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   Visiting the Music Department

“If you look back 10 or 20 years ago, I think there was a sense that music was unapproachable. You had to be able to read a score. You had to have highly specialized training in order to even begin to talk about it. I think those barriers have really gone down. It’s really nice to see that music is not this little island that is somehow feared. … It’s part of the humanities.”—Alexander Rehding

About the Music Department


The Harvard University Department of Music is devoted to the study and practice of music, and exists to provide a first-rate music education that gives students advanced skills and knowledge of music history, repertory, and performance.

As an academic department, the Music Department offers both an undergraduate and a graduate program. Undergraduates receive an A.B. with a concentration in music. Graduate students complete a Ph.D. program in historical musicology, ethnomusicology, theory, or composition.

There is also a small A.M. program in performance practice, and a dual degree program in tandem with New England Conservatory where undergraduate students earn an A.B. from Harvard and a M.M. from NEC over the course of five years.

Although students cannot earn a vocal or instrumental performance degree at Harvard (such as a B.M., M.M., or D.M.A.), performance is very much a part of music department coursework, and students are welcome to join any of the many extracurricular music performance groups on campus.

The Music Department is located in the renovated Fanny Peabody Mason Music Building, which houses classrooms, music practice rooms, the Eda Kuhn Loeb Music Library, John Knowles Paine Concert Hall, the Harvard University Studio for Electroacoustic Composition (HUSEAC
), an Ethnomusicology Lab, Collection of Instruments, and faculty and administrative offices. The Department sponsors numerous concerts, colloquia, lectures and special music events each month, which are free to students and the public.

The music department is comprised of around 20 permanent faculty, around six visiting faculty, 50 undergraduates concentrators, 70 graduate students, 12, stafff, and 10-15 associates.

-Undergraduate information

-Graduate Information


    Department of Music
    Music Building
    Harvard University
    Cambridge, MA 02138
    fax: 617-496-8081

    map and directions

    Quick links:
    Events Calendar
    Department News
    Faculty & Staff
    Concentrating in Music
    Graduate Studies
    Music Curriculum

Music at Harvard
by the NUMBERS

Courses offered per term 33

Practice rooms in the building 15

Full-time faculty 18

Scores in Music Library 143,000

Number of pianos on campus 220

First music course given 1855

Undergraduate performance groups 45

Visiting the Music Department

-GRADUATE VISITORS (PhD programs/AM in Performance Practice)



Undergraduate Information: Visiting the Department

Harvard College Admissions Tours and Information Sessions (highly recommended)
Cambridge Area Acommodations

Academic Calendar

You are welcome to visit the Music Department anytime during regular office hours, Monday through Friday, 9am to 5pm. Please know that meeting with music department staff in no way impacts your application; these meetings are informational only. Individual academic departments (such as music) are not involved with the Admissions process at Harvard College.

To make an appointment to visit the Music Department

Call 617-495-2791 or write to arrange an appointment with Lesley Bannatyne, Managing Communications Coordinator. Expect your visit to last around 15 minutes.

If you decide to make an application
The Harvard College Office of Admissions and Financial Aid handles the admissions process in its entirety. All questions about the admissions process, as well as all supplementary application materials, should be sent to them:

Office of Admissions and Financial Aid
Harvard College
86 Brattle Street
Cambridge, MA 02138

Harvard College Admissions also tracks all applications and is responsible for all materials and submitted information. If you need to know the status of your application, contact them at 617-495-1551. NOTE: Please do not call the Music Department about the status of your application or the return of your materials. We don't have them.

The best times to visit the department are when classes are in session. However, you can come by at any time to see the building and facilities. The Music Department is open 9-5 Monday through Friday except for holidays.




Graduate Information: Visiting the Department

You are welcome to visit the Department at any time, although we in no way require or expect you to make the trip. You should know that we do invite the students we accept to our program to come to Cambridge in the late winter/early spring as part of our admissions process. At that time, admitted students meet with faculty, get to know our current students, and are introduced to other students who have also been admitted.

We regret that we are not able to make appointments with individual faculty members during a pre-admissions visit.

If you do decide to make an informational visit prior to the admissions deadline there are optimum times, such as between October and December. If you visit at another time of the year, check the academic schedule to avoid reading/exam periods and semester breaks. It is not necessary to visit, nor should you see it as a way to improve your chances of admission.

Rather, a visit is simply a good way to learn about our Department's intellectual environment and infrastructure. We urge you to consult the course schedule that you can plan to sit in on one or more graduate seminars (please ask permission of the instructing professor first: music professors can be reached via email at This is the best way to get to know the professors and students.

You may also want to attend any colloquia, lectures, or faculty seminars that coincide with your visit (check our calendar at, or to tour the Music Library (contact Liza Vick to make an appointment at and other Harvard libraries. It may also be possible to chat informally with some of our current graduate students, who are apt to be working in the department and library during the academic year.

Our receptionists can tell you more about the schedule of events (call 617-495-2791). You can also reach them through email: Kaye Denny ( and Charles Stillman (

Tours of the Harvard campus are available twice each day Monday through Friday (and some on weekends), and originate from the Holyoke Information Center in the Holyoke Center Arcade, right in the middle of Harvard Square.

Faculty Advisors

If you have questions about a specific field, you may contact the Graduate Advisor in that field. For more general questions, contact the Director of Graduate Studies. All Professors can be reached via email at: Type the professor's name in the subject line of your email letter (for example, Subject: for Prof. Kelly, or for Director of Graduate Studies).
To find out more about the faculty advisors, find their brief bios and professorial titles at faculty/people.html#faculty


c 2014 President and Fellows of Harvard College