New Graduate Program Coordinator Arrives at the School of Music

Graduate Program Coordinator David Hanzal

This fall, the School of Music welcomed a new Graduate Program Coordinator, David Hanzal. Hanzal will be guiding graduate students as they complete their School of Music degrees, along with Student Graduate Advisor Hon Ki Cheung (PhD candidate, music theory). We were delighted to chat with David about their background and their new position at the School of Music. 

Where are you originally from, and where did you complete your education? What brought you to the Twin Cities? 
I was raised in Shoreview, Minnesota, which is a suburb north of St. Paul. I completed my BA at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin (double major in English and theatre arts; minor in studio art) and my MFA in theatre directing at the University of Iowa. After I completed graduate school, I came back to the Twin Cities temporarily to pursue some freelance theatre work and decided to stay. 

What attracted you to this position? What aspect are you looking forward to the most?
I’ve been an administrator at the University of Minnesota for the past six years. What attracted me to this specific position was that it combined my passion for the arts, my skills as an administrator, and the joy that I find when I am working directly with students. When I was in graduate school, I had originally thought that I would end up becoming a theatre professor. However, when I was an adjunct right after graduate school, I realized that I was more excited when I was advising students in my office than when I was teaching acting classes. 

How do you anticipate the graduate music department being unique compared to similar departments where you’ve worked? Are there different challenges?  
A challenge that I find exciting about working with the graduate programs in the School of Music is that the community is so expansive and diverse, which is very different from working within a smaller, individual department.

Tell us more about your hobbies outside of work, including your experience as an artist and director.
Outside of my work at the University of Minnesota, I was the Artistic Director of Collective Unconscious Performance, a small professional theatre company, from 2015-2021, which kept me pretty busy. I recently dissolved the company so that I could focus on some of my other passions, which include painting, drawing, creating puppet shows, and teaching children’s theatre classes. I also purchased my first house this past October (gulp!), so I’ve been busy learning the ropes as a first-time homeowner. 

What kind of music do you like? Do you have a favorite artist?
My Spotify app will show you that I’m frequently listening to a mix of opera, classical, musical theatre, dance-pop, and melancholy singer-songwriters. My favorite “serious” musician is probably Maria Callas, and my favorite pop artists are Grimes and Britney Spears. My favorite new artist is FKA Twigs. 

David Hanzal is the new Graduate Program Coordinator at the University of Minnesota School of Music. Prospective and current graduate students can reach the office at or 612-624-0071 for questions regarding advising, admissions, auditions, funding support fellowships, teaching assistantships assignments and offers, and directed study requests and assignments. 

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