Department Overview

Lewis & Clark’s Department of Music provides a high-quality program with a variety of opportunities for students interested in music. Our faculty of active performers, composers, musicologists/music historians and ethnomusicologists/world music scholars offer their expertise to prepare professionally-oriented students for careers in music. They also have the breadth of perspective to help majors and non-majors integrate music studies into a liberal arts education. With courses and activities designed to enhance understanding and appreciation of music, Lewis & Clark’s music faculty strive to establish music as a perpetually enriching element in the lives of their students.

Wind symphony The Music Major

Majors study musicianship, literature, and theory, and take weekly lessons in their performance area. Ensemble participation further develops skills in group music-making and allows students to broaden their knowledge of repertoire and performance styles.

Students find unusual opportunities to integrate musical studies with activities on Lewis & Clark’s overseas or off-campus study programs. The music department leads a spring-semester program to London every other year. Students have also studied music as part of other overseas programs.

Our innovative music curriculum allows students to personalize their study, working closely with a faculty adviser on their course selections and a senior project. For many students, this work culminates in a performance or composition recital, a musicology or ethnomusicology thesis, or even a hybrid lecture-recital. 

Opportunities for nonmajors

All of our music courses, ensembles, and lessons are available to non-majors as well. Introductory offerings include Sound and Sense: Understanding Music, Music Theory Fundamentals, Jazz Appreciation, Workshops in World Music. Upper-level courses are open to any interested student with the appropriate prerequisites. Course sizes range from five students (at the upper level) to 50 students (at the introductory level). Non-majors are also encouraged to participate in the many ensembles on campus.  

Examples of student research and independent projects

  • “Listen Carefully: Humanism and Political Commentary in the Music of John Adams”.
  • A concert of music for orchestra, band, and chamber ensembles.
  • A premiere of a student-composed opera. 

Examples of positions obtained and graduate schools attended by music alumni

  • Chairman, Universal Classics Group
  • Director of Education Programs, San Francisco Symphony
  • Education and Community Engagement Manager, Oregon Symphony
  • Assistant Editor, Wieden and Kennedy
  • Intern, Frank Salomon Associates, Artists management.
  • Professor of Music, College of William and Mary
  • Graduate fellowships in Musicology at institutions including UCLA, the University of Michigan, and Princeton University
  • Music degrees (M.M. and D.MA) at Indiana University, University of British Columbia, University of Iowa, and others
  • High school band director, college choir director, and private lesson teachers
  • Graduate student instructorship in Choral Conducting at the University of Michigan

Recent guest artists and performers

  • Augusta Read Thomas, composer and educator
  • James Galway, flute performer and instructor
  • Maria Guinand, Venezuelan choral conductor
  • Morten Lauridsen, composer
  • Roomful of Teeth, vocal ensemble
  • Al-Andalus, Moroccan music group
  • Third Angle, new music ensemble
  • Portland Chamber Orchestra, multi-arts orchestra
  • Resonance Ensemble, vocal ensemble
  • John O’Conor, Edmund Battersby, Evelyn Brancart, pianists
  • David Dzubay, composer
  • W. Francis McBeth, Frank Ticheli, Guy Woolfenden and other well known band composers
  • Kurt Rosenwinkel, jazz guiarist
  • Anonymous 4, medieval vocal quartet
  • Joshua Redman, jazz saxophonist
  • Cyrus Chestnut, jazz pianist
  • John Scofield, jazz guitarist
  • Brave New Works, new music ensemble
  • Seattle New Music Ensemble
  • Alexander String Quartet
  • Duo Solo, flute and piano duo