In the Department of Music at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, we take pride in our role as a vibrant arts program within the liberal arts university. We teach, create, and impart through performance and study the richness and breadth of musical creation and scholarship. A community of undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, and staff, we are dedicated to fostering an inclusive and welcoming environment. Our program builds on core commitments: to developing critical thinking around music and its role in society, to understanding music’s details and structures, and to shaping through practice, performance, and creation the skills necessary for communicating music’s nuance, power, and variety. With these goals in mind, we offer a wide range of classes, lessons, ensembles, lectures, workshops, and concerts that serve students, the campus, Chapel Hill, the state of North Carolina, and the world widely.
We grant two undergraduate degrees in Music, the B.A. and B.M., and two graduate degrees, the M.A. and Ph.D. in Musicology. Our comprehensive curriculum blends individual instruction with academic study for about 200 undergraduate majors. Those interested in pursuing pre-professional instruction have the opportunity to study with well-known performers in a rigorous performance/academic program. At the same time, our courses and ensembles enroll students from across the entire university, including some 250 minors, with a spectrum of offerings in classical, jazz, bluegrass, musical theater, world music, rock, country, hip-hop, and music technology. We welcome and encourage non-majors to audition and perform in our department ensembles. Our preeminent Ph.D. program provides graduate students with the opportunity to work closely with distinguished and world-renowned scholars in musicology, theory, and ethnomusicology. The magnificent collection of the Music Library is an important university resource for all.
Our department resides in three buildings: Kenan Music Building, Hill Hall, and Person Hall. In our performance venues – the recently renovated James and Susan Moeser Auditorium, Person Recital Hall, and Kenan Rehearsal Hall – as well as in Memorial Hall, Gerrard Hall, and Historic Playmakers, we present more than 200 public concerts each year covering a wide range of musical genres in performances by faculty, guest performers, and students. Please consult our online calendar on this website for a list of upcoming events open to the public.
I heartily invite you to make use of our wide-ranging offerings. Come, join us! I look forward to seeing you at our events.
2019-2020: A Playback
UNC Department of Music Ensembles
DWW: William Henry Curry, conductor and composer
Later this month, the UNC Symphony Orchestra, directed and conducted by Tonu Kalam, will be premiering a new work, titled Dark Testament, by conductor and composer, William Henry Curry. Curry is the current conductor and music director of the Durham Symphony Orchestra and has been the resident conductor for the North Carolina Symphony, New Orleans Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony, and has guest conducted with major opera houses, ballet companies, and symphony orchestras across the country and globe.
Curry’s new piece, Dark Testament, pays tribute to three African American, trailblazing women: Mahalia Jackson, Pauli Murray, and Harriet Tubman. UNC Symphony Orchestra director Tonu Kalam, along with support from Arts Everywhere, commissioned Curry to write a piece for the group last summer. Kalam chose to commission the piece from Curry because of their longstanding friendship and his admiration of Curry’s musicianship, and said, “He has so much to offer as a musician and as a human being.” … Read the interview with William Henry Curry
Statement in Solidarity with Carolina’s Asian and Asian American Communities
Dear Students and Faculty and Staff Colleagues,
The Department of Music at UNC-Chapel Hill stands in solidarity with Asian and Asian American students, faculty, and staff across campus and most especially in our own music community. The ongoing rise of racist violence toward Asians and Asian Americans across the country is deeply saddening and alarming. Last night’s shooting sprees in Atlanta is yet another act of racist, xenophobic violence targeting members of our community, our friends, and our families. Such acts and worldviews are antithetical to who we are as artists and scholars.
Music students and faculty who feel threatened or unsafe are encouraged to please contact a faculty and staff who you feel is an ally. Counseling and Psychological Services, Employee Assistance Program, and UNC Asian American Center are also available for support. The Department of Music supports and values who you are, always.
Professor and Chair, Department of Music
The perfect soundtrack to life during quarantine
by Audrey Ladele
The UNC Department of Music wouldn’t be what it is today without its incredibly talented students. We are excited once again to highlight one of these great students, Benjamin Carter. He recently released an album he created and recorded by himself entitled, Coming Out of It, an homage to self-healing and spiritual realization that he confronted during recent months of the pandemic.
Ben is a junior at UNC majoring in psychology and minoring in neuroscience and music. He usually takes voice and cello lessons, but due to COVID, is refraining from taking voice lessons this semester. His cello instructor, Professor Wissick, remarked, “He is a good cellist but also plays piano and is a singer too. I appreciate his quiet depth, and he works carefully and methodically.”
DWW: ATLAS: Telling their stories
March 17, 2021
by Assistant Professor Marc Callahan, director of UNC Opera
We have seen images of the border and of the detention facilities holding migrant children. We have heard their testimony and witnessed their pain. Now, it is time that we act.
UNC Opera seeks to tell the story of one family’s journey from El Salvador to the U.S.-Mexico border with our upcoming production of Meredith Monk’s ATLAS. The following is a glimpse into our journey with this story, the music, and the lessons we’ve learned along the way. The process has been one of collaboration, understanding, heartache, and hope. We have engaged with primary and secondary sources to tell this tale as responsibly as possible. … Read more about ATLAS