The Tradition of Music at Queens College

The Department of Music at Queens College was established in 1938, one year after the founding of the College. As Queens College grew the department grew into one of the most viable and distinguished university music departments, thanks to the abilities and foresight of its early faculty and administration. Some graduates of the earlier years eventually occupied music chairs at Harvard, Princeton and Yale, some others became successful Broadway or film composers, and still others became music editors, performers, and highly trained school music teachers. Graduate work on the Masters level in music and music education was introduced in the 1960s and has expanded steadily since then.

In 1961, the music department moved into its own building, Rathaus Hall, adjacent to Colden Center for the Performing Arts. An undergraduate performance degree, the Bachelor of Music, with a major either in voice or an instrument, was introduced in 1967, and the graduate program was modified to include performance in 1971.

In 1976, when the City University of New York became officially an agency of New York State, the undergraduate colleges, including Queens College, introduced tuition charges. Admission to the undergraduate programs was made available to New York State residents on the same basis as New York City residents, and to out-of-state and foreign undergraduates as well. This has enriched the College as a whole with a broader and more diversified student body, and this has been particularly true in the music programs.

By 1981, when the department of music became officially the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College, it was apparent that larger and more appropriate quarters were needed. The new music building was occupied in the summer of 1991.

The Aaron Copland School of Music today is continuing its mission of educating and training musicians and teachers, adhering to the standards of its former and present faculty, and looking forward to meeting the challenges of a changing world of music and education successfully and creatively.

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