School of Music, Theatre
and Dance

Varner Hall, Room 207
371 Varner Drive
Rochester, MI 48309-4485
(location map)
Academic Office: (248) 370-2030
Box Office: (248) 370-3013
Fax: (248) 370-2041
smtd@oakland.edu

School of Music, Theatre
and Dance

Varner Hall, Room 207
371 Varner Drive
Rochester, MI 48309-4485
(location map)
Academic Office: (248) 370-2030
Box Office: (248) 370-3013
Fax: (248) 370-2041
smtd@oakland.edu

man in a black suit playing an instrument with 4 mallets in his hands

Music

The Department of Music offers a comprehensive education in music for undergraduate and graduate students. The opportunity to work with internationally and nationally renowned faculty creates a vibrant atmosphere for musical and intellectual growth. Our students also learn from one another, forming a supportive musical community. In addition to their work as teachers, performers, and researchers, OU faculty mentor students as they prepare for careers and further study in a range of musical fields.

Auditions
Academic Programs
Undergraduate
Bachelor of Music (BMus)
  • Music Education (choral, instrumental, general music)
  • Performance (instrumental, piano, voice)
  • Combined degree in music education and performance
  • Piano Pedagogy
Bachelor of Arts in Music (BA)
  • A Liberal Arts degree program
Minors in Music
  • Auditioned Minor
  • Non-auditioned Liberal Arts Minor
  • Jazz Minor
  • World Music Minor
Undergraduate Audition Information
All undergraduate programs (except the non-auditioned liberal arts minor) require students to audition for admission. At the audition, students must demonstrate proficiency in their instrument of choice or voice. Your first step is to apply for admission. To apply online for free, visit the Oakland University Office of Undergraduate Admissions.
Graduate
Oakland University offers a range of graduate degree and certificate programs in music through the doctoral level. These programs provide opportunities to work closely with our faculty and grow as conductors, performers, researchers, and teachers.

For more information about Professional Development, the Master of Music, and Graduate/Post-Master’s Certificates, please contact Jessica Payette or call (248) 370-3148.

For more information about the Doctor of Philosophy in Music Education, please contact Joe Shively.

Graduate Admissions
Applications to graduate degree and certificate programs are made to Oakland University Graduate Admissions. There are links to the specific admissions pages with each of the descriptions below.

Assistantships

Graduate Assistantships are available for students in the MM and Ph.D. programs. These assistantships provide stipends and pay for credits. For more information, contact Joe Shively. Applications for Graduate Assistantship for Master of Music students are due by March 1 and applications for Ph.D. in Music Education students are due by February 1. Request an Assistantship Application.

Auditions
An audition is required for those applying to conducting, pedagogy and performance programs. Some auditions are held on departmental audition days while others are scheduled with the appropriate faculty.  Contact  Jessica Payette  to begin the scheduling process.

Writing Sample

Applicants to the MM in Music Education must provide a writing sample. The writing sample may be an academic paper written in an undergraduate or graduate course or a one-page discussion of an issue in music education. Submit the writing sample to Jessica Payette via email or fax (248) 370-2041.

Master of Music Program
The Master of Music (MM) offers majors in conducting, education, pedagogy and performance. Each major within the MM is a 32-credit program that includes a shared core, courses required for the major, and electives. For more information, contact Jessica Payette.

Majors Doctor of Philosophy in Music Education
The Doctor of Philosophy in Music Education degree program is designed to develop individuals who can provide leadership for music education practice as teacher educators, curriculum leaders, and researchers. Core concepts in the program include constructivism, cultural psychology, and social democracy in music learning and teaching. For more information, contact Joe Shively.
Ph. D. in Music Education admissions and degree information

Summer 2019 Graduate Music Study
Click here to view the course schedule for Summer I and Summer II.
Certificates
Certificate Programs, Graduate Certificates and Post-Master’s Graduate Certificates are offered in conducting, education, pedagogy and performance.
Contact Deborah VanderLinde , music education program coordinator for post-baccalaureate music teacher certification.

Contact Tian Tian, coordinator of the piano program for performer's certificate information.

Ensembles
Instrumental
Oakland University Bands
  • Oakland University Wind SymphonyThe Wind Symphony (MUE 331) is Oakland University’s premier wind bandcomprised of undergraduate and graduate student musicians selected annually through competitive audition. Under the direction of Dr. Gregory Cunningham, director of bands, the Wind Symphony maintains an active schedule of concerts both on and off campus. During the 2017-2018 academic year the band was invited to perform as one of two Michigan university ensembles to present at the Thursday evening Collegiate Concert of the 2018 Michigan Music Conference. They also received an invitation to perform in February 2018 as one of eight university bands, selected through juried peer review, at the 2018 College Band Directors National Association North Central Conference in Kalamazoo, MI. F ormer members of the Oakland University Wind Symphony have gone on to pursue graduate study at such schools as the University of Michigan, Michigan State University, University of Cambridge (England), Carnegie Mellon University, Rutgers, Southern Methodist University, Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, Indiana University, Bowling Green State University, University of Kansas, Shenandoah Conservatory, Western Michigan University, New Mexico State University and Northwestern State University (LA). Others are active music educators throughout the United States with positions at the elementary, secondary and collegiate levels.
  • Oakland University Symphonic Band - Founded in 2006, the Oakland University Symphonic Band (MUE 329) is a concert band comprised of student musicians drawn from all majors within Oakland University, and is open to all university students without audition. The Symphonic Band, under the direction of Associate Director of Bands, Dr. Jeffrey Heisler, performs concerts on the Oakland University campus with repertoire drawn from the finest of contemporary and traditional band literature.
  • Golden Grizzlies Band - Comprised of over 100 students from the Oakland University campus community, the Golden Grizzlies Band (MUE 332) performs at many university activities, including all Oakland University men’s and women’s basketball games. The Golden Grizzlies Band travels with the NCAA Division I men’s and women’s teams for annual conference tournaments and post-season play. In 2010, the Golden Grizzlies Band accompanied the men’s basketball team to the first round of the NCAA conference tournament (Western Region) in Milwaukee, WI. The Golden Grizzlies Band is under the supervision of Dr. Kenneth Kroesche.
Oakland University Chamber Orchestra and Ensembles
  • University Chamber Orchestra - Founded in January of 2010, the University Chamber Orchestra (MUE 376) is open to all Oakland University students who play violin, viola, cello or bass, subject to audition and/or director approval. Under the direction of Professor Alan MacNair, Adjunct Instructor of Orchestral Ensembles, this chamber orchestra performs two concerts per semester with repertoire drawn from the past 350 years. Concerts take place at Varner Hall on the Oakland University Campus, and feature classics from the String Orchestra repertoire, the Chamber Orchestra repertoire, as well as alternative literature.
  • University Chamber Ensembles - The Department of Music Theatre and Dance offers a comprehensive list of small ensemble offerings that serve as an integral aspect of the instrumental culture at Oakland University. Students interested in participating in these ensembles are asked to contact the instructor of record for further information.

    Chamber Ensemble – mixed instrumentation (MUE 380, section 001)
    Flute Ensemble (MUE 372)
    Clarinet Ensemble (MUE 380, section 002)
    Saxophone Ensemble (MUE 371)
    Percussion Ensemble (MUE 373)
    Guitar Ensemble (MUE 370)
    Steel Band (MUE 346)
    African Ensemble (MUE 345)
Oakland University Jazz
The Oakland University Jazz Program provides many opportunities for students. Our Jazz Ensemble, Jazz Combos, and Contemporary Music Ensemble perform around the Metro Detroit area, and have featured such guest artists as Regina Carter and Doc Holladay. OU offers jazz classes in Jazz Theory, Jazz History and Analysis, and Arranging.

Oakland Symphony Orchestra
The Oakland Symphony Orchestra is the orchestra-in-residence at Oakland University, serving both the academic mission of the university and the community at large. This ensemble provides the opportunity for Oakland students, faculty, and alumni to perform together with professional musicians from the region, performing the finest orchestral works in one of the region’s highly regarded ensembles.

The OSO performs a series of four concerts annually, three in Oakland's Varner Recital Hall and the final concert of each season in a venue such as Orchestra Hall at the Max. M. Fisher Music Center in Detroit. For the series finale, the Oakland Symphony Chorus joins the orchestra to perform a major work for chorus and orchestra. The orchestra also holds an annual concerto competition that offers Oakland music students an opportunity to perform as soloists with the orchestra at the David Daniels Young Artists Concert, each February.

Having the Oakland Symphony in residence at Oakland University provides an exciting and unique experience for our students and for the community. View the OSO page for more information.

World Music Ensembles
The Oakland University African Drum and Xylophone Ensemble, known as Akwaaba, studies and performs drumming and xylophone traditions from Ghana and Uganda.

The Oakland University Steel Band, known as Pan-Jumbies, studies and performs steel pan and drum traditions from Trinidad, other Caribbean Islands, and South America.

The Oakland University World Percussion Ensemble, known as Ngoma, is an auditioned group that studies and performs diverse global percussion music, including traditions from Africa, India, and the Americas.

Piano Studio
The study of piano at Oakland University pairs talented young musicians with renowned music educators, in a program that prepares students for careers on stage and in the classroom.

Students enjoy small class sizes and significant performance opportunities in a variety of ensembles, in recital and master class settings.

Music students enjoy opportunities for collaborations and multi-discipline performance and training opportunities, in cooperation with the dance and theatre programs. Our music education program prepares teachers to be independent thinkers, decision-makers and innovators, providing them with tools for a lifetime of professional and personal growth.

Our faculty includes professional musicians who have achieved national and international reputations for their innovative ideas on teaching and musical understanding. Through coursework, fieldwork and internship experiences, students learn innovative principles and practices that apply across a variety of educational settings, preparing them to meet the professional challenges of the future.
Vocal
The Oakland University Symphony Chorus
The Symphony Chorus is made up of members of the Oakland Chorale and the University Chorus, as well as faculty, staff, and alumni. The group was formed in 2006 to perform major choral works with large instrumental ensembles. The Symphony Chorus appears most frequently with the Pontiac-Oakland Symphony and has recently performed the Levin edition of the Mozart Requiem in honor of the 250th anniversary of the birth of its composer, as well as the Durufle Requiem, the Daniel Pinkham Christmas Cantata, and the Debussy Nocturnes. In 2008 the Chorus joined forces with the Pontiac-Oakland Symphony to perform Guiseppe Verdi's Requiem at Detroit's historic Orchestra Hall in honor of the 50th anniversary of the founding of Oakland University.

The Oakland University Chorus
The University Chorus is open to all university students without audition. Prior musical and choral experience is recommended. The group performs great choral literature from the last 500 years and also enjoys a focus on multicultural music from around the world. The University Chorus was the first student choral group formed on the Oakland campus in the 1960s and has a long, proud history of making great music on the OU campus.

The Oakland Chorale
The Oakland Chorale is OU’s elite touring choral ensemble. Membership in the Chorale is open to all university students via competitive audition each fall. The Chorale maintains a busy concert schedule including annual appearances with the Oakland Symphony Orchestra at historic Orchestra Hall in Detroit. The Chorale has toured frequently throughout Michigan and the Midwest, as well as to Texas and New York, and appeared with the Rolling Stones as part of their Zip Code Tour at Detroit’s Comerica Park. In February 2017 the choir will perform with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and in summer 2017, will undertake a European concert tour featuring performances in Venice, Italy; Vienna, Austria; Ljubljana and Bled, Slovenia; and Zagreb, Croatia. The Chorale has been honored to rehearse and perform with many distinguished musicians, including Morten Lauridsen, Simon Carrington, Eph Ehly, and Stacey Gibbs. Lauridsen praised the choir for giving “one of the finest performances of my music I have ever heard,” and Gibbs composed Live a-Humble for the Chorale as a thank you for singing his music with great passion. Recent Chorale alumni have pursued graduate study in music at the University of Michigan, Indiana University, New England Conservatory, Cincinnati Conservatory, Manhattan School of Music, the Eastman School of Music, Peabody Conservatory, and Juilliard, among others, and include a finalist and several regional winners of the Metropolitan Opera auditions, a finalist in the Placido Domingo Competition, and the winner in the National Student Auditions at the NATS National Conference. Chorale alumni are also pursuing professional musical careers in the US and Europe, and teaching music in schools throughout the country.

Oakland Opera and Opera Workshop
Opera and Opera Workshop (MUE 350/550) students perform scenes and full operas through out the year at Oakland. Every semester there is a production of either a complete opera with costumes, sets and orchestra, or a scenes program with repertoire picked specifically for the students in Opera Workshop.

Directed by Dr. Drake Dantzler, recent full productions have included works by Mozart, Menotti, Puccini, and Monteverdi, and scenes productions have been drawn from works that date from the early 17th century to exciting contemporary operas.
In Residence
Regina Carter - Artist in Residence

Regina Carter Violinist Regina Carter combines dazzling technical proficiency and profound compositional and improvisational gifts with a fresh, aggressive approach to her instrument and a multicultural perspective, and she challenges our preconceptions regarding the instrument. In Carter's hands, the violin reveals both its melodic side and its potential for percussive expression. Perhaps more significantly, Regina Carter demonstrates the violinist's eagerness to explore musical combinations and contexts both familiar and unexpected.

Carter, an OU alum, has been named artist-in-residence and will spend two full weeks on campus during each academic year to teach master classes and work with students, faculty and ensembles, individually and in groups.

A Grammy nominee and a 2006 recipient of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, Carter earned her bachelor’s degree in music from OU in 1985. In 2001, she became the first jazz musician and African- American to play “The Cannon,” a 250-year-old Guarneri violin once owned by Niccolo Paganini, which is kept in Genoa, Italy, and only played once a year by an individual deemed worthy.

Carter is well known as an innovative musician, a trait that led her to Oakland University more than two decades ago. A native Detroiter, Carter studied at the Center for Creative Studies and the New England Conservatory of Music before transferring to Oakland because she wanted to play jazz on the violin, traditionally a classical instrument.
Oakland Symphony Orchestra

Tracing a tradition of excellence to 1976, Oakland University’s resident orchestra continues to provide Southeast Michigan with excellent performances of the finest symphonic repertoire. Join us on the OU campus for the first three concerts of our season, and then at spectacular Orchestra Hall in Detroit for the season finale, presented in collaboration with the Oakland University Symphony Chorus (Michael A. Mitchell, conductor), Detroit Concert Choir (Brandon Johnson, artistic director) and Madrigal Chorale (Brandon Ulrich, artistic director.)

Concert I
Sunday, October 7, 2018 at 3 p.m.
Varner Recital Hall
  • Suite No. 2 from Three-Cornered Hat by Manuel de Falla
  • Canto by Adam Schoenberg
  • Symphony No. 1 in D major (“Titan”) by Gustav Mahler

Concert II
Sunday, November 4, 2018 at 3 p.m.
Varner Recital Hall

  • Sensemayá by Silvestre Revueltas
  • Concerto for Alto Saxophone in E-flat major, Op. 109 by Alexander Glazunov
  • Tod und Verklärung, Op. 24 by Richard Strauss
  • Aurum Tetra (Concerto for Saxophone Quartet and Orchestra) by Benjamin Taylor

Concert III 
22nd Annual David Daniels Young Artists Concert
Sunday, February 10, 2019 at 3 p.m.
Varner Recital Hall

  • Fountains of Rome by Ottorino Respighi
  • Passacaglia and Fugue in C minor, BWV 582 by Johann Sebastian Bach / orch. by Ottorino Respighi
  • Solo performances by the winners of the 2018–19 Oakland Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition

Concert IV
Sponsored by Oakland University Credit Union
With the Oakland University Symphony Chorus, Detroit Concert Choir and Madrigal Chorale
Friday, March 29, 2019 at 8 p.m.
Orchestra Hall, Max M. Fisher Music Center, Detroit

  • Requiem by Giuseppe Verdi
  • Michael A. Mitchell, conductor; Ann Toomey, soprano; Lisa Agazzi, mezzo-soprano; Jason Wickson, tenor; and Joel Frederiksen, bass. All soloists are Oakland University music alumni.

All concerts are $22 general, $12 students. Detailed ticket information.

About the Conductor
Dr. Gregory Cunningham, music director and conductor, is a Professor of Music at Oakland University, where he serves as Director of Bands, conducts the Oakland University Wind Symphony, and teaches orchestral/wind conducting and literature at the graduate and undergraduate levels.

He is also a frequent guest conductor of honor orchestras and bands throughout the Midwest and he serves as a guest conductor and clinician for many high school and middle school ensembles throughout the United States.

Request an OSO Brochure