Princeton’s Department of Music is at the epicenter of a musical culture that is broad and deep, reaching from edge to edge of the campus, from the classroom to the concert hall, and from faculty-led groups to those run exclusively by students.
There are several levels of involvement that students can have with the music department: Graduate students can earn a PhD in one of the two main areas of our Graduate program – composition or musicology – and within those rubrics is the opportunity to focus on theory or ethnomusicology. Undergraduate students can major in music with an emphasis on writing music or writing about music. They can earn a certificate in the Program in Musical Performance as a major in another department or as a music major. Those who do not plan to pursue a degree or certificate in music are of course welcome to take courses with world-renowned composers and music historians, take instrumental or voice lessons in the private studios of top professionals, and audition to perform with our six jazz groups, three choruses, two orchestras, a wind ensemble, an opera theater, a musical comedy troupe, at least a dozen chamber music ensembles, a laptop orchestra, and almost twenty small a cappella singing groups.
In addition, the campus offers professional series presented by four resident ensembles (Brentano Quartet, Princeton Sound Kitchen, Richardson Chamber Players, and the Jazz Faculty Ensemble) along with two other series of visiting solo and chamber music artists (Princeton University Concerts and Music at McCarter). There is also a student-run radio station (WPRB) that programs many styles of music and broadcasts Princeton student performances.
An important feature hard to discern from a list of courses and ensembles is the Music Department’s emphasis on collaboration involving not only individuals and groups within the department (graduate composers composing for the undergraduate orchestra, graduate musicologists making a performance edition for an undergraduate opera production) as well as other departments. Frequent interdisciplinary collaborators with the music department include students and faculty from Computer Science, Architecture and of course the programs in Theater, Dance, Visual Art and Creative Writing all housed within the Lewis Center for the Creative and Performing Arts.