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Student vocalist; closeup of student hands on violin; student in the music library

Music

Smith’s Music Department is a lively center of musical activity with classroom courses that integrate the study of global musical genres and performance practices with critical questioning of music's complex role in society. Across offerings in composition, classical music, world music, music theory and popular music, courses emphasize interdisciplinary approaches to musical knowledge, with faculty working at the intersections of American studies, anthropology, dance studies, gender studies, and political theory. 

Smith faculty offer performance courses in voice and a wide variety of instruments, and members of the department direct performance ensembles. The department boasts extraordinary practice facilities and a remarkable number of notable graduates who have led distinguished musical careers in performance, scholarship and the practical world of music.

Department Updates

Concerts and Events

Check out our Performance Calendar for upcoming events and concerts.

Requirements & Courses

Goals for Majors in Music

  • Be able to read and to think conceptually and critically about a musical performance, a musical composition or score, a theoretical analysis, an historical inquiry, a cultural study, a musical institution.
  • Have an understanding of the nature of an array of musical practices and of the nature of the various relationships among performance, improvisation, composition, and written and oral reflection about music.
  • Have a vocabulary of specific pieces or repertories of music, a knowledge of the traditions from which they derive, and the ability to form analytical statements about them.
  • Be able to do research in libraries, archives, private collection, oral histories, and online; to discriminate between serious and trivial sources of information; to cite sources with ethical appropriateness.
  • Have the ability to write cogently and coherently about musical matters: performances, compositions, essays, books and films.

Music Major

Requirements

Ten semester courses and four performance credits

  1. Basis: MUS 102, MUS 110 and MUS 202
  2. Six courses above the 100 level. At least one must be taken in three of the following areas:
    • History of western music
    • World music
      • MUS 101 may be included
    • American music
      • MUS 105 may be included
    • Music theory and analysis
    • Composition and digital music
  3. MUS 325 taken in the senior year
  4. Four credits in performance.
    1. Two semesters of lessons on an instrument or in voice, or
    2. Two semesters of conducting, or
    3. Four semesters of participation in an ensemble, which may be the same ensemble over four semesters or may consist of participation in multiple ensembles.
  • Substitute courses may be counted toward the major on a case-by-case basis, with special department approval.
  • With the approval of the department, students may substitute one 4-credit Special Studies, MUS 400, for one of the six additional classroom courses in the major.
  • The S/U grading option is not allowed for courses counting towards the major, with the exception of ensembles that are mandatory S/U, applied to the performance requirement.
  • Students may be exempted from courses required for the basis of the major as a result of Advanced Placement exams or departmental placement tests. Such exemption does not affect the number of courses required for the major.

Music Major with Focus in Performance

Majors who have demonstrated an exceptional commitment to performance studies may, before March of their junior year, audition before a department committee for admission to the focus in performance, which consists of enrollment in MUS 940Y and the preparation of a full recital during the senior year.

Preparation for Graduate Study in Music

Students who are contemplating graduate work in any branch of music should consult an appropriate member of the department for advice in selecting suitable elective courses. Students interested in graduate work in music are urged to acquire some knowledge of German, French or Italian (for studies in the Western tradition) or of a relevant foreign language (for studies beyond the Western tradition).

Honors

Requirements
  1. GPA calculated through the end of the junior year
    1. 3.5 in courses in music through the end of the junior year
    2. 3.3 in courses outside music
  2. Fulfill the requirements of the major
  3. Thesis or composition: MUS 430D or MUS 431 (8 credits)
    1. Thesis in history or cultural studies will normally be a research paper of approximately 50 pages.
    2. Thesis in composition will normally be a work of substantial duration and scope in any genre.
  4. Oral examination on the subject of the thesis.

The final grade (highest honors, high honors, honors, pass) will be calculated as follows: thesis (60 percent); grades in music (20 percent); performance on the oral examination (20 percent).

Music Minor

Requirements

Six semester courses

  1. Basis: MUS 102, MUS 110 and MUS 202
  2. Three additional courses, at least two above the 100 level (excluding MUS 100fm
    ).
  • Students may be exempted from courses required for the basis of the minor as a result of Advanced Placement exams or departmental placement tests. Such exemption does not affect the number of courses required for the minor.
  • The S/U grading option is not allowed for courses counting toward the minor.

Course Information

Auditions are held for individual lessons, MUS 914Y, MUS 924Y, MUS 930Y and MUS 940Yand for certain ensembles during the fall orientation period and the first days of each semester. Students are accepted on the basis of musicianship, competence and potential. With the exception of voice, some prior experience and the ability to read music is assumed. Should there be no Smith College faculty teaching a particular instrument, every effort is made to provide students with a qualified instructor.

Individual voice and instrument performance courses consist of weekly private lessons, with specific expectations determined by each instructor. Lessons require a yearlong commitment and are normally taken in addition to a regular course load. Two such courses may only be taken concurrently with departmental approval. (This restriction does not apply to enrollment in MUS 901 or MUS 903, or to participation in large ensembles for credit.)

No more than 24 credits in performance, including participation in various large ensembles, may be counted toward the degree. All large ensembles are graded S/U only. For more detailed information on instrumental and voice lessons and a list of current faculty, visit the Music Department website.

All performance students are encouraged to study music in the classroom. Non-majors and non-minors should talk with their instructors about which courses best complement their interests.

All students are encouraged to join a choral ensemble. The dynamic Smith College Glee Club performs annually at Commencement and Family Weekends, Montage, Autumn Serenade, Christmas Vespers and at various college events including Opening Convocation, Otelia Cromwell Day and Rally Day. The Glee Club selects music from a diverse repertoire, including major works for treble voices, jazz, contemporary and folk music of the U.S. and from international traditions. Every spring, glee clubs from such universities as Harvard, Rutgers, Cornell, Michigan and Virginia come to campus to collaborate on a major work. Recent performances have included the Mozart Requiem, Orff’s Carmina Burana and Brahms’ Ein Deutsches Requiem. Auditions for Glee Club are normally held during orientation and the first two weeks of classes in both semesters.

Members of the Glee Club are eligible to audition for the highly selective Smith College Chamber Singers. The internationally known Chamber Singers have performed widely since 1951. Touring every two years, the program provides financial assistance enabling all members to tour regardless of financial need. Auditions for Chamber Singers are held after Glee Club auditions have concluded.

Students who would like to try singing in a group setting for the first time should schedule an interview with the instructor of MUS 951
, a course that introduces students to the skills and concepts of group singing.

Courses

MUS 100fm Colloquium: Topics in Music-Fundamentals of Music (4 Credits)

Topics of MUS 100 especially designed for those with no previous background in music. They emphasize class discussion and written work, which consists of either music or critical prose as appropriate to the topic. Open to all students, but particularly recommended for first-year students and sophomores. An introduction to music notation and to principles of musical organization, including scales, keys, rhythm and meter. Limited to beginners and those who did not place into MUS 110. Enrollment limited to 20. {A}

Fall, Spring, Variable

MUS 101 World Music (4 Credits)

Music may not be a "universal language," but it is a universal phenomenon; every culture has something that we recognize as music. This course introduces you to a number of musical systems traditional, classical and popular--from around the world and uses case studies to explore the complex relationships between music and culture. By engaging with music analytically, as musicologists (paying attention to the sounds you hear) and ethnographically, as anthropologists (paying attention to the cultural context), you learn basic principles that enhance your understanding of music globally speaking. No prerequisites. {A}{S}

Fall, Spring, Alternate Years

MUS 102 Making Music History (4 Credits)

This class is an introduction to music history that combines a close study of music from the Western classical tradition with research methodology and an orientation to the discipline of musicology. Organized by genres and concepts, the class looks at classical music as both a repertoire and an object of cultural study. In addition to covering a range of works, we will address their production, performance and reception through a study of their social and political context, and raise questions of power, representation and patronage. We will also examine our own ideas about the role of the artist, what it means to be a musician and the social future of this music. Students will have the chance to do original research on a piece or topic of their choice and will get a foundation in the College’s scholarly resources, especially the holdings at Josten Library and Special Collections. {A}{H}

Fall

MUS 105 Roll Over Beethoven: A History of Rock (4 Credits)

This course provides a critical survey of rock music, tracing the music’s development from blues and blackface minstrelsy to heavy metal, grunge, and techno. Emphasis throughout is placed upon understanding musical developments in the context of American race and gender relations and the politics of youth cultures in the U.S. Topics to be covered include: Elvis Presley and American race relations; Jimi Hendrix and the blues; girl groups; the rise of arena rock; and the significance of the DJ in hip hop. Enrollment limited to 45. {A}{H}

Fall, Spring, Alternate Years

MUS 110 Analysis and Repertory I (4 Credits)

An introduction to formal analysis and tonal harmony and a study of pieces in the standard repertory. Regular exercises in harmony. Prerequisites: ability to read standard notation in treble and bass clefs, including key signatures and time signatures and the ability to name intervals. (A placement test is given before the fall semester for incoming students.) One 50-minute ear training section required per week, in addition to classroom meetings. Enrollment limited to 20. {A}

Fall

MUS 120 Music Decoded (2 Credits)

The primary goal of this course is to deepen students’ understanding of the music they like, while forging connections to music that is unfamiliar to them, making them a more well-informed music consumer. Throughout the course, students hone active listening skills, helping them to identify technical components and to connect with the music on an emotional level. These skills help students describe more specifically what they hear, and decode increasingly complex music. Classes cover folk, popular, jazz, non-western classical and other styles. {A}

Spring

MUS 202 Thinking About Music (4 Credits)

This course explores different approaches to the study of music as a cultural phenomenon. The course considers basic questions, such as: Why is music so often at the center of one's most profound personal and social experiences? Why is music a fundamental means of connecting with one's lives, communities and the wider world? Through in-depth reading and in-class discussion, students study the institutions of music (concerts, recording studios) and the varied practices of music making (classical, popular, amateur, professional) in order to construct a picture of the musical worlds and to understand what they say about society. {A}{S}

Spring

MUS 203 Music as Memorial and Monument (4 Credits)

Music has long played an important role in both memorialization and monumentalization. In this class, we use music as a lens through which to consider the agendas and values behind public displays of memory, history, and political strength. We will study music written to commemorate victims of war, state violence, and illness, from requiems to 9/11 memorial works. We will also consider how composers, performers, and listeners have participated in monumentalizing historical or political occasions, from composer anniversary celebrations to national anthems. {A}{H}

Fall, Spring, Variable

MUS 205mp Colloquium: Topics in Popular Music-Metal and Punk: Rock History Out Loud (4 Credits)

Heavy metal and punk rock have arguably been the definitive rock-and-roll styles of the post-1970 rock era. In this course, we explore metal and punk as interrelated musical genres, following their history and development and examining a range of social and musical issues along the way. Of particular importance will be the following: How and when did metal and punk emerge? What defines the two genres musically? What defines them socially? Taken together, how do they represent the changing status of rock music as a cultural and commercial form since 1970? Course limited to 20 students. {A}{H}{S}

Fall, Spring, Variable

MUS 205pp Colloquium: Topics in Popular Music-Producing Popular Music: The American Music Industry (4 Credits)

During the past three decades, the music industry has undergone substantial, even radical changes. This class will focus on recent developments in the music industry, while reflecting on larger issues that have informed the making and selling of music. Among the primary questions we will consider are: how have new technologies affected the ways in which music is created, bought and sold? What relationship exists between "live" and "recorded" music in the way the music industry operates? How do legal definitions and struggles over intellectual property shape the practices of musicians and music corporations? What does it mean to work in the music industry, and to what extent should the creative labor of musicians be considered similar to or different from other types of labor? Enrollment limited to 20. {A}{S}

Fall, Spring, Variable

MUS 210 Analysis and Repertory II (4 Credits)

A continuation of MUS 110. One 50-minute musicianship section required per week, in addition to classroom meetings. Prerequisite: MUS 110 or equivalent. Enrollment limited to 18. {A}

Spring

MUS 217 Colloquium: Feminism and Music Theory (4 Credits)

In this course, students evaluate the assumptions and foundations of Western music theory, primarily under the critical guidance of feminist theory. Tonal theory is often a routine part of undergraduate music study. What are the goals and criteria of this kind of analysis? While critically examining Western music theory’s intellectual values, students develop approaches to analysis that are responsive, in a variety of ways, to queer, feminist and antiracist thought. Through readings and listening assignments, students consider various challenges to the fiction of objectivity in music analysis, including embodiment, subjecthood and identity, and the mediating force of language and concepts. Prerequisites: MUS 110. Enrollment limited to 18. (E) {A}

Fall, Spring, Variable

MUS 220pb Topics in World Music-The Power of Black Music (4 Credits)

The course focuses on the musics of Africa and the African diaspora through the lens of ethnomusicology. Concentrating on selected countries, including Benin, Brazil, Cuba, Nigeria, South Africa, and the United States, it examines the musical performance of gender, race, ethnicity, and nationality and the role of music in social and political movements. The course examines the global dimensions and resonances of Africanist musical aesthetics as enabled historically and sustained through ongoing transatlantic exchanges between Africa and the African diaspora. The course also explores the issues of representation and identity in iconic works like Black Is King & Lemonade by Beyoncé. Other topics include the adaptation of hip-hop in Africa and the phenomenal popularity of West African Afrobeats in the United States and globally. Workshops conducted by visiting professional musicians and discussions on the instructor's ethnographic research in West Africa, Brazil, Cuba, and the United States. Enrollment limited to 40. {A}{S}

Fall, Spring, Variable

MUS 222 World Music Theories (4 Credits)

Each musical tradition is best explained and understood by its own system of theory. This course introduces four musical traditions and their corresponding theories: Tuvan Throat Singing, Dagomba Dance Drumming, Javanese Gamelan and Hindustani classical music. Topics include theory fundamentals, listening methods, compositional approaches and aesthetics. Learning about these traditions will open doors to new modes of listening and to hearing familiar music in a brand new way. (E)

Fall, Spring, Variable

MUS 231 Colloquium: From Goat Songs To Flash Mobs: Music and Theater (4 Credits)

Music and theatre are both time-based arts that involve bodies in motion in front of an audience. Though they may be considered separate disciplines, the full extent of what they share often makes them wonderfully indistinguishable. This course probes the intersections of music and theatre through a survey of genres, works, artists, and practitioners. While material covered will include clearly relevant genres such as musicals and opera, the focus will be on more difficult to categorize topics such as performance art, immersive theatre, and experimental music, in an open-minded examination of what makes this alliance so compelling. Enrollment limited to 20. {A}

Fall, Spring, Variable

MUS 233 Intro to Composition (4 Credits)

Basic techniques of composition, including melody, simple two-part writing and instrumentation. Analysis of representative literature. No previous composition experience required. Prerequisite: MUS 110 or equivalent. {A}

Fall, Spring, Variable

MUS 235 Introduction to Audio Production (4 Credits)

A hands-on introduction to the basic concepts, equipment and software involved in modern music production. This course serves as an introduction to MIDI sequencing, Digital Audio Workstations, analog and digital audio, digital audio recording, mixing and basic studio techniques. Enrollment limited to 8. Instructor permission required. (E) {A}

Spring

MUS 241 Diction for Singers (2 Credits)

In this course, we will learn to use the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) as an efficient tool to approach accuracy in lyric diction. Choral and solo singers must frequently perform music in languages that they do not speak, and therefore often struggle to sing with accurate pronunciation. IPA is a set of orthographic characters, almost entirely based on the Roman alphabet, that standardizes phonetics across most major languages. Corequisite: MUS 952, MUS 953 or individual voice performance lessons. Enrollment limited to 20.

Fall, Spring, Variable

MUS 249/ REL 249 Colloquium: Islamic Popular Music (4 Credits)

Offered as MUS 249 and REL 249. Music is a complex issue in many Islamic societies. There are tensions between those who believe that music has no place in Islam and try to prohibit it, those for whom it is a central component of mystical devotion, and those who tolerate it, albeit within well-defined parameters. The debate intensifies in the case of popular music, a core part of the self-identification of young people everywhere. Despite this, there is an amazing variety of vibrant popular music throughout the Islamic world. This course explores the religious debates over music and the rich musical tradition (including religious music) in Islam. Enrollment limited to 35. {A}{H}

Fall, Spring, Variable

MUS 251 Divas, Queens and Spectacle: A History of Opera (4 Credits)

This course offers an introduction to opera from the 16th to the 21st centuries, with an emphasis on gender performance, virtuosity and the unique history of opera performance at Smith College. Earlier works include Monteverdi’s Orfeo, Handel’s Rodelinda, Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro and Verdi’s Aida, while more modern and contemporary operas include Strauss’s Salome and Kaija Saariaho’s L’Amour du Loin. {A}{H}

Fall, Spring, Alternate Years

MUS 258/ ANT 258 Performing Culture (4 Credits)

Offered as MUS 258 and ANT 258. This course analyzes cultural performances as sites for the expression and formation of social identity. Students study various performance genres such as rituals, festivals, parades, cultural shows, music, dance and theater. Topics include expressive culture as resistance; debates around authenticity and heritage; the performance of race, class and ethnic identities; the construction of national identity; and the effects of globalization on indigenous performances. Enrollment limited to 30. {A}{S}

Fall, Spring, Alternate Years

MUS 260 The Music of J.S. Bach (4 Credits)

This course is an introduction to the music, life, and legacy of the composer Johann Sebastian Bach, whose music inspired generations of composers and performers across genres. In addition to studying some of his works in depth and his biography, we will explore the cultural and historical context in which he worked, raising questions about performance, instruments, religious life, and patronage. We also look at his influence on music in the nineteenth century, the controversies around his St. John Passion in the twentieth, and his legacy in the twenty-first century. {A}{H}

Fall, Spring, Variable

MUS 262 Experimental Music (4 Credits)

What counts as music? Who decides? Can anyone make music? This course raises these and other questions by focusing on experimental music. The course explores the history and practice of experimental music, focusing on text, graphic and other forms of notation. The course also looks at the history of experimental music in performance and makes in-class performances of several key pieces. Through reading and practice, the course asks questions about musical authority, skill and even failure, and the role of institutions in shaping musical ideas. {A}{H}

Spring

MUS 321 Seminar: Songwriting (4 Credits)

This seminar is a practicum on songwriting. Through weekly creative assignments, in-class workshops and listening, students develop and strengthen their skills as musicians, performers and lyricists. Students try several songwriting and compositional techniques, and create and finalize work to be presented in a final concert. Students should have a basic working knowledge of music notation and theory, including harmonic analysis. Prerequisites: MUS 110 or equivalent. Enrollment limited to 12. Juniors and seniors only. Instructor permission required. {A}

Fall, Spring, Variable

MUS 325 Seminar: Writing About Music (4 Credits)

This course considers various kinds of writing--from daily journalism and popular criticism to academic monographs and scholarly essays--that concern the broad history of music. Via regular writing assignments and group discussions of substance and style, students have opportunities to improve the mechanics, tone and range of their written prose. Required of senior majors; open to others with instructor permission. Enrollment limited to 12. Juniors and seniors only. Instructor permission required. {A}

Spring

MUS 330 Seminar: Music and Democracy (4 Credits)

How have social justice movements used music to mobilize people to fight for equality and rights? How have anti-democratic movements used music for reactionary ends? What is the role of music in sustaining—or eroding—democracies? This class examines a range of U.S. and global case studies, including Black Lives Matter, the abortion wars, global protest movements, and music and urban redevelopment. Through the study of national anthems, resistance songs like “Fight the Power,” and by examining the sounds of protest itself, students practice critical listening and reflect on how sound and music can press for social change--for better or worse. Students look at the role of music in democratic processes, the importance of music for belonging and citizenship, and whether and how music itself is significant to political participation. Prerequisites: MUS 102 or 202. Enrollment limited to 12. Juniors and seniors only. Instructor permission required. {A}

Fall, Spring, Variable

MUS 341 Seminar in Composition (4 Credits)

Prerequisite: a course in composition. May be repeated for credit. Enrollment limited to 12. Juniors and seniors only. Instructor permission required. {A}

Spring

MUS 345 Intro to Electro-Acoustic Music (4 Credits)

Introduction to musique concrète, analog synthesis, digital synthesis and sampling through practical work, assigned reading and listening. Enrollment limited to 8. Instructor permission required. {A}

Fall

MUS 400 Special Studies (1-4 Credits)

In the history of Western music, world music, American music, composition and digital music, or music theory and analysis. For juniors and seniors, by permission of the department.

Fall, Spring

MUS 430D Honors Project (4 Credits)

Fall, Spring, Annually

MUS 431 Honors Project (8 Credits)

Fall

MUS 901 Chamber Music Ensembles (1 Credit)

Exploration and coaching of varied repertory for duos and small ensembles. May be repeated for credit. Open to instrumental students. Instructor permission required. {A}

Fall, Spring

MUS 903 Conducting (2 Credits)

Introduction to the art of conducting. This course examines philosophical and practical aspects of the modern conductor’s role. Discussions include a musical gestural vocabulary, baton technique and score study/internalization of the printed page. May be repeated for credit. Prior music performance experience and study of Western music theory is highly recommended. Instructor permission required. {A}

Fall, Spring, Alternate Years

MUS 906 Class Piano (2 Credits)

This course is an introduction to basic keyboard skills for beginner pianists. Students develop technique and music-reading skills through solo repertoire and ensemble playing. Applied music theory such as major and minor scales, keyboard harmony and improvisation is also explored. Repeatable for credit. Prerequisite: MUS 100. Enrollment limited to 8. Instructor permission required.

Fall, Spring, Variable

MUS 914Y First Year Performance (2 Credits)

This is a full-year course. Credits: 4, at the completion of two semesters. Prerequisite: MUS 100 or equivalent. Department application required. {A}

Fall, Spring, Annually

MUS 924Y Second Year Performance (2 Credits)

This is a full-year course. Credits: 4, at the completion of two semesters. Prerequisite: MUS 914Y. Department application required. {A}

Fall, Spring, Annually

MUS 930Y Advance Performance (2 Credits)

This is a full-year course. Credits: 4, at the completion of two semesters. Prerequisite: MUS 924Y. Department application required. {A}

Fall, Spring, Annually

MUS 940Y Emphasis in Performance (4 Credits)

Reserved for seniors who have been approved for the Music Major with an Emphasis in Performance. No early registration. Credits: 8, at the completion of two semesters. Audition and department approval required. {A}

Fall, Spring, Annually

MUS 951 Introduction to Singing (1 Credit)

This class is designed for students with little to no musical experience. In this course, students develop a sustainable singing technique, expand their range and learn the basics of reading sheet music. Repertoire is selected based on student abilities and interests and has in the past included vocal jazz, classical choral pieces and folksongs. Interested students should email the instructor with a description of your musical interests and experience (if any). May be repeated once for credit. S/U only. Instructor permission required. {A}

Fall, Spring

MUS 952 Smith College Glee Club (1 Credit)

Formed in 1885, the Smith College Glee Club performs annually at Commencement and Christmas Vespers, on Family Weekend, for Autumn Serenade and at college events including Opening Convocation and Rally Day. The Glee Club selects music from a diverse repertoire, including major works for treble voices, jazz, contemporary, folk music of the U.S. and from international traditions. Guest choirs from such universities as Harvard, Rutgers, Cornell, Michigan and Virginia regularly come to campus to collaborate on a major work. Auditions for Glee Club are normally held during orientation and in the first two weeks of classes in both semesters. S/U only. Instructor permission required. {A}

Fall, Spring

MUS 953 Smith College Chamber Singers (1 Credit)

Members of the Glee Club are eligible to audition for the highly selective Smith College Chamber Singers. The internationally known Chamber Singers have performed throughout the world since 1951. Touring normally every two years, the program provides financial assistance enabling all members to travel regardless of financial need. Auditions for Chamber Singers are held during orientation, in the first two weeks of classes in the fall semester and, occasionally, before the spring semester. S/U only. Instructor permission required. {A}

Fall, Spring

MUS 954 Smith College Orchestra (1 Credit)

A symphony orchestra open to Smith and Five College students. The orchestra gives at least one concert each semester and performs at annual events such as Family Weekend and Christmas vespers. S/U only. Instructor permission required. {A}

Fall, Spring

MUS 955 Smith College Javanese Gamelan Ensemble (1 Credit)

One concert per semester. Open (subject to space) to Smith and Five College students, faculty and staff. No prior experience necessary. S/U only. Instructor permission required. {A}

Fall, Spring

MUS 956 Smith College Jazz Ensemble (1 Credit)

The jazz ensemble performs at least one concert per semester. Favoring traditional big band instrumentation and performing a variety of jazz styles, the ensemble is open to Smith and Five College students, faculty and staff (space permitting) with all levels of music training. Prior jazz experience is recommended but not required. S/U only. Instructor permission required. {A}

Fall, Spring

MUS 957 Smith College Wind Ensemble (1 Credit)

At least one concert per semester. Open to Smith and Five College students, faculty and staff with prior instrumental experience. S/U only. Instructor permission required. {A}

Fall, Spring

MUS 958 Smith College Celtic Music Ensemble: The Wailing Banshees (1 Credit)

At least one concert per semester. Open to Smith and Five College students, faculty and staff. S/U only. Instructor permission required. {A}

Fall, Spring

MUS 959 Handbell Choir (1 Credit)

The choir performs at the Family Weekend Montage concert, the annual Advent Dinner for the Roman Catholic community, Christmas Vespers and the second semester Spring Ring. In addition, the choir occasionally performs in off-campus community concerts. S/U only. Instructor permission required. {A}

Fall, Spring

MUS 960 Chinese Music Ensemble (1 Credit)

This course introduces students to the modern Chinese ensemble and a variety of Chinese music styles. The course is designed to be hands-on and experiential, encouraging students to explore the basic ideas of Chinese music and culture through rehearsals, practices and performances. At least one concert per semester. S/U only. Enrollment limited to 18. Audition and Instructor permission required. {A}

Fall, Spring

MUS 961 Electric Guitar Lab/Ensemble (1 Credit)

Designed for beginner and near beginner students interested in the electric guitar. S/U only. Enrollment limited to 8. Instructor permission required. (E)

Fall, Spring, Annually

MUS 962 Five College Collegium (1 Credit)

The Five College Collegium is the flagship ensemble of the Five College Early Music Program. The ensemble is made up of experienced singers and instrumentalists from the Five College Consortium, and prepares four large scale projects in the course of the academic year for public performance. The Collegium rotates its rehearsal residency among the schools in the Five College system, and focuses on repertoire from the Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque periods. Whenever possible, the Collegium invites professional musicians as guests to work with the ensemble on material that is relevant to the current project. S/U only. Enrollment limited to 25.

Spring

Crosslisted Courses

AMS 220dm Colloquium: Topics in American Studies-Dance, Music, Sex, Romance (4 Credits)

Since the 1950s rock ’n’ roll and other forms of youth-oriented popular music in the U.S. have embodied rebellion. Yet the rebellion that rock and other popular music styles like rap have offered has often been more available to men than women. Similarly, the sexual liberation associated with popular music in the rock and rap eras has been far more open to “straight” desires over “queer.” This course examines how popular music from the 1950s to the present has been shaped by gender and sexuality, and the extent to which the music and its associated cultural practices have allowed artists and audiences to challenge gender and sexual norms, or alternately have served to reinforce those norms albeit with loud guitars and a heavy beat. Enrollment limited to 20. {A}{H}

Fall, Spring, Variable

ANT 258/ MUS 258 Performing Culture (4 Credits)

Offered as MUS 258 and ANT 258. This course analyzes cultural performances as sites for the expression and formation of social identity. Students study various performance genres such as rituals, festivals, parades, cultural shows, music, dance and theater. Topics include expressive culture as resistance; debates around authenticity and heritage; the performance of race, class and ethnic identities; the construction of national identity; and the effects of globalization on indigenous performances. Enrollment limited to 30. {A}{S}

Fall, Spring, Alternate Years

FYS 100 My Music: Writing Musical Lives (4 Credits)

This first-year seminar begins with an exploration of our own musical lives. What does the particular constellation of material that we call "My Music" tell us about who we are, where we come from, and how we relate to the world? After analyzing and comparing musical lives within the class, students will read selected case studies and collaboratively design a musical biography project. Each student will curate one person’s musical life story, gathering data through one-on-one interviews, weaving together their interlocutor’s words with their own interpretations, and ultimately reflecting on what they have learned from the experience. Enrollment limited to 16 first-years. WI

Fall, Spring, Variable

MUS 231 Colloquium: From Goat Songs To Flash Mobs: Music and Theater (4 Credits)

Music and theatre are both time-based arts that involve bodies in motion in front of an audience. Though they may be considered separate disciplines, the full extent of what they share often makes them wonderfully indistinguishable. This course probes the intersections of music and theatre through a survey of genres, works, artists, and practitioners. While material covered will include clearly relevant genres such as musicals and opera, the focus will be on more difficult to categorize topics such as performance art, immersive theatre, and experimental music, in an open-minded examination of what makes this alliance so compelling. Enrollment limited to 20. {A}

Fall, Spring, Variable

Performance Study

The music department offers a range of performance courses: individual lessons (MUS 914Y, 924Y, 930Y and 940Y); chamber music coaching (MUS 901); conducting (MUS 903); and large ensembles (MUS 951 and above).

Individual voice and instrument performance courses consist of weekly private lessons, with specific expectations determined by each instructor. Lessons require a yearlong commitment and are normally taken in addition to a regular course load. Two such courses may be taken concurrently by petition only for students who have declared the music major or minor. Petitions are due to the music department by the last day of the pre-registration period.

Admission to individual lessons, chamber music, and some ensembles is determined by audition during fall semester orientation period and the first days of the semester. Students are accepted on the basis of musicianship, competence and potential. With the exception of voice, some prior experience is assumed. Information and sign-up sheets for auditions may be found at the Music Department office.

When no instructor for a particular instrument is available at Smith College, every effort is made to provide students with qualified instructors from the Five College community. Such arrangements may require Smith students to travel to other campuses within the Five College system. Students wishing to study performance with Five College faculty must obtain departmental approval.

All performance students are encouraged to study music in the classroom. Non-majors and non-minors should talk with their instructors about which courses best complement their interests.

No more than 24 credits in performance may be counted toward graduation. This includes participation in the various large ensembles described below.

All large ensembles are graded on an S/U basis.

Individual performance lessons carry the following numbering sequence and credits:

MUS 914Y First year of study
This is a full-year course. {8} {A} Credits: 2. Normally offered each academic year

MUS 924Y Second year of study
This is a full-year course. Prerequisite: MUS 914Y. {8} {A} Credits: 2. Normally offered each academic year

MUS 930Y Third and fourth years of study
Prerequisite: MUS 924Y. This is a full-year course. {8} {A} Credits: 2. Normally offered each academic year

MUS 940Y Concentration in Performance
Reserved for seniors who have been approved for Concentration in Performance. Two hours of performance lessons per week during the senior year. {8} {A} Credits: 4. Normally offered each academic year

MUS 901 Chamber Music
Weekly group meetings for exploration and coaching of varied repertory for duos and small ensembles. Open to instrumental students by permission of instructors. May be repeated for credit. {8} {A} Credits: 1. Normally offered both fall and spring semesters

MUS 903 Conducting
Introduction to the art of conducting. This course examines philosophical and practical aspects of the modern conductor’s role. Topics include a musical gestural vocabulary, baton technique and score study/internalization of the printed page. Prior music performance experience and study of Western music theory is highly recommended; instructor permission required. May be repeated for credit. {8} {A} Credits: 2. Normally offered in alternate years

All students are encouraged to join a choral ensemble. The dynamic Smith College Glee Club performs annually at Commencement and Family Weekends, Montage, Autumn Serenade, Christmas Vespers, and at various college events including Opening Convocation, Otelia Cromwell Day and Rally Day. The Glee Club selects music from a diverse repertoire, including major works for treble voices, jazz, contemporary, and folk music of the U.S. and from international traditions. Every spring, glee clubs from such universities as Harvard, Rutgers, Cornell, Michigan and Virginia come to campus to collaborate on a major work. Recent performances have included the Mozart Requiem, Orff’s Carmina Burana and Brahms’ Ein Deutsches Requiem. Auditions for Glee Club are normally held during orientation and the first two weeks of classes in both semesters.

Members of the Glee Club are eligible to audition for the highly selective Smith College Chamber Singers. The internationally known Chamber Singers have performed widely since 1951. Touring every two years, the program provides financial assistance enabling all members to tour regardless of financial need. Auditions for Chamber Singers are held after Glee Club auditions have concluded.

Students who would like to try singing in a choir for the first time should schedule an interview with the instructor of Introduction to Choral Singing, a course that introduces students to the world of choral music.

Introduction to Choral Singing, Glee Club and Chamber Singers meet on Mondays and/or Wednesdays in the late afternoon.

MUS 951 Introduction to Choral Singing
{8} {A} Credits: 1; normally offered both fall and spring semesters

MUS 952 Smith College Glee Club
{8} {A} Credits: 1; normally offered both fall and spring semesters

MUS 953 Smith College Chamber Singers
{8} {A} Credits: 1; normally offered both fall and spring semesters

MUS 954 Smith College Orchestra
A symphony orchestra open to Smith and Five College students, and members of the community. The orchestra gives at least one concert each semester and performs at annual events such as Family Weekend and Christmas vespers. Rehearsals on Tuesday evenings. {8} {A} Credits: 1; normally offered both fall and spring semesters

MUS 955 Smith College Javanese Gamelan Ensemble
One rehearsal per week; one concert per semester. Open (subject to space) to Smith and Five College students, faculty and staff. No prior experience necessary. Rehearsals on Wednesday evenings. {8} {A} Credits: 1; normally offered both fall and spring semesters

MUS 956 Smith College Jazz Ensemble
The jazz ensemble rehearses once per week on Wednesday evenings 7–9 p.m. in Earle Recital Hall, and performs at least one concert per semester. Favoring traditional big band instrumentation, and performing a variety of jazz styles, the ensemble is open to Smith and Five College students, as well as and members of the community (space permitting, and by permission of the instructor) with all levels of music training. Prior jazz experience is recommended but not required. {8} {A} Credits: 1; normally offered both fall and spring semesters

MUS 957 Smith College Wind Ensemble
One rehearsal per week; at least one concert per semester. Open to Smith and Five College students, faculty, staff and members of the community with prior instrumental experience. Rehearsals on Monday evenings.{8} {A} Credits: 1; normally offered both fall and spring semesters

MUS 958 Smith College Irish Music Ensemble: The Wailing Banshees
One rehearsal per week; at least one concert per semester. Open by audition or permission of the director to Smith and Five College students, faculty and staff, and members of the community. {8} {A} Credits: 1; normally offered both fall and spring semesters

MUS 959 Handbell Choir
The choir rehearses twice weekly and performs at the Family Weekend Montage concert, the annual Advent Dinner for the Roman Catholic community, Christmas Vespers and the second semester Spring Ring. In addition, the choir occasionally performs in off-campus community concerts. Rehearsals are Tuesdays and Thursdays at 5 p.m. in the John M. Greene Hall Handbell Room. {8} {A} Credits: 1; normally offered both fall and spring semesters

MUS 960 Chinese Music Ensemble
This course introduces students to the modern Chinese ensemble and a variety of Chinese music styles. The course is designed to be hands-on and experiential, encouraging students to explore the basic ideas of Chinese music and culture through weekly rehearsals, practices, and performances. One rehearsal per week; at least one concert per semester. Open by audition or permission of the director. S/U only. Limited to 18. {A}

MUS 961 Electric Guitar Lab/Ensemble
Designed for beginner and near beginner students interested in the electric guitar. Enrollment limited to 8. Instructor permission required.

Faculty

Paige Graham

Music

Assistant Director of Choral Activities and Lecturer in Music

Jonathan Hirsh

Music

Senior Lecturer and Director of Orchestral & Choral Activities

jonathan_hirsch

Kate Soper

Music

Associate Professor of Music; Iva Dee Hiatt Professor

Kate Soper

Jiayan Sun

Music

Assistant Professor of Music; Associate Chair for Performance Activities

Jiayan Sun

Steve Waksman

Music

Elsie Irwin Sweeney Professor of Music and Professor of American Studies; Chair, American Studies

Steve Waksman

Please contact Anna Goudreau with questions about instruments not listed here, or to reach any of these instructors.

  • Phil Acimovic: Javanese Gamelan Ensemble
  • Claire Arenius: drums
  • Anthony Berner: violin
  • Hannah Berube: clarinet
  • Matthew Cory: electric and upright bass
  • Laurie Ellington: voice
  • Justina Golden: voice
  • Ronald Gorevic: viola
  • Donna Gouger: trumpet
  • Charles Huang: oboe
  • Bruce Krasin: saxophone
  • Yang Liu: piano
  • Joy Lu: Chinese Music Ensemble
  • Meghan MacFadden: Wind Ensemble
  • Felix Margolin: piano
  • Scott Pemrick: trombone
  • Thomas Pousont: organ
  • Gabe Ramey: bassoon
  • Ellen Redman: flute, piccolo, Irish flute, Wailing Banshees
  • Joseph Ricker: classical guitar, electric guitar, guitar, Electric Guitar Lab/Ensemble
  • Alice Robbins: gamba, cello
  • Genevieve Rose: Jazz Ensemble
  • Emily Samuels: recorder
  • Gary Sienkiewicz: tuba
  • Sheffra Spiridopoulos: French horn
  • Felice Swados: harp
  • Timothy Van Egmond: dulcimer
  • John Van Eps: drums, marimba
  • Sarah Vincelett Dredge: voice

Five College Music

At the Five Colleges—Smith, Amherst, Hampshire, and Mount Holyoke colleges and the University of Massachusetts Amherst—each music department has its own identity, range of offerings, and a particular emphasis that sets it apart.

Cooperative arrangements among the departments give students access to their combined faculties, courses, music libraries, and guest artists. A variety of concerts, recitals, and residencies ensure a lively calendar of musical events and furnish a remarkable array of resources for the study and performance of music of every period and style.

Founded in 1979, the Five College Early Music Program (EMP) is a collaboration among schools, programs, and teachers in the Five College Consortium to offer students and affiliates the opportunity to explore the rich and varied music of the Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque periods. Participants may take private lessons, participate in chamber music courses or larger ensembles, or study historical dance, under the guidance of specialist instructors in the field of early music. The Early Music Program also hosts or co-hosts performances and residencies by professional early music performers and ensembles.

If you’re interested in participating in the Early Music Program, please fill out the following survey form, which will also link you to a form for scheduling an audition. If you have any questions, please contact program director Allison Monroe at amonroe@mtholyoke.edu. We look forward to hearing from you!

Advisers: Members of the Five College Ethnomusicology Committee

The Certificate Program in Ethnomusicology will provide a coherent framework for navigating course offerings and engaging with ethnomusicologists throughout the Five Colleges.

Requirements

To earn a Five College Certificate in Ethnomusicology, students must successfully complete a total of seven (7) courses distributed as indicated in the following four (4) categories. No more than five courses can be from any one department/discipline, and introductory courses in basic musicianship do not count towards the requirements; introductory courses in related disciplines may only be counted in certain circumstances determined by the research goals of the individual student. Students must earn a grade of C or better for courses counted towards the Certificate.

  • Area Studies or Topics courses: at least two courses
  • Methodology: at least two courses
  • Performance: at least one course
  • Electives: negotiated in consultation with the student's ethnomusicology advisor, including courses from related disciplines including: anthropology, sociology, history, or media studies; area studies fields such as African Studies, American Studies, Asian Studies, or Middle East Studies; or others related to a particular student's ethnomusicological interests.

Since ethnomusicological research and related musical performance may require understanding of and competence in a foreign language, students are encouraged, but not required, to acquire proficiency in a language relevant to their focus. Students are also encouraged to include experiential learning, a study abroad or domestic exchange experience, in-depth study of a single musical tradition, or comparative studies of several musical traditions.

Courses and ensembles will be posted and updated on our website.

Facilities

The Department’s instrument resources include excellent performance pianos and keyboard instruments: two Steinway “D”s, a Hamburg Steinway “C,” three harpsichords and three pipe organs (in the Helen Hills Hills Chapel and John M. Greene Hall) are regularly used for teaching and performance. The department’s fortepiano was built in 1985 by Robert E. Smith after a design by Conrad Graf.

The Department also has various woodwind, brass, and stringed instruments available for student use.
 

The Digital Music Lab is home to thirteen workstations with 88-key weighted keyboards. The DML computers hold many exciting music software programs, including music notation software (Sibelius, Noteflight), Digital Audio Workstations (Reaper, Audacity), and other programs (Max MSP, SPEAR). Students who would like to request access to the Digitial Music Lab should email Anna Goudreau at agoudreau@smith.edu.

Opportunities & Resources

The music department is home to a lively community of faculty-directed performing ensembles. All students, majors and non-majors, are welcome in the department ensembles, which cover a wide variety of musical styles from all over the world.

Orchestra

The Smith Orchestra is conducted by Jonathan Hirsh and is open by audition to students with prior instrumental training. It rehearses one evening per week, with extra rehearsals and sectionals as needed to prepare for performances. The ensemble performs the classics of the orchestral repertoire, including key pieces from the Classical and Romantic periods, as well as works from the 20th and 21st century, some composed by Smith faculty and visiting artists. Recent composer residencies have included performances featuring Caroline Shaw and Reena Esmail. The orchestra performs several times each year, both in concerts featuring exclusively orchestral repertoire and in those where the orchestra combines forces with the Glee Club or other campus ensembles to explore works such as Orff's Carmina Burana and Beethoven's Ninth Symphony.

For more information about the Smith Orchestra, please contact the group's conductor, Jonathan Hirsh, at jhirsh@smith.edu.

Jazz Ensemble

The Smith Jazz Ensemble rehearses once a week for two hours and plays music designed to teach jazz ensemble concepts (phrasing, articulation, swing feel) as well as give improvised solo space for all members. Though favoring the typical "Big Band" instrumentation (including vocalist), other instruments are welcome on an "as-needed" basis. Performing multiple times each academic year, the group counts tunes as done by Basie, Ellington, and Sinatra plus more contemporary tunes among its repertoire. The group accepts members with all levels of prior jazz training. The Jazz Ensemble is directed by Genevieve Rose, grose@smith.edu.

Wind Ensemble

The Smith Wind Ensemble is conducted by Meghan MacFadden and is open, without audition, to any woodwind, brass, or percussion player with prior instrumental experience. The group rehearses for two hours on Monday evenings. The Wind Ensemble performs a wide variety of literature from the wind band canon with a commitment to living and historically underrepresented composers. Recent works performed include Diamond Tide by Viet Cuong, Impulse Engine by Carolyn Bremer, and Shenandoah by Omar Thomas. The Wind Ensemble performs two main concerts per year with additional appearances around campus, and frequently collaborates with other collegiate and professional wind ensembles.

For more information about the Smith Wind Ensemble, please contact the group's conductor, Meghan MacFadden, at mmacfadden@smith.edu.

Wailing Banshees

Started in 2005, the Wailing Banshees are Smith's Irish/Celtic music ensemble. The group is made up largely of fiddles, flutes, whistles and even bagpipes, with a rhythm section that can consist of guitar, bodhran, mandolin and even cello! The Banshees rehearse two hours per week and give two full concerts per year, and are often in demand at various events on- and off-campus. Their music is largely Scottish and Irish but includes all the Celtic lands and ranges in style from more modern arrangements, to sean nos and ceili band. The ensemble is open to all Five College students with permission of the director, Ellen Redman, eredman@smith.edu.

Smith Gamelan

The Smith Gamelan is a performance group dedicated to the study of Central Javanese gamelan, one of the great musical traditions of the world. The group was founded in 1995 as a way to introduce Five College students to this Indonesian musical tradition and it is directed by Phil Acimovic. The group meets once a week during the school year and presents a performance at the end of each semester. Membership in the Smith Gamelan is open to students, staff, and faculty of the Five College community.

Questions can be directed to Phil Acimovic at pacimovic@smith.edu.

Smith Chinese Music Ensemble

The Smith Chinese Music Ensemble is a performance ensemble dedicated to exploring the modern Chinese ensemble and musical styles. The group is made up of traditional Chinese instruments including plucked lutes and zithers, hammered dulcimer, bowed fiddles, and bamboo/reed flutes. The ensemble is directed by Joy Lu, meets once a week for 90 minutes, and presents at least one concert per semester.

The ensemble is open by audition or permission of the director. For more information or questions, please contact Joy Lu at clu24@smith.edu

Formed in 1885, the Smith College Glee Club performs annually at Commencement and Christmas Vespers; on Family Weekend, for Autumn Serenade, and at college events including Opening Convocation and Rally Day. The Glee Club selects music from a diverse repertoire, including major works for treble voices, jazz, contemporary, folk music of the U.S. and from international traditions. Guest choirs from such universities as Harvard, Rutgers, Cornell, Michigan and Virginia regularly come to campus to collaborate on a major work. Recent performances have included A Night at the Opera: Celebrating the Achievements of African American Singers featuring narrator George Shirley, Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass, and Brahms’ Ein Deutsches Requiem. Auditions for Glee Club are normally held during orientation and in the first two weeks of classes in both semesters.

Members of the Glee Club are eligible to audition for the highly selective Smith College Chamber Singers. The internationally known Chamber Singers have performed throughout the world since 1951.  

Touring normally every two years, the program provides financial assistance enabling all members to travel regardless of financial need. Auditions for Chamber Singers are held during orientation, in the first two weeks of classes in the fall semester and, occasionally, before the spring semester. 

Beginning singers of all class years are welcome to take Introduction to Choral Singing, a class in which students learn to read music and establish a healthy vocal technique. The course includes one informal performance at the end of each semester.

Introduction to Choral Singing, Glee Club and Chamber Singers meet once or twice per week in the late afternoon/early evening.

Playing and singing in small ensembles allows for intimate music-making while exploring great works from the repertory. Groups, formed ad hoc or in consultation with faculty, may be eligible to register each semester for weekly coachings (1 credit). In recent years works from Bach to Brahms to Reich have been explored. Preference is given to students studying instruments or voice at Smith.

For more information on playing in chamber music ensembles, please contact Anna Godreau.

Prizes

The Department of Music awards annual prizes for excellent work in the areas of music history, theory, composition, and performance. In some cases these prizes offer substantial amounts that may cover the expense of summer musical study or even tuition at an institution of higher learning.

Susan Rose Internships in Music

Each summer since 1998, a number of students in music have pursued career internships in a wide variety of areas with financial support provided by an extraordinarily generous gift to the college from Susan Wechsler Rose, Class of ’63. These internships have ranged from performance to academic musical study, from music administration to the real world of the business of music. Recent internships have included:

  • participation in the opera workshop at the Aspen Music Festival in Aspen, Colorado;
  • study of traditional Ewe drumming in Ghana, West Africa;
  • study of Javanese Gamelan in Surakarta, Indonesia;
  • bibliographical work on Berlioz at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France;
  • the study of conducting at the Hartt School of Music in Hartford, Connecticut;
  • internship in radio/podcasting at The Art of Moving Music;
  • orchestral librarianship at the Glimmerglass Festival in Cooperstown, New York;
  • administrative assistance at the Washington National Opera, in Washington, D.C.
  • summer courses in music production, in New York City

All sophomores, juniors and seniors enrolled at Smith whose curriculum has included classroom courses in music, and who have demonstrated a commitment to the study of music, are eligible—and are encouraged—to compete for a Susan Rose Internship. The grant provides funding up to an approximate maximum of $5,000. Students are normally awarded only one grant during their years at the college, but in special circumstances students may apply for a second.

Internships are normally carried out during the summer months following the sophomore or junior year, but proposals for work during the academic year, or for work to be carried out after graduation, will also receive careful consideration.
 

A student who wishes to compete for an internship should consult with their music professors, and with the chairs of the music department’s Susan Rose Internship Committee - Andrea Moore, amoore44@smith.edu, and Maeve Sterbenz, msterbenz@smith.edu - regarding the area in which they expect to pursue work. They should then prepare a one-page proposal and a detailed budget (indicating, as specifically required for the internship, the cost of room and board, instruction, and transportation), and submit these documents along with an unofficial copy of their academic transcript. They should have one brief letter of recommendation (from a music professor or other familiar with their work) sent via email directly to the Music Academic Assistant, Anna Goudreau, agoudreau@smith.edu

Applications for 2024 summer projects must be submitted to Anna Goudreau by April 15, 2024.

Students who are awarded Susan Rose funding, upon completion of their internship or project, must submit a one-page essay about their experience to Anna Goudreau.

About the Department

So wrote Henry Dike Sleeper, long-time chair of the music department in the early years of the 20th century. The department was formed in 1903 and included a series of professional concerts, or “concert course,” that brought many celebrated musicians to the campus—among them Sergei Rachmaninoff, who played his first concert in America here in November 1909. Until the early 1970s, the “course” continued to offer Smith audiences such organizations and artists as the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Cleveland Orchestra, Rudolph Serkin and Marilyn Horne.

Smith's long commitment to musical performance and study is demonstrated by the impressive list of musicians who have taught at the college, which includes composers Roger Sessions, Ross Lee Finney, Alvin Etler and John Duke, who taught in the department for more than 40 years. From 1939 to 1950, one of the world's greatest musical scholars, Alfred Einstein, taught music history at Smith and helped to enrich the extraordinary holdings of the music library soon named for his colleague, composer/conductor Werner Josten. Among the distinguished performers who have served on the faculty are Philipp Naegele, a violinist and violist who was a founding member of the Marlboro Music Festival; Ernst Wallfisch, a celebrated violist who, with his wife the pianist Lory Wallfisch, performed in venues around the world; and Iva Dee Hiatt, the choral conductor who developed Smith’s choral ensembles into some of the best in the country.

The Smith College Music Department is busy making music throughout New England and the world. Below are some live recordings or CD selections of our faculty members and students.

Overture from Candide, Leonard Bernstein Smith College Orchestra

“O Sailor” from Here Be Sirens, Kate Soper Gelsey Bell, Kate Soper, Brett Umlauf, sopranos

Ave Regina Caelorum, Joseph Reinberger Smith College Glee Club

The Cup of Tea/The Old Copperplate/Star of Munster, traditional Wailing Banshees, Ellen Redman, director

'O Fortuna' from Carmina Burana, Carl Orff Smith College Glee Club and Orchestra with The Yale and WPI Glee Clubs

This Little Light of Mine, arr. Jerry Noble Smith College Glee Club and Chorus

Smith graduates are acclaimed performers, composers, researchers and educators; they are working in music publishing, arts management and journalism. Many who study music at Smith subsequently perform in thriving community music organizations, serve as board members of prominent musical institutions and act as advocates of musical causes within their communities.

Carolyn Kuan

  • Arianne Abela ’08, choral conductor
  • Nancy Armstrong MM ’72, soprano 
  • Adrienne Auerswald ’43, soprano
  • Peter Blanchette MM ’94, guitarist
  • Olivia Bloechl ’96, musicologist
  • Margaret Bossi BA '69/MA ’71, choral conductor/educator
  • Ann Callaway ’71, composer
  • Elim Chan ’09, conductor, assistant conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra (2015–16) and winner of the 2014 Donatella Flick LSO Conducting Competition
  • Alicia DePaolo ’10, soprano
  • Inna Dukach ’04, soprano
  • Alicia Edelberg ’72, violinist 
  • Jennifer Griffith MM ’01, composer
  • Sheila Heffernon ’76, choral conductor/music educator
  • Amy Kaiser ’67, choral conductor
  • Carolyn Kuan ’99, conductor, Hartford Symphony Orchestra music director
  • Melanie Lowe ’90, musicologist
  • Mary Marcell ’86, music director/educator
  • Jennifer Morsches ’90, cellist
  • Clifton "Jerry" Noble, Jr., MA ’88, composer/arranger
  • Joan Osborn ’74, composer
  • Joan Panetti ’65, composer/pianist
  • Alice Parker ’47, composer/arranger
  • Judith Raskin ’49, soprano
  • Sindhumathi Revuluri ’00, musicologist
  • Ruth Solie ’64, musicologist
  • Katie Weiser ’13, soprano
  • Luna Pearl Woolf MA ’02, composer/producer
  • Lesley Wright ’71, musicologist