Recent Updates: The university is welcoming back visitors to campus. More information can be found on our COVID-19 Community Guide.

  • College of Performing Arts Faculty

  • Richard Kessler


    Download vCard

    Richard Kessler


    Described by Anthony Tommasini of The New York Times as a “firebrand,” Richard Kessler holds a dual appointment as the Executive Dean for the College of Performing Arts at The New School and Dean of Mannes School of Music, the century old music conservatory. In his role as Executive Dean for the College of Performing Arts, Kessler is working to unify the three performing arts schools of The New School. As Dean of Mannes, Richard Kessler developed and implemented a comprehensive strategic plan that seeks to make Mannes the most progressive high quality music conservatory in the world. The plan leaves little untouched and has resulted in a significantly expanded curriculum that rethinks the nature of music education in the 21st century, while creating new degree programs, minors, core proficiencies and a wide range of new activities in partnership with the other colleges and programs of The New School.

    Dean Kessler’s career in the arts spans four decades and is marked by a record of distinguished vision and leadership, as a musician, educator, teaching artist, advocate, and organizational leader. Before his appointment as Dean of Mannes in 2011, Kessler served as Executive Director of The Center for Arts Education (CAE) from 2004-2011. At CAE, Kessler led the organization through a period of significant expansion, which included growth in areas of advocacy, government affairs, media relations, and coalition building. Under Kessler’s leadership, CAE secured two highly competitive grants from the United States Department of Education and $17 million in support from Walter and Leonore Annenberg. Through the establishment of new training programs for teaching artists, classroom teachers, institutes for school principals, and parent learning programs, Kessler helped CAE become the rare organization that blended advocacy/policy with direct service programs in arts education. Prior to CAE, Kessler was executive director of The American Music Center and vice president of Artsvision, an international arts education consulting company.

    Kessler’s work in arts education has led to awards from the United Federation of Teachers, ASCAP, Music at the Anthology, and Kessler was the keynote speaker for the College Music Society’s National Summit on 21st Century Music School Design. A recent essay, “On Listening and Openness: Songs My Students Taught Me,” will be published in the forthcoming edition of Arcana: Musicians on Music.

    Dean Kessler continues to serve as a consultant, advisor, and board member for leading arts and education institutions. He has served as Chair of the Board at Chamber Music America, the national service organization for small ensembles, and as a board member of the American Composers Orchestra, The Festival of New Trumpet Music, National Sawdust, and Great Minds. As a trombonist, Kessler performed with New York City Ballet, New York City Opera, New York Philharmonic, CBS Network Television, and was a faculty member at the Manhattan School of Music teaching brass chamber music. Kessler was the winner of the 1990 Walter W. Naumburg Chamber Music Award, the 1986 Rafael Mendez International Brass Quintet Competition, and the 1984 Artist International Competition. Kessler studied trombone with Edward Herman, Gilbert Cohen, John Swallow, and Norman Bolter. Kessler’s chamber music studies include work with Alexander Schneider, Gerard Schwarz, Sam Pilafian, Ray Mase, and Kenneth Cooper. Dean Kessler received his undergraduate and graduate degrees at The Juilliard School.

    Future Courses

    The Stone Workshops
    COPA 5203, Fall 2022, Spring 2023

    The Stone Workshops
    COPA 4200, Fall 2022

    The Stone Workshops 2
    CAPR 4201, Spring 2023

    Past Courses

    The Stone Workshops
    COPA 5203, Spring 2022

    The Stone Workshops 2
    CAPR 4201, Spring 2022

  • Take The Next Step

Submit your application


To apply to any of our undergraduate programs (except the Bachelor's Program for Adults and Transfer Students and Parsons Associate of Applied Science programs) complete and submit the Common App online.

Undergraduate Adult Learners

To apply to any of our Bachelor's Program for Adults and Transfer Students and Parsons Associate of Applied Science programs, complete and submit the New School Online Application.


To apply to any of our Master's, Doctoral, Professional Studies Diploma, and Graduate Certificate programs, complete and submit the New School Online Application.