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Fostering the creative, intelligent and passionate performance of contemporary music is the mission of the Performance program (M.A. and D.M.A degrees) of the UC San Diego Department of Music.

We are a "community of musicians," once stated Robert Erickson, one of the department's founders. Performers act and interact in a communal environment by means of collaboration with faculty and student composers, research in the areas of new performance modalities, music technology, and improvisation, among many other pursuits. In every case, the performance of contemporary music is viewed as a creative act, which balances expertise and exploration. Graduate performance students pursue either a Master of Arts or a Doctor of Musical Arts in Contemporary Music Performance. The course of study for both programs involves the completion of required graduate seminars and intensive study with a mentor faculty member. Students are encouraged to adopt a vigorous, exploratory orientation in their private study. Final degree requirements include a recital, or in the case of the D.M.A., two recitals and a presentation of personal performance research.

The work of graduate performance students forms an integral component of a rich musical environment, which produces an astonishing quantity and variety of performances. Students may perform in collaborative performances with fellow students and faculty. Ensembles include groups specializing in the interpretation of unconventionally notated scores, the percussion group red fish blue fish, Chamber Opera, and other ensembles. The Performer's Forum, a student-initiated concert series, provides an opportunity for students to present a wide variety of repertoire which may include improvised music, world music, and music with technology. A strong collaborative spirit among the curricular areas of the department (Performance, Composition, Music Technology and Integrative Studies) also yields many new projects each year. Works by graduate student composers are performed on the annual Spring Festival and other concert series. The sense of musical community engendered by diverse interactions permeates the atmosphere and makes the Department of Music at UC San Diego a uniquely rewarding place to create the newest music.