"I earned undergraduate and graduate degrees at the Eastman School of Music. A violinist and music educator, my principal interest as a graduate student focused on the music of Black Americans that yielded a PhD dissertation entitled, The Aesthetics of the Music of Black Americans: A Critical Analysis of the Writings of Selected Black Scholars with Implications for Black Studies in Music. I teach every year and alternate courses in the History of Jazz and The Music of Black Americans and lecture to diverse audiences, frequently, on subjects from both. My work attempts to synthesize the multidisciplinary juxtaposition of musical, historical, sociological, literary and linguistic elements that shape the lives and music of continental North American musicians of African descent. In so doing I seek to better understand the effects of these elements on American music specifically and on American culture generally. My interests are eclectic and span a gamut from 18th 19th and 20th century concert music, music of the Black church, folk music, and music of early to mid- 20th century popular culture.
"I am associated with the Center for Black Music Research Columbia College Chicago, an archive and study center for the music of Black Americans; and the Gateways Music Festival, a biennial event that attracts over 100 classical musicians of African descent to Rochester for a week of chamber music, orchestral, and solo music making. These include members of major symphony orchestras, college and university music faculty members and advanced students.
"My career at the University has been taken up largely with administrative duties as a senior University officer. Currently Vice President, Senior Advisor to the President and University Dean, I advise the President on a host of University matters and represent his office among internal constituencies as well as alumni, civic and local community constituencies. I am the principal interface between the president and students of schools across the University. In addition to my administrative and teaching responsibilities, I am an academic advisor to freshmen and sophomores and advise several student organizations. In October 2014, the University’s Board of Trustees honored me by naming the recently established Intercultural Center, the Paul J. Burgett Intercultural Center.
"Earlier professional appointments include: University of Rochester Vice President, General Secretary & Senior Advisor to the President, Vice President and University Dean of Students; Dean of Students at the Eastman School of Music; Assistant Professor of Music at Nazareth College of Rochester; Executive Director of the Hochstein Memorial Music School; and music teacher in the Greece Central School District.
"My community service activities over several decades have included: Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Strong Museum, Chairman of the City of Rochester’s Zoning Board of Appeals. In addition, I have served on the boards of directors of the Genesee Country Village and Museum, the Hillside Family of Agencies, the Arts and Cultural Council of Rochester, the YMCA of Greater Rochester, the United Way, the Urban League, the Hochstein Memorial Music School, Young Audiences Inc., Mt. Hope Family Center Advisory Board, Rochester Rotary Club, and the Rochester Fringe Festival. I currently serve on the boards of the Center for Black Music Research at Columbia College Chicago and the International Museum of Photography: The George Eastman House."