Performance Courses

Harvard’s Music Department offers a full composition program as well as a number of jazz, classical, creative and world music performance courses, which usually culminate in a student recital at the end of each term. Performance courses receive Harvard College credit; most are eligible for music concentration credit. Not all courses are offered each semester.

Music 10 Harvard-Radcliffe Orchestra

Federico Cortese
Half course (throughout the year).

Music 15 Harvard Glee Club

Enrollment: By audition prior to first class meeting.
Andrew Gregory Clark
Half course (throughout the year).

Music 16 Radcliffe Choral Society

Enrollment: By audition prior to first class meeting.
Andrew Clark
Half course (throughout the year).

Music 18 Harvard Jazz Band

Yosvany Terry
(fall and spring M, 7:17-9:15pm and W. 7:15-8:15pm)

Music 121 Choral Conducting

Andrew Clark
Skill levels evaluated at first class meeting.

Music 127 Intensive Conducting

Federico Cortese

Music 157r South Indian Theory and Practice

Richard Wolf

Music 160/TDM Composing Theater

Yvette Jackson

Music 170 Songwriting Workshop

Esperanza Spalding

Music 172 21st-Century Ensemble Workshop

Claire Chase

Music 171. Creative Music: Composer-Pianists

Vijay Iyer

Composition Courses

Harvard’s Music Department offers a full program of coursework that includes courses in music theory and composition, and includes styles ranging from jazz harmony to electroacoustic composition.

Academic Courses

The Department’s offerings include courses such as Music from the Silk Road, Musical Migration, Opera, Broadway Musicals, Modern Jazz, Film Music, and many more. Check course schedules and descriptions for current offerings.

Lin-Manuel Miranda talks with students standing around a classroom.
Broadway artist Lin-Manuel Miranda (Hamilton) visits Carol Oja’s course “American Musicals and American Culture.”

Artists in the Classroom

In addition to courses specifically in performance, performance of music is intrinsic to the study of all musics. Guest artists and lecturers frequently visit our classes to talk informally with students about a range of topics from the operas of Peter Sellars to how jazz relates to social movements to how Broadway artists think and work.

The Blodgett Artist-in-Residence Program of the Department of Music

The Blodgett Artist-in-Residence program is made possible through a gift from Mr. and Mrs. John W. Blodgett, Jr. The program provides for a distinguished string quartet to be in residence at the Harvard University Department of Music offering workshops, coachings, and serving as faculty for the Chamber Music course. The quartet is also available to read undergraduate and graduate student compositions, and to perform a composition by the winner of the annual Blodgett Composition Competition. The quartet gives four free public performances each year in Paine Hall, and others in the Harvard houses and other campus venues. The current Blodgett Artists-in-Residence are the Parker Quartet.

Additionally, the music department invites Blodgett Distinguished Artists to campus to lecture and perform in a variety of musical disciplines. Past artists have been Koo Nimo (Ghanaian music), The Clerks Group (medieval song), Sir Harrison Birtwistle (composer), TASHI (new music), Neba Solo (Malian balafon), Bahman Panahi (Persian music), jazz pioneer Geri Allen, and Wadada Leo Smith.

Master Classes and Coachings

The Parker Quartet are in residence at Harvard’s Music Department, and give weekly master classes to students enrolled in Music 189: Chamber Music Performance.

We also bring performing artists of all disciplines to campus to work with students; recent examples include singer Angelique Kidjo, conductor Sir John Eliot Gardiner, choral conductor George Benjamin, Broadway artists Marsha Norman and Lin-Manuel Miranda, and pianist Jeremy Denk. Additionally, we arrange informal meetings between undergraduates and Music Department special guests such as Herbie Hancock and Laurie Anderson.

OFA Visiting Artist Programs

The Office for the Arts (OFA) is a rich resource for undergraduate performers as well. OFA operates a visiting artist program that provides opportunities for students to interact with professionals in all disciplines through master classes, workshops, informal discussions and other forums. The OFA also provides opportunities for students to work alongside professionals in producing visiting artist events, and runs several funding programs for student arts projects.