Selected Alumni Bios

Dr. Giacomo M. Oliva

Dr. Giacomo M. Oliva (Ed.D., Music Education, 1982) is Professor of Music and Dean of the Hixson-Lied College of Fine and Performing arts at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, a position he has held since 2001. Prior to coming to Nebraska, Dr. Oliva served as Director of the School of Music at the University of Florida from 1992 to 2001, and as Head of the Department of Music at Mississippi State University from 1985 to 1992.

Dr. Oliva has presented numerous papers and lecture recitals for a variety of professional organizations, including the College Music Society, MENC, the International Society for Music Education, the Australian Society for Music Education, the Annual Meeting of the South Central Holmes Group, the Association of Teacher Educators, the Music Teachers National Association, the National Association of Schools of Music, the New Jersey Educators and Music Education Associations, and the Mississippi Music Educators Association. He has also served on the editorial boards for UPDATE (1983-1989) and the Southeastern Journal of Music Education (1992-2001), and most recently as a reviewer for the second volume of the Handbook of Research on Music Teaching and Learning.

In addition to his work in education, Dr. Oliva is active as a pianist and conductor in both the classical and popular music traditions. He maintains a special interest in ragtime and other forms of American popular music, and presents recitals and lectures on piano rags on a regular basis. He has served as percussionist with the New Jersey Opera, as a conductor and clinician for all-state and regional choral and instrumental performing groups in Mississippi and in New Jersey, and as an adjudicator for Performing Arts Consultants and for piano auditions and festivals sponsored by the Florida Federated Music Clubs and the Mississippi Music Teachers Association. His activities as a pianist and conductor also include several years as musical director and accompanist for singer Connie Francis, performing with Ms. Francis on the Tomorrow Show (WNBC-TV) and at Avery Fischer Hall in Lincoln Center, as well as in numerous other venues throughout New York and New Jersey.

Dr. Oliva’s leadership positions in professional organizations have included serving as Junior High Choral Division Chair and Research Chair for the New Jersey Music Educators Association, as CMENC Chair and President-elect for the Mississippi Music Educators Association, as Southern Division Chair and National Chair of the MENC General Research Special Interest Group (SRIG), and as a board member for Very Special Arts Mississippi. He has also served as President of the University of Florida Chapter of the National Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi, and has recently begun a two-year term as President of the International Society for Music Education. He maintains active membership in the American Federation of Musicians, Local 802 (New York City).

Dr. Oliva’s early music studies were as a piano student of Isabella Byman, and as a scholarship student with Seymour Bernstein, Stefan Volpe, Jan Gorbaty and Augusta Scheiber at the Chatham Square Music School in New York City. He holds the B.A. cum laude in Music Education and the M.A. in Applied Music Studies (piano) from Montclair State University, as well as the doctorate in Music Education and Administration from New York University. He also holds certifications as a K-12 Curriculum Supervisor and School Principal in the New Jersey Public Schools, and as an evaluator of provisional teachers in the state of Mississippi.