When the University of Minnesota Regents authorized music study and hired the first music professor in June 1902, they set in motion a history of achievement that has enriched the university, the state and the country in remarkable ways. The department’s creation signaled that, with musical culture exploding in the Twin Cities at the turn of the century, Minnesota needed to create its own cadre of teachers and performers.
More than a century of musical achievement has produced golden memories for tens of thousands of musicians and music-lovers. They remember the University Orchestra presenting a new composition by Dominick Argento; Vern Sutton singing Gilbert and Sullivan; Paul Oberg or Lydia Artymiw playing Bach or Bartók; Reginald Buckner performing his own jazz compositions; the Choral Union singing Beethoven’s Ninth with the Minnesota Orchestra; the Brass Choir performing at the St. Paul Cathedral. And they remember the Minnesota Marching Band, established in 1892 and still strutting its way into the hearts of Minnesotans.
Today, more than 550 talented undergraduate and graduate students are led by a faculty of some 50 artists-scholars-teachers, many with national and international reputations. Thanks to strong partnerships with the Twin Cities music community, another 40 professionals from organizations like the Minnesota Orchestra and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, enrich the learning environment as affiliate and adjunct faculty.
The School of Music marked its centennial during the 2002–03 academic year with an unprecedented investment in new faculty, facilities, equipment, and curricular and program innovations. A rich collection of collaborations within the university and between the major music and music education organizations in the metropolitan region provide an exciting environment for excellence in performance, teaching and research.