Dr. Gerard L. Knieter began his career as a professional musician, through which he was able to finance his Bachelor of Science (1953) and Master of Arts (1954) degrees from New York University. His next two years were spent in the U.S. Army on loan to the U.S. Navy to write the new Warrant Officers Theory program, co-author a new theory text and teach at the Naval School of Music in Washington, D.C.

After he left military service, Dr. Knieter began teaching on Long Island, New York, in 1956, where he first became known as an interdisciplinarian in the arts by introducing “A Symposium in the Creative Arts,” which he team-taught with an art teacher. Simultaneously, he conducted choral work while on loan to the history department, where he was teaching a two-week lecture in each section of American history and world history, “The Fine Arts in Historical Perspective,” while completing his Doctor of Education degree at Columbia University in 1961.

Next, Dr. Knieter traveled west to San Jose State University in 1962, where he introduced their first program in ethnomusicology, “Music in World Cultures.” He spent a short time from 1965 to 1967 doing administrative work at Duquesne University’s Mary Pappert School of Music in Pittsburgh, where he was assistant to the dean and acting dean.

Dr. Knieter’s expertise as an interdisciplinarian in the arts came into focus in 1967, when he became head of the doctoral program and chairman of the department of music education and music theory in the Boyer College of Music and Dance at Temple University in Philadelphia. Through federal and state funding, he offered summer workshops for high school music teachers throughout Pennsylvania. He assembled outstanding faculty from visual arts, music, theatre, film and dance. In addition to the structure of the arts, he emphasized non-verbal intelligence, the nature of meaning, intuition and creativity. These efforts led to many publications, lectures and seminars throughout the United States and Canada.

In 1978, the University of Akron made Dr. Knieter the dean of the College of Fine and Applied Arts, where he helped bring the E.J. Thomas Performing Arts into national prominence by bringing in such organizations as the Vienna Philharmonic. During this period, he also taught for the College of Medicine at Northeastern Ohio University’s department of behavioral sciences sixth-year medical students, “Psychology of the Arts,” and physicians, “Creativity and the Arts: Implications for Medical Practice.” Dr. Knieter became dean at California State University’s College of Fine Arts in 1986, where he continued to work with the various arts programs. After returning to the faculty, he taught courses in philosophy of music education, research and aesthetics. Upon retirement in 2006, Dr. Knieter accepted the designation of professor emeritus of music at California State University, Northridge.

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