Schools and Colleges

Bandier program’s move to Newhouse creates tension

Alexa Diaz | Managing Editor

The Bandier program, currently housed under the College of Visual and Performing Arts, will be moved to the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. The decision to move was not a mutual decision.

UPDATED: April 20, 2017 at 11:50 a.m.

The move of the Bandier music program from Syracuse University’s College of Visual and Performing Arts to the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications was not a mutual decision.

Syracuse University announced in late March that the Bandier program will be moved to Newhouse and could potentially be renamed the Martin Bandier Program for the Music Business and Entertainment Industries. The university also announced that Martin Bandier, the program’s founder — who graduated from SU in 1962 — would be donating to the program. The new Bandier program offered through Newhouse will not fully be set into place until 2018.

Lorraine Branham, dean of the Newhouse School, said many people involved in the program have advocated for years that the program transition to Newhouse.

“As you can imagine VPA was not that thrilled about it,” Branham said. “… I know that VPA would have liked to have kept the program if they could have, but most of the people associated with the program felt it was better (it be moved to Newhouse).”

Multiple VPA faculty members declined to be interviewed for this article, including Ulf Oesterle, the program’s interim director. He directed all media inquiries to Branham.

The Bandier program started when three Newhouse alumni — Rob Light, John Sykes and Phil Quartararo, all of who went on to work in the music industry — introduced the idea of the program to Martin Bandier, the current CEO of Sony/ATV Music Publishing. After securing endowment from Bandier, the three alumni came to then-Newhouse Dean David Rubin to see if he would support and develop the program, Branham said.

Even though Rubin initially agreed to implement the program, Branham said Rubin was busy raising money for the construction of Newhouse 3 and realized he did not have time to develop a new program. Eventually, the program ended up with VPA, since VPA already had a music industry program.

“It did, I think, very well with VPA but it was always kind of an outlier in VPA,” Branham said, adding that the program is more oriented toward teaching skill sets for students in Newhouse and the Martin J. Whitman School of Management. “It became apparent over time that it wasn’t a great fit, but they tried to make it work. But there had always been this hope that one day it would move to Newhouse.”

James-Dean Gardner, a junior currently enrolled in the Bandier program, said he thinks the program’s vision overlaps more with Newhouse’s curriculum. He added that with the program in the communications school, students enrolled in Bandier will have access to tools offered in Newhouse and a network of industry professionals, which is beneficial.

Andrew Beyda, a Bandier program alumnus who graduated in 2011 and is president of the Bandier Alumni Association, said the move will “unleash the Bandier program’s full potential.”

“In order to be a successful music industry executive you must have a command of all the areas that impact the entertainment industry, so that’s law and entrepreneurship to communications and emerging technologies,” Beyda, who is also a director of business and legal affairs at Universal Music Publishing Group, said.

“These are all areas which Newhouse explores in order to anticipate changes in the ever-shifting media landscape, so that’s really a natural fit based on the Bandier program’s goals and Newhouse’s goals.”

Oesterle and Lisa Steele, the program’s assistant director, will be considered Newhouse employee’s effective this summer, Branham said. The program’s director position has not been filled in yet.

Students who are enrolled in the program currently will be receiving a degree from VPA, and incoming freshmen will have the choice of choosing between a VPA degree or Newhouse degree, Branham said.

Vice Chancellor and Provost Michele Wheatly said in a statement to The Daily Orange that there was “general agreement” among Bandier students, faculty, staff and alumni that the program’s curriculum and goals fit better in the Newhouse School.

“The students in the Bandier Program are non-performance students in the Setnor School of Music — unlike the other students, they do not audition for admission,” Wheatly said in the statement. “They are most interested in the music business. Their passion for music as it relates to the rapidly changing music business, and the integration of music into new media will fit well with other Newhouse students interested in multi-media, technology and business.”

Bandier students will continue to take VPA classes after the move, but there may be fewer Bandier students taking those classes, Branham said.

“VPA will continue to be our partner in making sure that the current group of students have the classes that they need to graduate on time,” Branham said.

—     News Editor Michael Burke contributed reporting to this article.

CORRECTION: In a previous version of this post, Andrew Beyda was misquoted. Said Beyda: “In order to be a successful music industry executive you must have a command of all the areas that impact the entertainment industry, so that’s law and entrepreneurship to communications and emerging technologies.” The Daily Orange regrets this error.

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