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About the Department of Music

Experimentation is the DNA of UC San Diego's Department of Music.

Faculty and students engage with the most vital ideas and newest technologies in order to push the boundaries of musical creation and performance, and to investigate music in the context of our time.

UC San Diego's Department of Music was founded by Will Ogdon and Robert Erickson in 1966. These two innovative composers shared a belief that the most effective educational environment brings together the finest faculty with gifted students in a challenging and supportive environment that encourages each student to find her or his own path.

Today, the Department of Music offers graduate degree programs in Composition, Computer Music, Integrative Studies, and Contemporary Performance, and undergraduate degrees in Interdisciplinary Computing and the Arts, Music Humanities, and Music, with an emphasis in composition, literature, performance, technology, or jazz.

The Department presents close to 200 events per year in our acoustically-spectacular Conrad Prebys Concert Hall, our technologically-advanced Experimental Theater, and our intimate Recital Hall. It also maintains state-of-the-art recording and research facilities equipped with the latest audio and computer technology.

Resident faculty and student ensembles include: Red Fish Blue Fish (percussion); Palimpsest and Renga (new and experimental music); Kallisti (voice and chamber opera), and Jazz, Wind, Chamber, Indian, and Gospel music ensembles.

The Department’s faculty have won many distinguished awards, including: Pulitzer, Guggenheim, MacArthur, and Grawemeyer awards, and awards from the American Musicological Society (Colin Slim), the Society for Ethnomusicology (Alan P. Merriam), and ASCAP (Béla Bartók and Deems Taylor).

Internationally renowned artists and scholars frequently visit UC San Diego for residencies to present and record new music, to provide master classes, and to share and refine new research. These guests have included: the Arditti Quartet, Muhal Richard Abrams, Robert Ashley, Richard Barrett, Han Bennink, Lisa Bielawa, John Cage, Steve Coleman, Chaya Czernowin, Brian Ferneyhough, Paul Dresher, Steven Feld, Morton Feldman, Vinko Globokar, Lydia Goehr, Fritz Hauser, Gerry Hemingway, Toshio Hosokawa, Vijay Iyer, Helmut Lachenmann, David Lang, Anne LeBaron, Joelle Leandre, George Lewis, Lisa Lim, Alvin Lucier, Miya Masaoka, Myra Melford, Nichole Mitchell, Roscoe Mitchell, Ingrid Monson, Pauline Oliveros, Hilda Paredes, Percussion Group Cincinnati, Jean-Claude Risset, Sam Rivers, Kaija Saariaho, Jaap Schroeder, Kay Kaufman Shelemay, Wadada Leo Smith, Toru Takemitsu, John Tchicai, Chou Wen-Chung, Iannis Xenikas, and Thomas Young, among others.

Graduates from UC San Diego’s Department of Music have been appointed to academic positions at Oxford, Stanford, Cornell, UCLA, UCI, UCSC, New York University, American University, and other prestigious institutions in the United States, and at institutions in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Finland, Hong Kong, Korea, Iceland, Ireland, Japan, Norway, Mexico, Singapore, Spain, Taiwan and the UK. Computer music students have garnered research positions with Bose Corporation, Google and Qualcomm. And composers and performers have obtained artistic positions and premieres with the International Contemporary Ensemble, the New York Philharmonic, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, London's Philharmonia Orchestra, Iceland Symphony Orchestra, Ensemble Intercontemporain, Bang on a Can, San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, CAPUT Ensemble, Oslo Philharmonic, Either/Or Ensemble, and at festivals including Lucerne, Marlboro, Darmstadt, and Tectonics.