It has been a whirlwind of activity, with years in the planning, to rename the Department of Music, to the official University of Nevada, Reno, School of Music.
The process began over four years ago as faculty conversations brought the topic to the forefront of ideas within the department. These conversations were sparked by the breadth of offerings in music, which included a developed applied faculty, and the addition of a Doctor of Musical Arts program in music. Along with this came the opening of the stunning University Foundation Arts Building, a facility that houses rehearsal, practice and performing spaces, and a state-of-the-art recording studio and electroacoustic composition lab.
“I am very excited about the name change; it represents the next step, or natural evolution, of the department,” Dmitri Atapine, DMA, professor of music and cello and former department chair, said. “As it has grown, the School of Music moniker better reflects the status of the school, with national recognition. It’s an attractive place to study, to learn music for students.”
How does a School of Music differ from a Department of Music? A school of music is typically committed to preparing students for careers in music, and while the University has been an accredited member of the National Association of Schools of Music since 1981, the emphasis on graduating equipped professionals in music experienced renewed vigor in the past several years.
The School of Music continues the important role of an academic department of music, offering many courses for the benefit of all university students, including fulfilling core objective courses as part of the University’s Silver Core – its commitment to a liberal arts education. Approximately 3,000 non-music major students are served each year in courses such as Music Appreciation, Gender and Ethnicity in American Music, and in a host of music ensembles like the Concert Choir and Wolf Pack Marching Band.
With the name change comes a refined mission: to be a comprehensive School of Music that provides a world-class education to undergraduate and graduate students who seek careers in music, along with students of all majors seeking enriching life experiences in the study and performance of music.
Students are singing the praises of the name change, reiterating that it better reflects the University’s dedication to music education and its recognition of music’s importance in academia.
“The transition underlines a significant milestone for the institution and its students,” Adea Badivuku, DMA student and instructor of functional piano, said. “From a student's perspective, this shift demonstrates a growth in the University's dedication to the field of music, emphasizing a more specialized focus, expanded resources, and an enhanced emphasis on the music program. As a student aspiring for a career in music, the shift to a School of Music is undeniably beneficial. It signals a deeper institutional commitment to musical education, offering specialized training and prestige. In the music industry, such a foundation can provide a distinct advantage, equipping us not only with skills but also with a reputable background.”
“It sets a competitive advantage that, in the long run, will be a great asset to the University’s presence and value in higher education and in skill development for careers in or related to music,” JoAnna Cochenet, DMA orchestral conducting student and graduate teaching assistant, said. “Aside from this, I have noticed the School fosters a welcoming environment for students and community members who may not be focusing on it but want to keep music and arts a part of their lives, and what greater impact can a university have on their community?”
Dmitri Atapine concludes with an optimistic outlook, “There are great things happening at the University – teaching, performing – the arts are primal to a human being. Music moves us as human beings; it’s the root of who we are as humans.”
The renaming will be celebrated with a School of Music Festival, Oct. 18-21, 2023. A long weekend full of concerts, faculty conversations, spotlight performances and School of Music Gala.
School of Music Festival Events:
Wednesday, Oct. 18 – Apex Concerts – Fandango – 7:30 p.m. – Hall Recital Hall
Apex Concerts joins in the festivities surrounding the University of Nevada, Reno School of Music Festival with “Fandango” – a thrilling collaboration between the Escher String Quartet and the GRAMMY-winning guitarist Jason Vieaux. An evening culminating with the "100 Greatest Dance Hits" by Aaron Jay Kernis – a contemporary gem fusing classical and modern influences and a world of vibrant energy and uninhibited joy – will also feature works by Joseph Haydn, plenty of virtuoso playing by Jason Vieaux and the Escher Quartet, as well as one of the most infectiously exciting compositions of all times: the great Guitar Quintet in D Major “Fandango” by Luigi Boccherini. A not-to-be-missed evening of excitement and celebration.
Thursday, Oct. 19 – Scholars Unplugged: Faculty Conversations – 7:30 p.m. – Hall Recital Hall
Hear a group of esteemed faculty members of the School of Music – Reed Chamberlin, Ruthie Meadows, Kevin Miescke, Jean-Paul Perrotte and Kate Pollard – as they present a series of engaging topical talks. These engaging discussions will explore a wide range of topics, spanning from diversity and inclusion to new trends in technology in music. The event kicks off with an introductory session that aims to demystify the concept of a “School of Music.” Attendees are invited to be a part of this informative and thought-provoking experience as an opportunity to discover more about the world of music.
Friday, Oct. 20 – Faculty Spotlight Performance – 7:30 p.m. Hall Recital Hall
Do not miss an evening of musical exploration featuring accomplished members of the School of Music community. The Manzanita Quintet, a jazz faculty ensemble with members Josh D. Reed, Peter Epstein, Adam Benjamin, Hans Halt and Andrew Heglund will open the program with a set of thought-provoking and creative jazz compositions. The second half of the performance will showcase the Nevada Chamber Players, a collaborative ensemble comprised of faculty and students from the School of Music. They will perform Mozart's classical masterpiece “Serenade No. 10 for winds in B-flat major, K. 361/370a.”
Saturday, October 21 – School of Music Gala – 7:30 pm Nightingale Concert Hall
Be a part of a musical celebration featuring the School of Music's premier ensembles, including the Symphony Orchestra, Chamber Singers, Jazz Ensemble I and Nevada Wind Ensemble. This special evening will also include a guest appearance by the Wolf Pack Marching Band.