Lorenzo F. Candelaria

Professor of Musicology

Contact Information

Blair 1125


B.Mus. (Oberlin); M.Phil. (Yale); Ph.D. (Yale)

Lorenzo Candelaria, who served as the Blair School of Music dean from 2000 to 2023, come to Vanderbilt with a mission to focus on the professional education of highly talented young musicians who demonstrate an exceptional capacity and motivation to shape our increasingly diverse and complex global century — through the arts, with the arts, and in the arts.

A native of El Paso, Texas, Candelaria is a first-generation, Mexican American college graduate. Following a year of study with the celebrated Russian violinist Victor Danchenko at the Cleveland Institute of Music, he completed his undergraduate degree in musicology at the Oberlin Conservatory where he also studied violin, viola, and the Chinese erhu (a two-stringed folk fiddle).

He received his Ph.D. in musicology with highest honors from Yale University, specializing in Renaissance music while pursuing a performance career with groups that included Walt Disney World’s Mariachi Cobre and the Grammy-nominated Mariachi Sol de México. With the generous support of a Fulbright fellowship, he conducted nearly two years of groundbreaking archival research on Catholic plainchant and liturgy in Spain.

Candelaria has held professorships at the Yale Institute of Sacred Music and at the University of Texas at Austin, where he received tenure and served for twelve years on the musicology faculty. He later served as an Associate Provost at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), a Hispanic-Serving Institution of 25,000 students that earned national distinction for its bold and inspiring mission of “access and excellence” in an under-resourced community along the U.S.-Mexico border.

As Dean of the School of the Arts at SUNY Purchase, a leading public conservatory in Music and Dance as well as in the Visual and Theatrical Arts, Candelaria created “Pathways to Purchase,” which focused on recruiting, retaining and graduating first-generation college students through innovative arts programming.

A recipient of the American Musicological Society’s prestigious Robert M. Stevenson Prize for outstanding scholarship on the music of Spain and Mexico, Candelaria is an award-winning author, teacher, and widely engaged speaker on topics ranging from plainchant to mariachi music. Recent books include The Rosary Cantoral, American Music: A Panorama, and Listening to Music. He is currently writing Music in Early Mexican Catholicism.