The Department of Music at Columbia is one of the oldest and most distinguished at any American university. It was founded in 1896 by Edward MacDowell (1860-1908). Although MacDowell remained at Columbia for only eight years, his remarkable vision for the place of music in a liberal arts institution still influences us today, as we pursue a 21st century vision for music scholarship, performance, and education.
MacDowell saw a dual role for musical education at Columbia, and accordingly he divided the earliest courses into two groups: general musical culture and technical training. The legacy of the former group includes Music Humanities, part of Columbia's Core Curriculum since the 1940's (and still going strong), as well as the many courses in Western and non-Western repertories offered today for students from all disciplines.
Entering its next century, the Music Department maintains and has even expanded its disciplinary depth and diversity. In a recent survey of graduate programs in music in the U.S., Columbia's was one of only a dozen rated "distinguished.” Graduate applications have more than doubled in six years. Our faculty and students continue to win the most coveted fellowships and awards, from such agencies or organizations as the Guggenheim Foundation, Fulbright, the NEA, the NSF, the Social Science Research Council, the NEH, ASCAP, and the American Academy in Rome, among many others.
The number of undergraduates majoring in music at Columbia has grown sha
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Department's mission is to support and profess scholarly and scientific inquiry into music, and equally the creative activity of music composition, at the highest levels of rigor and innovation, for both graduate and undergraduate students,
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