Michael P. Hammond, the new chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts and a strong proponent of arts education, was found dead Jan. 29 at the house where he was living in Washington. He was 69. Authorities said he appeared to have died of natural causes.
Mr. Hammond, a composer, conductor, arts educator, and expert in the neuroscience of music, had been on the job at the arts agency for one week. He was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on Dec. 20 with no opposition. At the time of his confirmation, he made a statement about his hope to enrich the lives of young people with the arts.
A former Rhodes Scholar, Mr. Hammond had served as the dean of Rice University's Shepard School of Music, a post he held for 15 years. He was the founding dean of music for the new arts campus of the State University of New York at Purchase and later served as the college's president.
Vol. 21, Issue 21, Page 4