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ULM Visual and Performing Arts names new endowments

Published November 19, 2013

The University of Louisiana at Monroe School of Visual and Performing Arts recently named Dr. James Layfield as the Emy-Lou Biedenharn Endowed Chair in Music, and Dr. Mel Mobley as the new Emy-Lou Biedenharn Endowed Professor in Music.

The two endowments will allow the professors to expand their research within their field.

“I am honored to be the new Emy-Lou Biedenharn Endowed Chair in Music,” said Layfield.

Photo of Dr. James Layfield

“The Biedenharns are one of the most well-known families in Monroe and their contributions to the music department here at ULM are incredible. The fact that I am forever associated with the name Emy-Lou Biedenharn is something that I will cherish forever. The amazing and talented faculty in the music department continues to captivate me on a daily basis and I look forward to seeing our program grow in the years to come.”

Layfield is the instructor of Low Brass at ULM, teaching applied low brass lessons, brass methods and aural skills. He has been a member of the Saginaw Bay Symphony and Warren Symphony since 2010.

Layfield has also performed with the Dallas Symphony, Dallas Wind Symphony, Lansing Symphony, Dallas Brass Quintet, Michigan Philharmonic, Dallas Jazz Orchestra, and many more.

In 2011, his trombone quartet, EuFouria, was selected as co-winner of the Eastern Trombone Workshop Quartet Competition, as well as a finalist in the International Trombone Festival Quartet Competition.

Layfield received in Doctorate in Trombone Performance from the University of Michigan, and holds degrees from Southern Methodist University and the University of Texas at Arlington.


Dr. Mel Mobley is the new Emy-Lou Biedenharn Endowed Professor in Music.

“I am extremely honored… and am excited about the possibilities that it allows in my research,” said Mobley.

Photo of Dr. Mel Mobley

“I am most excited about the assistance this research will give to the ULM fine arts faculty and students in connecting their artistry to new developments in technology.”

Mobley’s research will explore the possibilities of real-time interaction between performers and technology.

“It involves the composition/creation of multi-media musical events that use live performers, electronic audio, and video,” he said.

“The endowment will make it possible to explore developments in audio-visual hardware and software that allow performers to control digital media during a performance. The final events will include real-time manipulation of audio and video through performer interaction as well as collaboration between musicians, dancers, and visual artists.”

Mobley holds a D.M.A. from the University of Illinois, a M.M. from the University of South Florida, and a B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin.

In addition to his teaching responsibilities, he is in charge of the Electronic Music Studio and chair of the Composer in Residence Committee that brings a nationally recognized composer to the ULM campus each year.

As composer, conductor, performer, and advocate of new music, Mobley has been part of numerous premieres around the country.

He has been featured as a performer and/or composer at contemporary music festivals including BONK in Tampa, Fla,; FunNewMusic in Champaign, Ill.; the Electro-Acoustic Juke Joint Festival in Cleveland, Miss.; and the SEAMUS National Convention in San Jose, Calif.

Mobley’s recent awards include the ASCAP Plus award of 2010 and 2011. He is the treasurer for the state chapter of the National Composer’s Association, USA (NACUSA).

He is also a member of the Louisiana Composers’ Consortium (LCC), the Southeastern Composers’ League (SCL), the Society for Electro-Acoustic Music (SEAMUS), and the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP).