Welcome to the UNC Department of Music!
In the Department of Music at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, we take pride in our role as a vibrant arts program within the liberal arts university. We teach, create, and impart through performance and study the richness and breadth of musical creation and scholarship. A community of undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, and staff, we are dedicated to fostering an inclusive and welcoming environment. Our program builds on core commitments: to developing critical thinking around music and its role in society, to understanding music’s details and structures, and to shaping through practice, performance, and creation the skills necessary for communicating music’s nuance, power, and variety. With these goals in mind, we offer a wide range of classes, lessons, ensembles, lectures, workshops, and concerts that serve students, the campus, Chapel Hill, the state of North Carolina, and the world widely.
We grant two undergraduate degrees in Music, the B.A. and B.M., and two graduate degrees, the M.A. and Ph.D. in Musicology. Our comprehensive curriculum blends individual instruction with academic study for about 200 undergraduate majors. Those interested in pursuing pre-professional instruction have the opportunity to study with well-known performers in a rigorous performance/academic program. At the same time, our courses and ensembles enroll students from across the entire university, including some 250 minors, with a spectrum of offerings in classical, jazz, bluegrass, musical theater, world music, rock, country, hip-hop, and music technology. We welcome and encourage non-majors to audition and perform in our department ensembles. Our preeminent Ph.D. program provides graduate students with the opportunity to work closely with distinguished and world-renowned scholars in musicology, theory, and ethnomusicology. The magnificent collection of the Music Library is an important university resource for all.
Our department resides in three buildings: Kenan Music Building, Hill Hall, and Person Hall. In our performance venues – the recently renovated James and Susan Moeser Auditorium, Person Recital Hall, and Kenan Rehearsal Hall – as well as in Memorial Hall, Gerrard Hall, and Historic Playmakers, we present more than 200 public concerts each year covering a wide range of musical genres in performances by faculty, guest performers, and students. Please consult our online calendar on this website for a list of upcoming events open to the public.
I heartily invite you to make use of our wide-ranging offerings. Come, join us! I look forward to seeing you at our events.
Chair, Department of Music
UNC Department of Music
2019-2020: A Playback
UNC Department of Music Ensembles
DWW: Musical Change a’Coming
Music theory is not the sort of discipline that regularly makes headlines, but in the past year, it has shown up in the spotlight regularly. The catalyst for all this attention has been an increasingly passionate conversation about the discipline’s systemic racist underpinnings, its exclusionary tendencies, and how we can work to change them. Last summer, journalist Colleen Flaherty’s headline declared it “music theory’s biggest imbroglio,” and freelance YouTuber Adam Neely has amassed over 900,000 views for his piece titled “Music Theory and White Supremacy.”
These conversations, and the concrete actions needed to address these failings, are long overdue, but the scope of the concern extends beyond the field of music theory and into the whole state of undergraduate music education. At the heart of the situation are three questions: Whose musics should be studied and performed in music departments? What background do students need to succeed in college-level music studies? And what skills, knowledge, and experiences should the study of music impart? …
Technology X Creativity = Live Music
February 18, 2021
As we look forward to our first live-streamed concert of the semester, we wanted to take a look back at the revolutionary technology that makes it all possible during these unprecedented times. First used by our jazz faculty for their October 2020 concert, they’ll be utilizing it again for their concert originally scheduled tonight at 7:30 PM (now postponed due to inclement weather), as will many of our student ensembles later this semester. For a full list of upcoming concerts, click here. Below is a more in-depth look at the technology that makes it all possible, originally written in November 2020 by Morgan Lawrence of THE rAVe Agency. … Read about the technology making music possible during the pandemic.
DWW: Covid x Social Justice recordings
February 17, 2021
Assistant Professor LaToya Lain recently participated in the songSLAM Festival with Sparks and Wiry Cries in New York City. In this special interview for “Do the Work Wednesdays” she discusses what it was like to record a newly commissioned piece for the festival, and what this work means in 2021 amidst a pandemic and surge of social justice action. … Read more about Lain and this new recording.
Dungeons & Dragons Music Unlocked
Congratulations to first-year graduate student Drew Borecky on his first journal publication! His article “Dungeons, Dragons, and Music: The Immersive Qualities of Sound in Dungeons & Dragons” appears in the latest issue of the Journal for Sound and Music in Games.
“This article hopes to add to a growing body of literature surrounding music and games, especially to new explorations concerning player interaction and shared storytelling. As an ethnography, it stands as the result of close interaction with many people I consider close friends, without whom I wouldn’t have been able to accomplish this. This is my first publication and being able to publish it in a journal like JSMG has been a great opportunity. I look forward to contributing more to the field in the future.” -Drew Borecky
Alumni Profile: Channing McCullough
February 9, 2021
Alumna Channing McCullough (BMus ’09, MAT ’10) was recently named Head of Middle School at Franklin Road Academy in Nashville, TN. McCullough is currently serving as Director of Bands and Grade Level Dean at Princeton Day School in Princeton, NJ. The department is immensely proud of all her accomplishments including this most recent appointment!
We had a chance to speak with McCullough recently. Here’s what she had to say about her time at UNC and her hopes for her students wherever she’s teaching. … Read the full interview with McCullough.