Schulich School of Music



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Schulich School of Music on Wikipedia
The Schulich School of Music
École de musique Schulich  (French)
Schulich Music Logo.gif
DeanJulie E. Cumming
StudentsApproximately 875
AddressStrathcona Music Building, 555 Sherbrooke Street West, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
McGill Wordmark.svg

The Schulich School of Music (also known as Schulich) is one of the constituent faculties of McGill University in Montréal, Canada. The faculty was named after benefactor Seymour Schulich.


  • 1 History
    • 1.1 Music at McGill – The Beginning
    • 1.2 McGill Conservatorium of Music
    • 1.3 Faculty of Music
    • 1.4 Faculty of Music and Conservatorium of Music (1957–1978)
    • 1.5 School Renamed - New Building
    • 1.6 Latest Developments
  • 2 Degrees and programs
    • 2.1 Performance
      • 2.1.1 Undergraduate Programs
      • 2.1.2 Graduate Programs
    • 2.2 Music Research
      • 2.2.1 Undergraduate Programs
      • 2.2.2 Graduate Programs
  • 3 Performing ensembles
    • 3.1 Orchestras
    • 3.2 Jazz
    • 3.3 Choral
    • 3.4 Opera McGill
    • 3.5 Other
  • 4 Facilities
  • 5 Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Music Media and Technology
  • 6 Notable people
  • 7 Schulich Visiting Scholar and Catherine Thornhill-Steele Chair
  • 8 Special events and conferences
  • 9 Photo gallery
  • 10 References
  • 11 External links

Music at McGill – The Beginning

Music teaching began in 1884, although the program was first reserved for women. In 1889, a teaching specialist was engaged at the request of the students by a gift from the university's Chancellor, Donald A. Smith, Lord Strathcona. In 1896, the Royal Victoria College for girls by Lord Strathcona was founded. In September 1899, the Royal Victoria College was opened, and pianist Clara Lichtenstein (1860–1946) arrived on the invitation of Lord Strathcona. In 1902, examinations of the Associate Board of the Royal Schools of Music of London were introduced.

McGill Conservatorium of Music

  • 1904 Introduction of the Licentiate diploma (LMus), Bachelor in Music degree (BMus), and Doctor in Music degree (DMus).
  • September 21, classes began in the Workman House with 426 students and 23 instructors.
  • October 14, official inauguration in the presence of the Governor General, Lord Minot, with a recital by violinist Albert Chamberland and pianist Ellen Ballon.
  • 1908 Appointment of Harry Crane Perrin, organist of Canterbury Cathedral, as professor and director.
  • 1908 McGill's first university symphonic ensemble is created.
  • 1909 Set-up of McGill's own system of music examinations.
  • 1911 Charles Henry Mills receives the first DMus degree, for composition.
  • 1917 Endowment through a generous gift from Sir William Macdonald permitting the establishment of a faculty of music.

Faculty of Music

  • 1920 April 26, establishment of the Faculty of Music. Perrin combined the duties of director of the conservatory and dean of the faculty. Premises, professors and budget were shared.
  • 1949 First Music honorary degree to Sir Thomas Beecham.
  • Re-organization (1955–1957)
  • 1955 Douglas Clarke retires. Marvin Duchow is acting dean of the faculty and director of the conservatory. Three departments were created within the faculty: Theory, Keyboard and Voice, Instrumental. The conservatorium was divided into a senior department, with courses leading to diplomas, and a junior department, its courses confined to basic musical training.
  • 1956 The McGill Opera Studio is founded by Luciano and Edith Della Pergola

Faculty of Music and Conservatorium of Music (1957–1978)

  • The two institutions shared staff, budget and premises.
  • 1964 Helmut Blume named dean of the Faculty of Music. He served until 1979 and oversaw the school's early development into one of Canada's major music schools.
  • 1964 The Electronic music Studio is established under the direction of István Anhalt.
  • 1966 The McGill Conservatorium of Music becomes the McGill Preparatory School of Music.
  • 1968 Introduction of the MMA degree in music for composition and musicology.
  • 1970 Introduction of the MMA degree in music for theory.
  • 1970 The two institutions were separated, but remained under the same direction until 1978.
  • 1971 Both institutions moved to the Royal Victoria College, which was renovated and renamed the Strathcona Music Building.
  • 1975 Introduction of the MMA degree in performance.
  • 1975 The Pollack Concert Hall opened on April 10.
  • 1976-7 The Faculty's MMA degrees become the MMus in Composition, the MMus in Performance, the MA in Theory and the MA in Musicology.
  • 1978 The Preparatory School becomes the McGill Conservatory of Music.
  • 1978 The PhD programs in Musicology, Music Theory, and Music Education are introduced.
  • 1979 Introduction of the MMus in Sound Recording.
  • 1981 McGill becomes the first university in Canada to offer a BMus degree in jazz performance.
  • 1981 The Hellmuth Wolff organ, a French classical model with mechanical action, is inaugurated in Redpath Hall.
  • 1989 The McGill Opera Studio is renamed Opera McGill, with Bernard Turgeon as director and Timothy Vernon as conductor.
  • 2003 Construction begins on the new facilities for the Faculty of Music.
  • 2004 The Faculty of Music celebrates 100 Years of Music at McGill.

School Renamed - New Building

  • 2005 The New Music Building is opened and the Faculty of Music changes its name to the Schulich School of Music of McGill University.
  • 2008 Renovations begin on the practice rooms located in the East Wing.
  • 2009 Renovations on the East Wing practice and ensemble rooms are completed.
  • 2010 Inaugural season of the McGill International String Quartet Academy

Latest Developments

  • 2015 New Music Building renamed the Elizabeth Wirth Music Building following McGill Alumna Elizabeth Wirth's landmark donation of $7.5 million

Undergraduate Programs

  • Bachelor of Music (BMus) in Early Music, Guitar, Jazz, Orchestral Instruments, Organ/Harpsichord, Piano, Voice and Opera
  • Licentiate in Music (LMus) in Early Music, Guitar, Jazz, Orchestral Instruments, Organ/Harpsichord, Piano, Voice and Opera

Graduate Programs

  • Master of Music (MMus) in Conducting, Early Music, Guitar, Jazz, Orchestral Instruments, Organ/Harpsichord, Piano, Voice and Opera
  • Artist Diploma in Early Music, Guitar, Jazz, Orchestral Instruments, Organ/Harpsichord, Piano, Voice and Opera
  • Doctor of Music (DMus) in Conducting, Early Music, Guitar, Jazz, Orchestral Instruments, Organ/Harpsichord, Piano, Voice and Opera


  • Early Music

Undergraduate Programs

  • Bachelor of Music (BMus) in Composition, Music Education, Music History and Music Theory

Graduate Programs

  • Master of Music (MMus) in Composition and Sound Recording
  • Master of Arts (M.A) in Music Education, Music History/Musicology
  • Doctor of Music (DMus) in Composition
  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Composition, Music Education, Music History/Musicology, Music Technology, Music Theory and Sound Recording


  • Music Entrepreneurship
  • Musical Applications of Technology
  • Music Science and Technology
  • Composition
  • Music History
  • Music Theory
  • Music Education


  • McGill Symphony Orchestra (MGSO)
  • Contemporary Music Ensemble (CME)
  • McGill Wind Orchestra (MWO)
  • Baroque Orchestra
  • Beethoven Orchestra


  • Jazz Orchestra I
  • Jazz Orchestra II
  • Chamber Jazz Ensemble
  • Jazz Rhythm Section Ensembles
  • Jazz Vocal Workshop (Jazz Choir)
  • Jazz Combos


  • University Chorus
  • Schulich Singers
  • Concert Choir
  • Cappella Antica

Opera McGill

Opera McGill was hailed by Opera Canada magazine as "the premiere program in Canada."[1] Every year, Opera McGill produces at least three operas on the Pollack Hall stage. It collaborates with the Early Music Program at Schulich to produce a baroque opera (accompanied by period instruments and in period tunings). In 2016, the program celebrated its 60th anniversary.


  • Chamber Music
  • Early Music Ensembles
  • Song Interpretation
  • Guitar Ensemble
  • Piano Ensembles
  • Percussion Ensemble
  • Tabla Ensemble


The Schulich School of Music has two main buildings on campus. The Strathcona Music Building and the Elizabeth Wirth Music Building.

The Strathcona Music Building was originally home to the Royal Victoria College, the women's College of McGill University. Presently, the building has two wings referred to as the Center Wing and the East Wing. The Center Wing is home to a concert hall (Pollack Hall), a small recital hall (Clara Lichenstein Recital Hall), a large lecture room, teaching studios, class rooms and ensemble rehearsal spaces. Pollack Hall is the largest performance venue at the Schulich School of Music with over 600 seats. The East Wing is situated in the middle of the Center wing of the Stracona Music Building and the New Music Building. The basement of the East Wing is home to the Music Undergraduate Students' Association office, the students' newspaper office (The Phonograph) and a student cafeteria. The second, third, four and fifth floors house the teaching assistants' offices and the practice rooms for instrumentalists, pianists and vocalists.

The Elizabeth Wirth Music Building (EWMB) (previously the New Music Building) was built in 2005 thanks to a $20 million gift from McGill grad Seymour Schulich. The building has 8 floors above ground and two below ground. The bottom floor is known as -2 (minus 2) and is home to the Wirth Opera Studio (named after Manfred and Eliza Wirth), the Music Multimedia Room (MMR) as well as smaller recording studios. The first floor is home to a spacious lobby. On the first and the second floor are entrances to Tanna Schulich Hall, an intimate performance venue which seats 187 people. The third, fourth and fifth floor of the EWMB are home to the Marvin Duchow Music Library. The Gertrude Whitley Performance Library and the Music Student Computer Room, which was updated during the fall of 2008, can also be found on the fifth floor. The sixth floor is reserved for faculty office spaces. The seventh floor is the home of the Schulich School of Music administration and the 8th floor is home to CIRMMT. On April 30, 2015, the building was officially inaugurated as the Elizabeth Wirth Music Building, thanks to a donation of $7.5 million from McGill Alumna Elizabeth Wirth.

Recitals and concerts are also frequently held at Redpath Hall on McGill University's main campus.

The Schulich School of Music occupies 148,650 sq. ft. of space. This includes:

  • 113 practice rooms
  • 13 classrooms
  • 10 ensemble rooms
  • Four performing halls: Pollack Hall, Redpath Hall, Tanna Schulich Hall, Clara Lichtenstein Hall
  • A state-of-the-art Music Multimedia Room
  • Wirth Opera Studio
  • The Marvin Duchow Music Library
  • The Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Music Media and Technology (CIRMMT)

817 instruments are available for student use at the Schulich School of Music. This includes:

  • 117 pianos
  • 55 electric pianos
  • 160 percussion
  • 485 woodwind, brass and string instruments

Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Music Media and Technology

The Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Music Media and Technology is known as CIRMMT, pronounced "kermit". CIRMMT is a multi-disciplinary research centre involving researchers at McGill University, the University of Montreal and the University of Sherbrooke. The centre hosts six state-of-the-art research labs on the eighth floor of the New Music Building. The Centre's research axes are:

  • sound modeling, acoustics and signal processing;
  • musical gestures, devices and motion capture;
  • musical information archiving and retrieval;
  • multimodal immersive systems;
  • music perception and cognition;
  • expanded musical practice.

Notable people

  • Taylor Brook, award-winning composer and musician
  • Gillian Keith, Canadian Soprano
  • Suzie LeBlanc, Canadian Soprano and Professor of Voice at Université de Montréal
  • Douglas Leopold, openly gay pioneer in Quebec television and radio
  • Jens Lindemann, Trumpet Soloist
  • Earl MacDonald, Director of Jazz Studies at the University of Connecticut, former musical director and pianist with Maynard Ferguson
  • Martin MacDonald, Resident Conductor with Symphony Nova Scotia
  • Geoffrey Moull, Music Director of the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra, Mentor of the Opera Program at Wilfrid Laurier University
  • Natasha Negovanlis, Canadian actress and singer
  • Donald Steven, composer, Juno Award for Classical Composition of the Year, Jules Léger Prize for New Chamber Music
  • Daniel Taylor, Canadian Countertenor, Director of the Theatre of Early Music, Adjunct Professor at the Schulich School of Music
  • Frédérique Vézina, Canadian Soprano
  • Darcy James Argue, award-winning jazz composer and band-leader

Schulich Visiting Scholar and Catherine Thornhill-Steele Chair

Previous visiting artists have included:

  • Dick Oatts, jazz saxophonist
  • Claire Chase, Flute
  • Eugene Rousseau, Saxophone
  • Pete Sullivan, Trombone
  • Steven Dann, Viola
  • Larry Combs, Clarinet (Former Principal Chicago Symphony Orchestra)
  • Carlo Colombo, Bassoon (Principal Orchestre de Opéra National de Lyon)
  • Renee Rosnes and Bill Charlap, piano
  • Jeanne Baxtresser, Flute (Former Principal with New York Philharmonic Orchestra)
  • Stefan Schilli, Oboe (Principal with Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra)
  • James Thompson, Trumpet (Former Principal Montreal Symphony Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Phoenix Symphony, State of Mexico Orchestra)
  • Jens Lindemann, Trumpet (Professor University of Los Angeles, California)
  • Stefan Dohr, Horn (Principal, Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra)
  • Jörgen Van Rijen, Trombone (Principal, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Amsterdam)
  • Gene Pokorny, Tuba (Principal, Chicago Symphony Orchestra)
  • Anton Kuerti, Piano

Special events and conferences

  • During the 2015-2016 concert season, the Schulich School of Music put on over 700 performances.[2]
  • For 30 years, the McGill/CBC concert series has delivered music to audiences across Canada.[3] It is reported to be the longest university/radio concert series in Canadian history.[citation needed]
  • From 2004-2010, the school hosted a contemporary music festival called the MusiMarch Festival.

Photo gallery


  1. ^ Opera Canada Quote
  2. ^ Concerts p.3 Retrieved December 15, 2008.
  3. ^ 30th Annual McGill/CBC Concert Series

External links

  • Schulich School of Music

Coordinates: 45°30′21″N 73°34′24″W / 45.50573°N 73.57345°W / 45.50573; -73.57345


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