Palm Beach Atlantic University Provost and Chief Academic Officer Dr. Randy Richards has announced that Dr. Jason Lester will join PBA as dean of the School of Music and Fine Arts effective July 16.
An experienced administrator, respected educator and active performer, Lester has served as dean of the School of Fine Arts at Houston Baptist University (HBU). Prior to his appointment as dean, he served as the chair of the department of music at HBU. Under his leadership, the school instituted new degree programs and community events, developed interdisciplinary initiatives with other schools within the university, and secured gifts and corporate partnerships.
“Palm Beach Atlantic welcomes Dr. Jason Lester and his family and applauds his commitment to the values of Christian higher education,” President William M. B. Fleming, Jr. said. “His national leadership in the arts is well known and his talents and energy will be instantly embraced by our music, art and dance students.
“The cultural organizations of our community will appreciate his collaborative style and his zeal to design partnership programs with PBA. Since 1988, the School of Music and Fine Arts has been led by two exceptional arts administrators ̶ Dr. Michel (Mike) Simoneaux and Dr. Lloyd Mims. Dr. Lester will continue this tradition of elite academic leadership service.”
Lester succeeds Mims, professor of music, who served as the school’s dean since 2000 and who will return to the faculty.
“It is with great excitement that I look forward to partnering with the faculty, students, staff, alumni and surrounding community as we shape and impact the future of the arts,” Lester said. “I could not be more enthusiastic about the pursuit of excellence and the potential of cross pollinating the talents of internal and external constituencies as we reflect upon PBA’s commitment to learning, leadership and service.”
In addition to his service at HBU, Lester recently was elected the national secretary/treasurer of the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) for the 2018-2020 term. A longstanding member of 7,000-member organization, Lester assumes this position following his service as governor of the Texoma Region for NATS and president of the Greater Houston NATS chapter.
In addition to his collegiate role, Lester served as the director of vocal studies for Houston Grand Opera’s Bauer Family High School Voice Studio for seven years. In total, his students have participated in numerous summer programs, been winners or finalists in many competitions and have been accepted into The Juilliard School, University of Indiana, Eastman School of Music, Oberlin Conservatory, University of Cincinnati – College Conservatory of Music, Mannes – The New School for Music, Rice University, Boston University and Carnegie-Mellon University. He often serves as a guest clinician and adjudicator for competitions.
As a performer, Lester is at ease in operatic, concert and song literature repertoire. He has performed over 30 operatic roles in musical styles ranging from Baroque to 21st century. His operatic roles include Colline in La Bohème, Don Basilio in Il barbiere di Siviglia, Méphistophélès in Faust and Raimondo Bidebent in Lucia di Lammermoor. As a concert soloist, Lester has participated in many of the repertory’s standard works, including Mozart and Brahms’ Requiem, Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, and Handel’s Messiah, among others.
Lester earned a doctor of music degree in vocal performance from Florida State University. He holds a master of music degree in vocal performance from the University of Cincinnati – College Conservatory of Music. His bachelor of music education, choral with a voice concentration, is from Baylor University.
In addition to his musical interests, he is an avid cyclist, logging thousands of miles a year and has raised money for various organizations and charities. He and his wife are parents to two children.