Dr. Joan Griffing

Dr. Joan Griffing holds the position of the Tim and Gail Buchanan Endowed Chair of the Division of Fine Arts. Previously, she served as Professor of Music and Chair of the Music Department at Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg, Virginia for 22 years.

During her tenure as Chair of the EMU Music Department, Dr. Griffing emphasized the development of community partnerships and innovative instructional approaches. To that end, she collaborated with the Harrisonburg public schools as a member of the Community Arts Team for the Any Given Child initiative, a Kennedy Center partnership which focuses on providing equal access to the arts for each child in the public school system. She also raised funds for the EMU Music Department that were used for scholarships, special commissions, performance and recording projects, faculty and student travel, instruments, and outreach programs. Dr. Griffing recently led the redesign of the EMU music curriculum, preparing students to be successful musicians in the 21st century, emphasizing experimentation, discovery, research, and the integration of interdisciplinary content from other disciplines.

A violinist, Dr. Griffing is the concertmaster of the Shenandoah Valley Bach Festival Orchestra, was a first violinist with the Virginia Symphony Orchestra for 24 years and first violinist/faculty with the Eastern Music Festival in Greensboro, North Carolina for 26 years. She has performed throughout Europe, Taiwan, Brazil and Australia. In the fall of 2012, she spent five months on sabbatical in New Zealand studying the role of music in peace and conflict issues.

Dr Griffing is a founding member of the chamber music group Musica Harmonia, formed to promote peace and cultural understanding through musical collaboration. The group’s first CD, chamber music by Gwyneth Walker, was released in 2017. Recent solo appearances include solo violinist in Vaughan Williams’ The Lark Ascending with The Dance Theater of Harlem and the Rockbridge Symphony and solo violinist in concertos by Bach and Stamitz with the Shenandoah Valley Bach Festival. Dr. Griffing recently recorded works for piano and strings by Vincent Persichetti for a CD to be released in 2018.


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