The Music Department at UCSC is internationally recognized* as one of the premier centers in the United States for composition, performance, research, and scholarship. The department offers graduate programs in composition (M.A., D.M.A.), in ethnomusicology and cross-cultural musicology (M.A., Ph.D.), and in performance practice, including conducting (M.A.).
Graduate students in the composition program choose between two areas of emphasis: algorithmic/computer-assisted composition, and world music composition. Faculty and students interpret these areas flexibly in incorporating an extraordinarily wide variety of approaches and aesthetics. Graduate students work closely and collaboratively with their advisers to forge programs based upon each student’s unique priorities.
The UCSC composition program is perhaps best known for our innovative faculty and for our provocative annual festivals and conferences. Our annual April in Santa Cruz Festival of New Music and our periodic Pacific Rim Festivals of New Music bring to campus a wide variety of distinctive musical voices and provide highly visible venues for the performance of graduate student compositions. Our annual Workshop in Algorithmic Computer Music (WACM) draws professionals from across the country for intensive extra-curricular study. In the past few years our department has also hosted three Festivals of Global African Music, a Festival of Music for Gayageum and Western Instruments, and a Symposium on New Directions in Opera that featured the premiere performance of an opera by Lou Harrison.
*As reported by the Chronicle of Higher Education, the Faculty Scholarly Productivity Index 2006 ranked UCSC’s doctoral programs in music third in the nation among all university programs public and private in a measure of publications, awards, honors, and citations.