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Florida Gulf Coast University

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College of Arts and Sciences

Debra Hess, Ph.D.

Debra Hess, Ph.D.Associate Professor of Music
Music History, Organ
Phone: (239) 590-1512
Office: MUS 215

Debra Hess has been a member of the FGCU faculty since 2000. She holds both an MFA in Sacred Music and a PhD in Curriculum and Instruction in the College Teaching of Music History and Literature from the University of Florida where she studied under David Z. Kushner. Her dissertation, The Pedagogical Works of Johann Christian Gottlieb Graupner, centered on musical life in the early 1800s in Boston, Massachusetts . Her other research interests include the early development of musical institutions and sacred music in the United States in the nineteenth century. Hess has presented papers on her research at regional, national and international conferences.

Besides her musicology interests, Hess is also an active organist. She has participated in numerous organ recitals through the years as well as serving as music director and organist for various congregations in Florida, Texas and Missouri.

Her music history teaching philosophy states:
"It is essential that music students are able to connect the rich history of musical compositions to their own solo and ensemble performing experiences. The study of music history is much more than a memorization of dates and names. It is the study of music in its original context and includes an appreciation for the sociological, philosophical and artistic forces that shaped its composition and the performance practices of each era. Music is not a cloistered art. To the extent that we can understand how music reflects and is directly affected by the conditions and issues of its day, we will become better interpreters and therefore ultimately better performers and conductors."