Mission Collage

KU's School of Music was established as the School of Fine Arts academic unit in 1891 as one of the first national institutions to offer professional degrees in the arts. The School of Fine Arts became the School of Music in July 2009.

The School of Music at the University of Kansas strives to offer a comprehensive array of programs of study at the bachelor's, master's and doctoral levels. The School offers required coursework to students wishing to pursue a profession in music or those pursuing related programs of study on campus. The School also offers elective opportunities for music study to the overall student body.

The School of Music seeks to nurture and advance the art of music through creation, performance, scholarly inquiry, entrepreneurship and enhancement of the artistic skills and experiences of the University and regional cultural communities. Nurturing and advancement occur via outstanding teaching, mentorship, quality research and creative endeavors and service to professional and lay constituencies.

The School is a major contributor to the arts community through student, faculty, and professional performances in Swarthout Recital Hall, Bales Organ Recital Hall, the Robert Baustian Theatre and the Lied Center of Kansas.

The University of Kansas is a charter member of the National Association of Schools of Music (1928) and is the only institution authorized by the Kansas Board of Regents to grant doctoral degrees in music. The KU School of Music, located in Lawrence, KS, was ranked in the top 50 public universities in the nation for best educational value, according to Princeton Review (2010).


At A Glance

BandsKU Wind Ensemble

The KU Bands are a diversified group of performing ensembles. The Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Band, and University Band provide an opportunity to perform the widest possible range of concert wind and band literature from the traditional to the experimental. Nationally recognized and award-winning directors continually provide new challenges for all levels of performers. The band program is also home to the Sudler Award-winning Marching Jayhawks and the bands for both the men's and women's basketball teams.

For more information, visit KU Bands

Brass & PercussionKU Brass & Percussion

The KU School of Music Brass & Percussion Division is part of the School of Music, which is home to a nationally and internationally known faculty of music educators, performers, directors, recording artists, musicologists and theorists. Most division activities take place in Murphy Hall, an impressive facility that contains Swarthout Recital Hall, Gorton Music Library, the Robert Baustian Theatre, the McCurdy Jazz Studio and refurbished practice rooms. The larger ensembles perform in the Lied Center, a 2,020-seat performing arts hall with state-of-the-art production capabilities.

For more information, visit Brass & Percussion

ChoirsKU Choirs

If you want to sing, there is a place for you in the KU Choirs. Organizations such as the Chamber Choir, University Singers, Concert Choir, Oread Consort, Women's Chorale, Men's Glee Club, and others provide extraordinary and widely varied opportunities for the choral singer. In addition to the standard choral programs, these groups perform with the KU Symphony Orchestra in the Holiday Vespers program.

For more information, visit Choral

JazzKU Jazz Studies

The KU Jazz Studies program offers performance opportunities for both the instrumentalist and the singer. Three large jazz ensembles, eight combos, and two vocal jazz groups form the core of these opportunities. Down Beat award-winning Jazz Ensemble I, Jazz Singers, and Fusion Combo set the standard for jazz performance in Kansas and throughout the country.

For more information, visit Jazz

Music Education & Music TherapyKU Music Education & Music Therapy

Music education and music therapy at KU are recognized as among the finest programs in the world.

We offer degrees and programs in music education including the bachelor's, the master's, and the doctoral. Our degrees and programs in music therapy include bachelor's, graduate equivalency, master's, and doctoral.

National Association of Schools of Music and North Central Association of Secondary Schools and Colleges accredit our programs. The music education programs are also accredited by the Kansas State Department of Education and the music therapy programs are accredited through the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA).

Fore more information, visit Music Education & Music Therapy

Music Theory & Music CompositionKU Music Theory & Music Composition

The Division of Music Theory and Composition within KU's School of Music features internationally and nationally accomplished composers and scholars, and offers degrees in music theory and music composition at the bachelor's, master's, and doctoral levels.

For more information, visit Music Therapy & Music Composition



MusicologyKU Musicology

The Division of Musicology offers the BM degree in music history, the BA degree with a concentration in music history, the MM in musicology, and the PhD in music (musicology).

The faculty members in the Division cultivate a wide number of research interests. Paul Laird has published books on the Spanish villancico, Leonard Bernstein, the Broadway musical, and the revival of the baroque cello. He also directs the Instrumental Collegium Musicum. Roberta Freund Schwartz's research specialties include the Spanish Renaissance, patronage, blues and rock. Colin Roust's interests include French music of the twentieth century, especially Georges Auric, film music, and music history pedagogy. Martin Nedbal's research specialty is opera in Vienna in the late Classic Era, especially those by Mozart. Ketty Wong, an ethnomusicologist, focuses on Latin American popular music and ballroom dancing in China.

For more information, visit Musicology

OrchestraKU Orchestra

The Kansas University Symphony Orchestra (KUSO) studies and performs standard orchestral repertoire and 20th century masterworks and combines with the choral ensembles for the annual productions of the Holiday Vespers. It also performs as part of the KU Opera productions. A distinguished and internationally renowned faculty create a rich and varied program for this organization.

For more information, visit Orchestra

Organ & Church MusicKU Organ

The history of organ and church music study at the University of Kansas is long and distinguished. From modest beginnings in 1867, it has grown into one of the largest programs in the country. With degree programs at the bachelor's, master's, and doctoral levels, exceptional facilities and instruments, and distinguished faculty, the University of Kansas offers an extraordinary educational opportunity for anyone wishing to study and pursue careers in organ performance, teaching, or church music. 

For more information, visit Organ & Church Music

PianoKU Piano

The history of the KU Piano Division is also a musical history of the state of Kansas itself. The first KU Dean of Fine Arts, William MacDonald, was a pianist who established the Department of Music in 1884 as well as founder and first president of the Kansas Music Teachers Association. In 1923 Donald Swarthout, a pianist and conductor, was appointed Dean of Fine Arts until 1950 and served as President of the Music Teachers National Association and Director of the KU Concert & Chamber Series, which became the foundation of the arts programming for the Lied Center. The appointment of the renowned composer and pianist Carl A. Preyer in 1903 marked the beginning of a distinguished roster of musicians who have served as faculty members of the KU Division of Piano.

For more information, visit Piano

StringsKU Strings

The String Division is comprised of nationally and internationally recognized artists. Students study with faculty who are in demand as featured soloists with orchestras and chamber ensembles throughout the United States and the world, and who are equally active as university faculty and master class teachers.

For more information, visit Strings


Voice & OperaKU Voice & Opera

The University of Kansas Opera program is led by a dynamic faculty who maintain active careers as singers, coaches, and directors. Productions range in scope from chamber-sized to full-scale opera with styles covering traditional to experimental, comedy to tragedy; and the varied performance venues include the Baustian Theatre and Swarthout Recital Hall. KU Opera and the KUSO join the University Theatre to create full-scale operas in the Crafton-Preyer Theatre. The distinctive opera productions offer a fresh style, a variety of directorial approaches, and exceptional quality.

For more information, visit Voice & Opera


The Division of Woodwinds in the School of Music is comprised of five full-time faculty, all of whom are artist-level performers and teachers of their instruments. Enrollment in private lessons with members of the woodwind faculty is open to all university students regardless of their major. Woodwind graduates have distinguished themselves within the music profession by achieving positions of leadership in colleges, universities, chamber ensembles, bands and orchestras throughout the country.

For more information, visit the Woodwinds

Performance Organizations

The School of Music offers an extraordinarily wide array of performance opportunities for the students at the University of Kansas. While most ensembles are composed primarily of majors, membership in everything is open by audition to any KU student.

Hundreds of public performances are presented each year by the School, ranging from solo recital and chamber music events to large ensemble and opera productions. If you want to perform, there is a place for you in the School of Music.

Specialized Groups

In addition to the many larger ensembles, the School of Music offers numerous other performance opportunities for its students. The Chamber Music program involves all students ranging from the traditional string quartet, piano trio, brass and woodwind quintets to the more unusual and experimental groupings of instruments. The Collegium Musicum offers both singers and instrumentalists the opportunity to study and perform Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque music. The New Music Ensemble performs 20th century classics as well as the newest compositions. The Trombone Choir, Horn Ensemble, Trumpet Ensemble, Sax Quartet, Tuba-Euphonium Consort, Percussion Ensemble, and other groups explore a wide range of literature written for these specialized groups.


Performing organizations at KU often receive invitations to perform at conventions, festivals, and special events throughout the nation and overseas. On numerous occasions these groups have performed at state, national, or international meetings of the International Association of Jazz Educators, College Band Directors National Association, National Conference to National Association for Music Education, Music Teachers National Association, American Bandmasters Association, Kansas Music Educators Association, Midwest International Band and Orchestra Clinic, National Bandmasters Association, the Montreaux and North Sea Jazz Festivals in Europe, Mid-America Dance Network, and many others. Additionally, our vocal and orchestral students continue to perform each summer in Eutin, Germany, as part of a summer music exchange.


School of Music Calendar
Music students present hundreds of public concerts every year
Students perform in KU choirs, concert bands, pep bands, ensembles, symphony orchestra, and jazz combos
The school owns one of the greatest jazz record collections in the world
KU Wind Ensemble performed the world premiere of the symphony "In the Shadow of No Towers" at Carnegie Hall
One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
44 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.