Music at Pomona College: A World of Opportunity

  1. Distinguished faculty—an unusually large number for a small liberal arts college.
  2. Full roster of performing ensembles committed to high quality performance of a wide variety of music. 
  3. Equal access to performing opportunities and individual study for all students—not just for music majors. 
  4. Excellent facilities and extensive collection of Western and non-Western musical instruments available for student use.
  5. Array of free concerts, lecture/demonstrations and other presentations by guest artists, faculty members, and students. 
  6. A broadly designed curriculum combining Western and non-Western music, and designed to prepare students for further study in fields of music including performance, history, theory, composition, and ethnomusicology, or for non-music related careers.
  7. Opportunities for close collaboration with faculty members in performance and research projects. 

There are over 1000 enrollments in Music Department classes, ensembles, and lessons each year. It is not necessary to major in music to participate in the Department’s musical offerings! 


  • FACULTY: Pomona has nine full-time faculty, all active performers with national and international visibility, and with a wide variety of specializations in performance, composition, music history, music theory, and ethnomusicology. There are also nearly 30 part-time performance faculty, all of whom are active in Southern California and elsewhere.
  • ENSEMBLES: Our Western ensembles (Choir, Glee Club, Orchestra, Concert Band, and Jazz Ensemble) perform an ambitious range of standard repertoire and newer music. The Orchestra presents masterpieces by such composers as Beethoven, Brahms, Dvořák, Tchaikovsky, Mahler, Stravinsky, and Shostakovich. Collaborative efforts between the Orchestra and Choir include large works such as the Mozart and Brahms Requiems and Borodin’s Polovtsian Dances. The advanced chamber choir, the Glee Club, tours annually at the end of the spring semester; recent destinations have included Italy, Poland, England, Germany, the Czech Republic, Hawaii, New York, and Washington, D.C. Our non-Western ensembles (Balinese Gamelan, Afro-Cuban Music Ensemble, and the West African Music Ensemble) cultivate music making in oral traditions having highly integrative textures of sound and movement, while developing knowledge of repertoire and styles belonging to particular cultural-geographic regions. 
  • PERFORMING OPPORTUNITIES AND INDIVIDUAL STUDY: Individual private lessons with members of the faculty and membership in ensembles are open to all students. Lessons and ensembles earn academic credit. They can be taken to fulfill general education requirements and many students choose to participate during their entire time on campus. More accomplished students are eligible to perform in public student recitals offered several times each semester. Lessons are offered without an additional fee for students enrolled at any of Claremont’s five undergraduate colleges.
  • ADDITIONAL PERFORMING OPPORTUNITIES: The Department offers additional performing opportunities for advanced students, including the Pomona College Orchestra’s annual Concerto Competition, senior recitals, and master classes with visiting artists. Financial support is available for participating in summer programs.


  • EXCELLENT FACILITIES: The Music Department’s facilities include our 550-seat concert hall, Bridges Hall of Music, that serves as the rehearsal and performance venue for the large student ensembles, faculty, and guest artists. It houses two 9-foot Steinway grand pianos and the Hill Memorial Organ, a 3-manual, 41-stop C.B. Fisk pipe organ. Thatcher Music Building contains over 40 Steinway pianos and 2 more pipe organs, distributed between the 250-seat Lyman Recital Hall, classrooms, practice rooms, teaching studios and offices. It also contains the Ussachevsky Electronic Music Studio and the Victor Montgomery Music Library. Rembrandt Building, across the garden just south of Thatcher, hosts additional studio space, a classroom, a piano lab, and additional rehearsal space.


  • CONCERTS AND OTHER PRESENTATIONS: The Department averages 70 concerts and other presentations each year, featuring our own faculty, students, and prominent guest artists; all are open to the public and are free of charge. In addition to standard repertoire, Pomona students explore new and experimental music and have collaborated with colleagues in Theater and Dance. The annual Ussachevsky Memorial Festival combines live performance and electronic music, and students are regularly involved in premiering works composed by students as well as those by faculty members.

Beyond Performance

  • THE MUSIC CURRICULUM, which is open to musicians and non-musicians alike, is broadly constructed to include theory, history, ethnomusicology, composition, and performance. Popular courses include Engaging Music, Music Theory, Introduction to World Music, Listening to American Popular Music, Listening to Queer Voices in Music, and History of Jazz. Music majors and minors are prepared for a wide variety of careers both in music and in non-related fields. Some students have pursued graduate work in music at prestigious institutions such as Harvard University, Eastman School of Music, the University of Michigan, the University of Southern California, and Yale University. Others have gone on to diverse careers in medicine, law, business, and non-profit work. Many alumni are active throughout the world as professional performers, composers, scholars, and teachers.
  • ALL STUDENTS INVOLVED IN THE MUSIC DEPARTMENT can work closely with faculty and peers, with opportunities for collaboration in research projects, chamber music, and specially designed concerts. Many collaborations arise from interests shared by students and their faculty mentors. 

Prospective students who intend to participate within the department in lessons or ensembles should submit a music supplement with their application so that the music faculty can assess their abilities.