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About Us

Department of Music

The Department of Music at Cornell provides opportunities for the study and performance of music under the guidance of a distinguished faculty, as part of an education at a great university. Students study music for many reasons. Some students may devote considerable time and energy to it, either through enrolling in the major or by taking a series of elective courses. Others find the study of music a natural way to pursue an interest without necessarily committing a large amount of time.

History

Cornell has flourished as a center for research in music since 1930, when it appointed Otto Kinkeldey to the first chair of musicology in an American university. In addition to the traditional historical and theoretical subjects, current faculty research includes such fields as performance practice in eighteenth-century instrumental music, popular music in Southeast Asia, and the operas of Verdi.

Research and Scholarship

In addition to the traditional historical and theoretical subjects, current faculty research includes such fields as performance practice in eighteenth-century instrumental music, popular music in Southeast Asia, and the operas of Verdi. The field of music composition, another Cornell strength, provides extensive instruction for doctoral students and undergraduates, including the state-of-the-art Cornell Electroacoustic Music Center. Cornell’s excellent Music Library has outstanding research and reference resources-including more than 175,000 recordings, scores, books, and periodicals-and good listening and video facilities.

Academics

The Department of Music emphasizes intimate and flexible programs. Our special distinction is a dedication to excellence in the study of music that reflects a concern for the constant interaction of scholarship, performance, and composition by faculty members and students alike. As of 2010-2011, we have twenty full-time and seven part-time faculty members and two active emeritus professors, including internationally known performers, composers, and scholars and a dozen teaching assistants. Each year, twenty-five to thirty graduate students are in residence, along with twenty or so undergraduates majoring in music. Most classes are small, and student advising is personal and extensive.

Faculty and Alumni

Cornell has a long history of distinguished faculty from musicologist Donald Grout to composer Karel Husa and performance practice pioneer and conductor John Hsu. Our graduate alumni hold prestigious positions around the world.