Jerome William Rosen, a composer, musician and professor who founded the UC Davis music department, died June 20. He was 89 and had Alzheimer's disease, his family said.
Hired in 1952 as the university's first official music instructor, Mr. Rosen served as chairman when the department was created in 1958. He recruited faculty, began a chamber music program and organized public concerts. Besides conducting the ROTC, concert and Cal Aggie marching bands, he ordered new uniforms to replace hand-me-downs from UC Berkeley.
He took the first steps to create a major for undergraduate students and helped write the graduate degree curricula. He encouraged innovative music and was the first director of the department's Electronic Music Studio. He helped design the Music Building and was involved in planning for the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts.
Mr. Rosen retired in 1988 but remained active in music at UC Davis for two more decades. He laid the foundation for an acclaimed music school that today counts 13 full-time faculty members, 150 majors and more than 100 annual public performances including the Thursday Noon Concerts, which he began with two colleagues in 1954.
"We would not be the department that we have become one of the best in the country without his vision and his confidence," music chairman Christopher Reynolds said. "He established a culture that respects risk-taking and innovation."
Mr. Rosen was a noted composer of about 60 works of solo and chamber music, in addition to vocal pieces and works of symphonic scope. He wrote two operas, "Calisto and Melibea" and "Emperor Norton of the USA."
In 1984, for the 75th anniversary of UC Davis, he composed "University Fanfare" which continues to be played at the start of each commencement ceremony.
A clarinetist and saxophonist, he appeared in many regional recitals and new music programs. He performed with the Sacramento Symphony Orchestra and the UC Davis Symphony Orchestra.
Mr. Rosen was born in Boston in 1921 and moved with his family to Pittsburgh. He served in the Army in California during World War II and married Sylvia Terrell in 1944.
He earned a bachelor's degree in music in 1947 and a master's degree in music composition in 1949 at UC Berkeley. He studied in France and took lessons from clarinet virtuoso Ulysse Delécluse in 1949-50 as recipient of the George Ladd Prix de Paris.
He taught at UC Berkeley for a year before leaving to build a music program at UC Davis from scratch.
"It was quite an experience, because nothing much was here," his wife said. "But he had some actual students his first year. He really enjoyed working with students."