From an institution that began life dedicated to training the next generation of music educators, to what is now a multi-faceted department with a fully established research and professional graduate program with degrees in composition, ethnomusicology, musicology, music theory, and performance, the UC Santa Barbara Department of Music has produced many hundreds of graduates who have distinguished themselves both nationally and internationally.
About the Department of Music
Our department’s mission is threefold: to create music through performance and composition,
to understand the structural organization of sound in different music traditions, and to explore
the social, political, economic, and historical roles and meanings of musical culture around the
globe. Our scholarship and practice ranges widely from music cognition to ecoacoustics, from
music of the Western classical tradition to musics from specific cultures around the world.
We envision the UCSB Department of Music as a center of excellence and exploration for the academic study, composition, and performance of music as well as a place that serves the musical needs of the university and local community. We welcome students from all backgrounds and strive to cultivate a collegial and supportive climate within which they will flourish.
Sound - in both senses of the word - is at heart of our mission and values. Music is the application of structure to sound. We are committed to exploring how and why this is done today and has been done in the past, across diverse musical traditions, in theory and in practice. Whether students choose to specialize in the performance of music, composition, research in music theory, ethnomusicology, or musicology, or a combination of these areas, the department is committed to providing a sound training. We strive to attain, teach, and practice, the skills needed to perform, analyze, and understand music at the highest levels, and to translate those skills into a wide range of contexts. Many of our students go on to become professional musicians and scholars of music. Others use the training that they receive at UCSB to pursue thriving careers in arts administration and public service, and still others use their training as a foundation for professional careers outside the arts sector.
The department seeks both to understand why music plays, and has played, such an important role in fostering community, and to forge our own community by working together to create music — both old and new — in recitals, productions, and ensembles. Faculty, students, and alumni contribute to local communities by being at the heart of Santa Barbara’s thriving and diverse music scene, and to international networks through award-winning scholarship, composition, and performance. We aim to be in tune with the values of a public university, and with UCSB’s commitment to empowerment, equity, and social justice: music and musicians have long played a role in all of these areas.