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NDSU inaugurates the School of Music

Posted on 10/4/2012

NDSU announces the creation of the NDSU School of Music. On September 26, the North Dakota State Board of Higher Education formally changed the name of the Department of Music to the School of Music, signifying its far-reaching mission encompassing a broad-based curriculum that includes professional doctoral programs in performance and conducting.

"This notable and important designation more accurately reflects both the depth and breadth of our music program, and the importance of a broad-based curriculum in defining a top-ranked research university," said NDSU President Dean L. Bresciani.

The NDSU School of Music offers undergraduate degrees in liberal studies, performance and music education; master's degrees in performance, conducting and music education; and doctor of musical arts degrees in performance and conducting.

"NDSU Music has had a long history of service to the region, the profession and the arts," said NDSU Director of the Division of Fine Arts John Miller. "The School of Music designation is not reflective of a change in what we do, but a new name that characterizes what we have been doing for the past several years - offering meaningful musical kinships with all its audiences, whether local or global."

The NDSU music program began in 1904 with C.S. "Doc" Putnam, a medical doctor from Casselton, N.D., who formed the North Dakota Agricultural College cadet band, which became known as the Gold Star Marching Band in 1923 after numerous gold-star ratings during ROTC inspections. The Department of Music officially became a four-year degree program in 1952 and offered a major in music for the first time in campus history. NDSU Music began offering professional master's and doctoral degrees in 2002. It is the only performance and conducting doctoral program in North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho and western Minnesota.

A yearlong series of events is planned in commemoration of the inauguration of the School of Music, including residencies by noted musical artists and gala concerts at the Ordway Center for Performing Arts in St. Paul, Minn., on March 12, 2013, and again at Festival Concert Hall at NDSU on March 25. A number of commissions and commemorative events will occur throughout the year, highlighted by a full production of Mozart's "Magic Flute," and a scholarly and performance symposium in the spring. The NDSU Music Symposium, Choral Music of the Americas, will feature composers and conductors from North America and South America in this weeklong series of workshops, clinics and performances. The American Choral Directors Association and NDSU Division of Fine Arts will sponsor the symposium. Further, a commemorative book - "Music at NDSU" - is in preparation by Professor Robert Groves and will provide a documentary and pictorial history.

For more information, contact NDSU School of Music at 701-231-9564 or

NDSU is recognized as one of the nation's top 108 public and private universities by the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education.

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