Louis Bergonzi

Daniel J. Perrino Chair in Music Education Professor of Conducting and Music Education/Strings Conductor of the UI Philharmonia Orchestra

B.M., cum laude, Boston University; M.M., Music Education, and Ph.D. Music Education, with cognates in Orchestral Conducting and Educational Foundations and Policy Administration, The University of Michigan; Diploma, Kodály Musical Training Institute, Hartford, CT; Undergraduate Studies in Music Education, Susquehanna University

Dr. Louis Bergonzi is the Daniel J. Perrino Chair in Music Education. He joined the the University of Illinois faculty in 2005. Prior to that appointment, he was on the faculty of the Eastman School of Music for 16 years, and earlier he held positions in various public school systems in Massachusetts. 

A frequent presenter at regional, state, national, and international teachers' conferences, Bergonzi's areas of expertise include orchestra rehearsal technique, conducting, and string teaching, particularly in an urban setting. His extensive experience in these areas include acting as director of the Eastman Summer Music Academy for String Teachers (1995-1999); director of the Rochester-Eastman Urban String Project (1997-2005); conductor of numerous all-state honor orchestras; Melbourne Australia Summer Youth Music (1999-2005); Hong Kong Summer Youth Orchestras (1997); and All-State Intermediate Orchestra at Interlochen (1985-1990). 

Bergonzi's early research involved secondary data analysis of large-scale, nationally representative data sets to consider issues in the sociology of music education and arts education policy. His efforts have garnered several research grants and fellowships, including Yamaha Music Education Research Project (1995-); National Endowment for the Arts (1993-95, 1997-); and Bridging Fellowship in Public Policy Analysis, University of Rochester (1995).  He was co-director of Establishing Identity: LGBT Studies and Music Education I and II (2010/2012), symposia designed to provide energy to the discussion of how LGBT issues operate within music education in terms of research, curriculum, teacher preparation, and the musical lives and careers of LGBT music students and teachers. His current research investigates whether music classrooms, peers and teachers are more supportive of all students, as related to bullying and victimization, than non-music counterparts because of deeper connections to students and families that result from multi-year contact and the types of activities in which music students engage while in school.

Dr. Bergonzi has received research grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Yamaha Music Education Research Project for secondary analysis of large-scale, nationally representative data to determine any predictive effects of arts/music education on arts/music participation later in life. He has written for the American String Teacher, theMusic Educators Journal,, and the Journal of Research in Music Education. Dr. Bergonzi contributed a chapter on teacher preparation for work in diverse classrooms in the ASTA publication, String Teaching in America: Strategies for a Diverse Society. He was also co-editor for MENC of a compilation of teaching strategies organized around the national music standards, and co-author of Effects of Arts Education on Participation in the Arts and Americans’ Musical Preferences (National Endowment for the Arts, 1996/2002) and of Teaching Music Through Performance in Orchestra, Volumes 1, 2, and 3 (GIA, 2002/2003/2007).  Dr. Bergonzi is a clinician for Scherl & Roth String Instruments. His Rounds and Canons for Strings: Shaping Musical Independence and arrangements for younger orchestras are published by the Neil A. Kjos Music Company and Alfred Music Publishing.

Teaching Philosophy

My approach to teaching centers on taking actions based on core beliefs about music and education as a way of modeling certain professional behaviors and sensibilities for my students. I want them to assess critically my actions and orientation as they increase self-knowledge and grow professionally. The beliefs that guide my music education actions-as-teaching include (1) viewing schools as agencies of social progress; (2) expecting access to sequential, comprehensive music education for all children; (3) cultivating the relationship among performers, school-based teachers, and studio faculty at all levels; and (4) situating teacher preparation courses in school settings. Finally, I try to demonstrate, particularly to my graduate students, how the University’s work and the profession of music education, including its research base, are bettered when the university functions as a resource for addressing issues of critical professional importance. In short, my approach to teaching is one that demonstrates and helps students recognize their own potential for professional leadership and problem solving.

Related Websites

University of Illinois Philharmonia Orchestra

Core Information Related String Teaching

Data base of Strategies for Teaching String Technique 

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Information and Resources for Engagements as a Clinician or Guest Conductor