Dr. Alfred & D. Suzi Osher School of Music

Ronald Cole

Professor Emeritus
Ronald Cole

Office Location




Academic Degrees

  • Ph.D. Indiana University, 1975, Musicology, Piano, Choral Conducting
  • M.A. Eastman School of Music of the University of Rochester, 1963, Musicology, Piano
  • B.A. Bowdoin College, 1961, Music


Dr. Cole has been a member of the Music Faculty at the University of Southern Maine and its predecessor institutions since 1963. He served as Chair of the Department of Music from 1977-1983, 1988-1994, 1996-2001, and as Acting Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences in 1990.  Since his retirement as a full-time faculty member in 2001, he has taught several courses on a part-time basis.  He also serves on the board of the “Friends of Music”.

At various times, he taught all the music history courses, applied piano, theory, form and analysis, and interdisciplinary courses combining art, theater, and music.  He was also active as a choral conductor.

He actively participated on a wide range of campus committees and task forces, including the Teacher Education Council, the Faculty Professional Development Committee, and the Faculty Senate. He chaired the Commission on the Fine and Performing Arts, whose report has helped shape the direction of the arts at USM and their relationship to the community since 1990.  He was directly involved with the transition from music department to School of Music and with the development of the graduate program.  

Dr. Cole has taken an active role in the regional arts community, having regularly served on various boards and advisory committees of organizations, including: the Portland Arts and Cultural Alliance, the Maine Arts Commission, the Portland Concert Association, the Portland Symphony Orchestra, the Saco River Festival Association, the Schoolhouse Arts Center, and the Maine Music Teachers Association. For a number of years he wrote program notes for what is now “PCA Great Performances,”

He has also served as adjudicator for many competitions and festivals and served as host chairman for the Maine All-State Music Festival and the Quad State Convention of the Music Teachers National Conference

Professionally, he has been active as an accompanist, duo pianist, and chamber music performer in numerous performances both on campus and off. Highlights have been recitals with John Boden, Bruce Fithian, Thomas Parchman and Neil Boyer, as well as performances with the Portland Symphony Orchestra, The Portland String Quartet, and the University’s orchestra and concert band.  He currently serves as organist at the Highland Lake Congregational Church.