Home > About Us
The School of Music at The University of British Columbia is the largest school of its kind in western Canada. The study of music was introduced at UBC as early as 1935, with noon-hour lectures and recorded recitals. The first formal courses, offered through the Department of Extension, were introduced during the war years.
In 1947, the noted Canadian violinist Harry Adaskin was appointed Head of a new Department of Music. Expansion followed under his leadership with the appointments of composers Jean Coulthard and Barbara Pentland. Then in 1958, Welton Marquis was appointed Head with the mandate of initiating a range of music degree programs. The first class of Bachelor of Music students entered the Department in September, 1959.
Talented and committed administrators cultivated enormous growth in ensuing years. Three noted scholars, Donald McCorkle, Wallace Berry and William Benjamin, followed by the renowned pianist Robert Silverman, bassoonist Jesse Read and current Director theory scholar Dr. Richard Kurth, have seen their efforts result in a considerable increase in numbers of faculty, students, course offerings and levels of activity. Particularly notable is the recent expansion in graduate programs, rounding out a program of high standard and broad scope. Recognition of the increased scope was given in 1986 when the Department of Music became the School of Music.
Today, with a faculty of distinguished composers, scholars and performers, the School of Music produces graduates who work in all aspect of the music industry from high profile artists and composers such as opera stars Ben Heppner and Judith Forst, and internationally acclaimed composers such as Paul Steenhuisen and John Estacio to members of orchestras and chamber ensembles around the world. Non performance graduates, less in the public eye but as important, are the hundreds of graduates who write, research and teach, at universities, public schools and privately as well as graduates working behind the scenes in concert production, broadcasting, arts management and the recording and film industries.