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Music at Pomona

The Pomona College Orchestra and Choir performing together
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The Department of Music

Visit the official website of the Music Department.

For the musically inclined, opportunities at Pomona to study, perform or simply listen to music abound. Each year, nearly 500 Pomona students participate in musical ensembles, classes or private lessons through the College’s Department of Music. Many more attend the frequent free concerts, music lectures and master classes that take place throughout the year.

Pomona’s rigorous music major combines Western and non-Western music, preparing students for further study in all fields of music, including performance, history, theory, composition and ethnomusicology. Our music curriculum includes courses ranging from the History of Jazz to A Survey of Western Music, and from Beethoven to Electronic Music Studio.  The program offers opportunities for close collaboration between students and their professors, both in performance and in research projects.

Private Lessons

Pomona offers private instrumental and vocal lessons for beginning to advanced students, given by faculty specialists in voice, organ, piano, harpsichord, violin, viola, violoncello, string bass, flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, saxophone, French horn, trumpet, trombone, tuba and euphonium, guitar, timpani and percussion, and harp. These specialists include both full-time faculty and adjunct faculty who are active performers, regularly performing as soloists and with such acclaimed ensembles as the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and Los Angeles Opera.

Ensembles

Pomona College's musical ensembles, which draw their membership from all the Claremont Colleges and the local community, present concerts of high caliber each semester. They are open to all qualified students regardless of major. The list currently includes the Pomona College Choir, Glee Club, Pomona College Orchestra, Concert Band, Jazz Ensemble, Balinese Gamelan, and various chamber groups. A second non-Western music ensemble changes its emphasis from year to year, and its focus has included West African drumming and dance, Flamenco guitar and percussion, North Indian tabla, and Hindustani music. Music students benefit from superb concert halls and practice facilities, a variety of pipe organs, numerous Steinway pianos, and a collection of string and wind instruments.

Facilities

Mabel Shaw Bridges Hall of Music has historically been the center of musical activities at the College and is considered one of the campus’s architectural gems. The performance venue for many of the Department of Music’s ensembles and guest artists, Little Bridges, as it is commonly called, features exceptional acoustics for every kind of music, from solo musicians to orchestras. It is also the home of the Hill Memorial Organ.

The Thatcher Music Building includes offices and studios for the Music Department; Bryant Hall for ensemble rehearsals; the Victor Montgomery Music Library; the Ussachevsky Electronic Music Studio; practice rooms; KSPC 88.7, the college FM-radio station; and a 250-seat recital space, the Ralph H. Lyman Hall.

Bridges Auditorium is a larger venue that has brought famous performers of all kinds to campus for more than eight decades. Among the musicians who have performed there are such famous names as Andres Segovia, Ella Fitzgerald, Beverly Sills, and Benny Goodman. More recent additions to that list include Third Eye Blind, John Mayer and Willie Nelson.

Pomona's music buildings contain outstanding pipe organs. In addition to the Hill Memorial Organ, a three-manual organ built by C.B. Fisk housed in the Bridges Hall of Music, Thatcher has a two-manual Moeller practice organ, a three-manual Von Beckerath organ, and a 10-rank Flentrop tracker-action practice organ. Additionally, the College is an all-Steinway school and the department boasts nearly 50 pianos, including 16 seven-foot pianos and four nine-foot concert grand pianos.

Faculty

Pomona College boasts 10 full-time faculty members, all active performers, with a wide variety of specializations (including performance, composition, music history, music theory and ethnomusicology) and national and international visibility. In addition to performing, many have received a variety of awards, published articles and books, and recorded numerous CDs with various labels. In addition, the program welcomes approximately 30 adjunct faculty each year, all of them active performers throughout Southern California.

Events

Pomona's Music Department offers a full and varied calendar of performances, lectures and master classes, free of charge, featuring visiting artists, faculty and students, throughout the academic year. These programs present a wide range of experiences for both students and community members, blending new music and old, with Western and non-Western traditions. The department also presents the Friday Noon Concert Series at Balch Auditorium on the Scripps College campus, where Pomona and Scripps faculty and friends perform together in lunchtime concert. Recent events include the annual Ussachevsky Memorial Electronic Music Festival, a bluegrass concert with Grammy award-winning fiddler Richard Greene, The Millennium Consort Singers led by famed organist and conductor Martin Neary, and Japanese drummer Kenny Endo. In addition, Bridges Auditorium brings to campus each year a range of popular performers for major concerts, including in recent years such diverse musical talents as Fiona Apple, Dave Matthews, Black Eyed Peas, Violent Femmes and Taylor Swift.

Opportunities in Southern California

Southern California offers remarkable opportunities for music lovers of every interest. From famous venues such as the Disney Concert Hall, the Los Angeles Music Center and the Hollywood Bowl to jazz clubs like Claremont’s own Hip Kitty, there are countless live performance spaces in the area, providing music to match any taste or experimental urge. 

For Prospective Students

All courses offered by the Music Department, including private lessons and ensembles, are open to all students regardless of major and are available for academic credit, and Pomona does not require students to audition to become music majors. However, if you are planning to participate in the Music Department’s offerings, we recommend that you submit an Arts Supplement to the Admissions Office by the application deadline. Information is available on the Admissions website under Special Interest Supplements. Regularly asked questions and additional Arts Supplement information is also available on the Music Department’s home page.