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Steven Schick Named Inaugural Holder of UC San Diego Reed Family Presidential Chair in Music

$1 million endowed faculty chair was funded by music department supporters Joel and Ann Reed through UC’s Presidential Match for Endowed Chairs to recruit and retain distinguished faculty


  • Erika Johnson

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  • Erika Johnson

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Photo: Steven Schick

Steven Schick Photo by Erik Jepsen/UC San Diego Publications

Steven Schick, a percussionist, conductor, author and distinguished professor of music at UC San Diego, is known for charging into new frontiers of contemporary music. As a soloist and director, he has performed with and led numerous local and international ensembles. In support of his teaching, research and service activities, Schick has been appointed the inaugural holder of the Reed Family Presidential Chair in the Division of Arts and Humanities.

The $1 million endowed faculty chair was established by a $500,000 gift from longtime UC San Diego music department supporters Ann and Joel Reed, and matched through the University of California’s Presidential Match for Endowed Chairs. The endowed chair will provide a dedicated source of funds, in perpetuity, for the chair holder’s scholarly activities as well as support for faculty salaries and graduate fellowships.

“We are grateful for the support of Ann and Joel Reed, whose long-standing generosity enables musicians, performers, artists and composers to realize their creative visions,” said Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla. “UC San Diego’s ability to attract and retain distinguished faculty like Steven Schick would not be possible without the dedication of friends like the Reeds.”

The arts, in particular music, have always been important to the Reed family. For many years Ann and Joel Reed have donated their time and financial support to ensure that the UC San Diego Division of Arts and Humanities is a place where budding musicians and distinguished performers can explore new creative frontiers. In 2007, the couple donated $350,000 to create the Reed Percussion Facility Endowment. Two years later Ann joined the advisory committee to help prepare for the opening of the Conrad Prebys Music Center. The Reeds were instrumental in spreading word of the new center to the community and assisted in reaching potential supporters by hosting events in their home.

Photo: Conrad Prebys Concert Hall

Conrad Prebys Concert Hall. Photo by Erik Jepsen/UC San Diego Publications

“The UC San Diego Music Department is an innovating leader in the composition and performance of contemporary music,” said Joel. “We believe it is important that the department receives the recognition and resources needed to continue its world-renowned position of excellence.”

Schick’s influence in the UC San Diego Department of Music and local community is widespread. He is founder and director of red fish blue fish, a graduate student ensemble that regularly performs, records and premieres music spanning the past 85 years of Western percussion’s history. Schick also serves as music director and conductor of the La Jolla Symphony & Chorus and was appointed the inaugural artist-in-resident with the International Contemporary Ensemble. This summer he will direct the Ojai Music Festival, a classical four-day music festival held annually in June showcasing innovative contemporary composers.

“I am thrilled and honored to be the inaugural holder of the Reed Presidential Chair in Music,” said Schick. “The generosity of the Reeds and many others help us to make this a great university. I will do my best to use this opportunity for the betterment of our students and our mission.”

Schick’s love of music began in childhood and stayed with him through college, enough for him to switch his major from pre-med to music. After obtaining a bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music from the University of Iowa and completing several assistantships, Schick won a Fulbright Scholarship to study in Germany and enrolled in the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik (State Academy of Music) in Freiberg where he earned a Soloist’s Diploma in 1982.

Photo: Steven Schick

Steven Schick

He began his teaching career at California State University Fresno in 1983, before accepting a position at the UC San Diego Department of Music in 1991. Shortly after moving to San Diego, he made his New York debut as resident percussionist at the Bang on a Can Festival, a music organization that commissions new composers as well as performs and records new works. Among his publications are a book, “The Percussionist’s Art: Same Bed, Different Dreams,” and numerous recordings, including a three-CD set of the complete percussion music of Iannis Xenakis.

The UC Presidential Match for Endowed Chairs, launched July 2014 by University of California President Janet Napolitano, initially allocates $4 million per campus to use as an incentive to encourage donors to establish endowed faculty chairs, which are so vital to UC’s efforts to attract and retain top-flight faculty. It is funded through the Presidential Endowment Fund, a source of private donations that the president may use at her discretion to support university activities. Campuses must raise at least $500,000 per chair to qualify for the match.

With the addition of the music department’s Presidential chairs, the Division of Arts and Humanities has a total of 23 endowed faculty chairs that support the division’s commitment to teaching and research.

UC San Diego Arts and Humanities Dean Cristina Della Coletta noted, “For more than 500 years, the world’s great universities have attracted and supported distinguished educators by endowing academic chairs. What these chairs mean for the department of music is that we can honor outstanding faculty like Steve Schick for their past and potential contributions to UC San Diego, as well as support their current work. We thank the Reeds for creating a lasting legacy that will benefit our music faculty for years to come.”

The Reeds, who both have backgrounds in accounting and investment management, share a belief in the importance of public schools. Ann describes herself as a public education advocate, and has led and participated in campaigns that have raised over $1 million for her children’s K-12 public schools. Joel Reed is a principal of RA Capital Advisors and RA Capital Group. Their three children received undergraduate and graduate degrees in engineering, science, math and medicine from UC San Diego, including one who minored in music. Their son-in-law is a graduate of the Rady School of Management at UC San Diego.

In addition to their ongoing support of the music department, both Ann and Joel Reed are actively involved at UC San Diego as Chancellor’s Associates, a program for donors who give an annual leadership gift of $2,500 or more to the university. Ann also serves as a trustee of the UC San Diego Foundation board and is a member of Friends of the Stuart Collection and UC San Diego Town and Gown. Their generosity spans many initiatives at UC San Diego, from student scholarships and fellowships to the Library and Health System.

For more information about giving to UC San Diego’s Department of Music, visit

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