariachi music to arts education and the 21st-century demographic.

He is currently working on book manuscripts titled Music in Mexican Catholicism (under contract) and ARTSWAYS: Saving Public Arts Education in America.


The Rosary Cantoral: Ritual and Social Design in a Chantbook from Early Renaissance Toledo (University of Rochester Press).

American Music: A Panorama (Cengage).

“Music and Pageantry in the Formation of Hispano-Christian Identity: The Feast of St. Hippolytus in Sixteenth-Century Mexico City,” in Music and Culture in the Middle Ages and Beyond: Liturgy, Sources, Symbolism (Cambridge University Press), 89-108.

“Bernardino de Sahagún’s Psalmodia Christiana: A Catholic Songbook from Sixteenth-Century New Spain,” Journal of the American Musicological Society vol. 67, no.3: 619-684. 

“Hercules and Albrecht Dürer’s Das Meerwunder in a Chantbook from Renaissance Spain,” Renaissance Quarterly vol. 58, no. 1: 1-44.

“Silvestre Revueltas at the Dawn of his ‘American Period’: St. Edward’s College, Austin, Texas (1917-1918),” American Music vol. 22, no. 4: 502-532.