José García-León is the Henry and Lucy Moses Dean of Music at Yale University, a role to which he brings a broad, international perspective and a commitment to more equitably extending the reach of music education. García-León was born in Seville, Spain, where, as an ascendant pianist, he graduated with highest honors from that city’s Conservatorio Superior de Música. He continued his studies in the United States as a scholarship student, earning his Bachelor of Arts degree from the State University of New York at Binghamton and his Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the Manhattan School of Music. His career on stage, launched with a prize-winning performance at the Artist International Competition in New York, has included concerts at such celebrated institutions as Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, the Moscow State Tchaikovsky Conservatory, and the St. Petersburg International Music Festival. Endlessly curious and erudite, García-León’s scholarship has explored Spanish folk and classical music, including the influence of popular works on classical traditions, and the beginnings and cultural significance of flamenco music, particularly the distinctions between that style and Argentinian tango. He has given presentations and lecture-recitals in the United States, Europe, Asia, and South America.
García-León has shared his pedagogical expertise in piano lessons, chamber music settings, and the classroom, where he has taught courses across a breadth of topics including piano literature, musicianship, and music history, theory, and analysis. He has also taught a course on the effects music has on the brain. A thoughtful and collaborative leader, García-León’s contributions to the music-education sphere began at Oakland Community College in Michigan, where he established and grew the music program. He subsequently served as associate dean and associate professor of music at the University of New Haven’s College of Arts and Sciences, and as dean of academic affairs and assessment at The Juilliard School, where his work touched on all aspects of the curriculum. During his time at Juilliard, García-León was instrumental in creating and developing new degree programs, forging collaborations with peer institutions, and, in 2021, opening the Tianjin Juilliard School in China. He also drove diversity and belonging initiatives designed to enhance the experiences of students, faculty, and staff alike, and reimagined the school’s hiring and recruitment practices, creating opportunities for previously underserved communities. García-León returned to New Haven and began serving as dean of the Yale School of Music in September 2023 with an earnest dedication to the school’s mission of preparing students for service to the profession and to society.
Outside of work, García-León is an avid reader whose interests and tastes run from scholarship to fiction. He participates in endurance sports and values the draw of nature. García-León is married to French lyric soprano and educator Coralie Gallet. They live with their children in New Rochelle, N.Y., and New Haven.