Sudden death of US School of Music chief

Sudden death of US School of Music chief


norman lebrecht

January 29, 2021

Dennis Askew, director of the School of Music at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, has died suddenly of an unknown cause.

Peter Witte writes:
When we first met, decades ago, Dennis AsKew and I realized we were both Georgia brass players adjusting to the cold and grey in Michigan.
He was a friend to everyone he ever met. He was a glorious musician, one who drew from that tuba a liquid, dulcet, sound.
In a place known to take itself a bit too seriously, Dennis reminded us that striving to be good could, should, also be fun.
We went our separate ways as people do. 20 years and 30 pounds later, we both found ourselves guiding music programs, and laughing at ourselves for it.
Most recently, Dennis led UNCG’s storied and superb School of Music, seemingly with ease and joy.
We’d see each other every November, as our tribe does. Both of us a bit wider, greyer, grabbing a coffee, remembering the bowl games we’d endured over a few too many beers. Ah, our salad days…
…Remembering just how great it was to be in those bands together. Laughing. Talking about our kids and families. Beaming.
Dennis was *filled* with light. He saw the big picture. He honored the precise detail.
He loved helping people. He loved his family and communities. He was willing to speak up for those too often dismissed. He stood for education and the arts. He embraced change as exploration. He was warm. Humble. Fun.
He was who, and how, we hope to be…



  • Greg says:

    Dennis was a fantastic musician and a great guy. An excellent player, teacher, administrator, colleague, and friend.

  • UNCG Alumna says:

    Press release from the UNCG SoM:

    Lovely tributes have been expressed on social media and a memorial group on FB. A special zoom memorial for alumni has been planned for this evening.

    He will be greatly missed.