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 repertoire of music. 
  3. Equal access to performing opportunities and individual study for all students – not just music majors. 
  4. Additional performing opportunities for outstanding students (not restricted to majors) both on and off campus. 
  5. Excellent facilities and extensive collection of Western and non-Western musical instruments available for student use.
  6. Array of free concerts, lecture/demonstrations and other presentations by guest artists, faculty members, and students. 
  7. Broadly designed curriculum which includes music theory, history, ethnomusicology, composition and performance. 
  8. A rigorous music major 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.
  9. 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 eight full-time faculty, all active performers, with a wide variety of specializations (including performance, composition, music history, music theory and ethnomusicology) and national and international visibility. There are also more than 30 part-time faculty, all of them active performers in Southern California.
  • ENSEMBLES: Our Western ensembles (Pomona College Choir, Glee Club, Pomona College Orchestra, Concert Band, Jazz Ensemble) perform an ambitious range of standard repertoire and newer music at a very high level. 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 Verdi Requiems and Borodin’s Polovtsian Dances. The elite chamber choir, the Glee Club, tours annually at the end of the spring semester; recent destinations include Italy, Poland, England, Germany, the Czech Republic, Hawaii, New York, and Washington, D.C. Performing opportunities in non-Western ensembles include the Balinese Gamelan, the Afro-Cuban Music Ensemble and the Ghanaian West African Ensemble. 
  • PERFORMING OPPORTUNITIES AND INDIVIDUAL STUDY: Individual 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 of the Claremont Undergraduate Colleges. 
  • ADDITIONAL PERFORMING OPPORTUNITIES: Additional performing opportunities for outstanding students include the Pomona College Orchestra’s annual Concerto Competition, Junior and Senior Recitals, and master classes with visiting artists. Financial support is available for participating in summer programs. 


  • EXCELLENT FACILITIES include Bridges Hall of Music with 550 seats, which 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. The 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 Electronic Music Studio and the Montgomery Music Library. The Rembrandt Building, across the garden just south of Thatcher Music Building, hosts additional studio space, a classroom, a piano lab and additional rehearsal space.


  • CONCERTS AND OTHER PRESENTATIONS, numbering around 70 each year, feature our own faculty, students and prominent guest artists and are open to the public free of charge. In addition to the 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 student compositions and those of 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, and History of Jazz
  • THE MUSIC MAJOR allows for individualized attention to students. Many move on to prestigious graduate programs in music, which in recent years have included Harvard University, Yale University, Eastman School of Music, the University of Michigan, and the University of Minnesota. Others pursue graduate studies in diverse fields including medicine, law, and business. Alumni are active throughout the world as professional performers, composers, scholars and teachers. 
  • STUDENT/FACULTY COLLABORATION. The Music Department provides opportunities for close collaboration between students and faculty in research projects, chamber music and specially designed concerts. These collaborations arise from interest 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.