University Branding & Marketing > Facts & Stats > School of Music

School of Music

Dedicated to excellence in music teaching and performance, the School of Music has been offering high-caliber, challenging programs of musical and academic study since its founding in 1912.

Young student learning how to play the violin
  • The School of Music enrolled a total of 386 students for 2015-16 (245 undergrads, 141 master degree candidates, 33 performance certificate students and two teaching certification candidates). The selective enrollment is based on musical audition and academic ability.
  • The school's 120 full- and part-time faculty members bring a wealth of knowledge and professional music experience to DePaul. Faculty members perform in many of Chicago's renowned music institutions, including the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Lyric Opera of Chicago, the Chicago Chamber Musicians and numerous chamber music and jazz ensembles.
  • The school has produced more than 3,800 graduates. Musical artists who have studied at DePaul include the late Pulitzer Prize-winning composer George Perle, former Chicago Symphony Orchestra concertmaster Samuel Magad, Chicago Children's Choir Artistic Director Josephine Lee, Metropolitan Opera baritone Stephen Powell, jazz artists Brian Culbertson and Orbert Davis, members of the rock group Chicago and the late commercial music pioneer Dick Marx.
  • As part of the Many Dreams, One Mission Campaign for DePaul University, the School of Music and The Theatre School are seeking to raise $33 million to benefit scholarships and programmatic areas, in addition to funds specifically designated for new facilities.
  • Plans for the School of Music call for a new state-of-the-art facility, which will house a new concert hall. This new facility will occupy the site of the current McGaw Hall, which will be razed. The current School of Music administration building will be renovated and the current Concert Hall will be transformed into an opera hall that will serve as a training and performance facility for the opera program. Together these three facilities will fully address the physical space requirements of a world-class teaching and performing organization and will allow the School of Music to reach its full potential.

DePaul Jazz Ensemble
  • Benefiting from the school's strong connection to Chicago's vibrant music community, many students gain experience by performing with the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, Lyric Opera and Chicago Symphony Orchestra choruses. Students also intern with the city's professional recording studios and many of Chicago’s nonprofit arts organizations.
  • DePaul's stellar strings faculty includes Ilya Kaler, the only violinist ever to win gold medals at all three of the world's most prestigious music competitions — the Tchaikovsky, Sibelius and Paganini competitions — and Stephen Balderston, who joined the faculty in 2003 after a decade as assistant principal cello with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
  • The Jazz Ensemble has performed with famed jazz artists Phil Woods, Slide Hampton, Bobby Shew, Bob Brookmeyer, Tom Harrell, Louie Bellson, Byron Stripling, James Moody, Nancy Wilson, Clark Terry and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra. The band has been featured on professional recordings with many of these musicians.
  • School of Music alumna Janai Brugger won the Metropolitan Opera’s 2012 National Council Auditions. Each winner receives a cash prize of $15,000, as well as career exposure: the audience for the auditions includes influential opera executives, artist managers, and music critics, and some of the biggest stars in opera received their first major recognition as National Council Winners.

DePaul School of Music students playing during commencement.
  • Undergraduate and master's degrees are offered in performance, music composition, music education and jazz studies. Undergraduate degrees also are available in sound recording technology and performing arts management. A post-master's certificate in performance is offered.
  • The school presents more than 300 public performances in a variety of musical styles each year at the DePaul Concert Hall, Recital Hall and Student Center in Lincoln Park, DePaul's Merle Reskin Theatre in the South Loop and Orchestra Hall at Symphony Center.
  • Under the direction of distinguished conductor Cliff Colnot, the highly regarded DePaul Symphony Orchestra presents four concerts annually.
  • The DePaul Jazz Ensemble, composed of talented students from the school's award-winning jazz program directed by trumpeter Bob Lark, performs publicly throughout the academic year at jazz clinics and concerts. The group also has been a regular at the legendary Jazz Showcase nightclub, playing alongside some of the top names in the jazz world.
  • An annual recording project by the Jazz Ensemble, featuring student, faculty and commissioned works, also occurs each spring. The recordings that result have produced a number of awards from DownBeat magazine and the Jazz Educators Journal.
  • Directed by Harry Silverstein, the DePaul Opera Theatre presents three productions annually. Graduates of the opera program grace the stages of the Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera, Berlin Opera and Zurich Opera, as well as regional companies around the United States. Several have won major competitions, including the Metropolitan Opera's national competition.
  • Since 1994, juniors in the music education program have gained valuable experience teaching music at elementary schools in Chicago. Once a week during the entire academic year, the juniors each teach a classroom of grammar school children to sing; play instruments; and compose, read and appreciate music.
  • Led by Alan Salzenstein, students in the performing arts management program study music, liberal arts, theater, entrepreneurship and management, with a goal of entering the arts management and administration field.
  • Students in the sound recording technology program, coordinated by Tom Miller, complete many of their projects at a professional recording facility, where they are exposed to real-life recording-industry situations and have access to state-of-the-art equipment.
  • The music school fosters music ability and appreciation among children and adults from the community through its Community Music Division, which enrolls 650 students in after-school, evening and weekend lessons.

Ronald Caltabiano

Composer Ronald Caltabiano joined the School of Music as dean in July 2016. Previously, he served as dean and professor for the Jordan College of Arts at Butler University in Indianapolis, where he oversaw the areas of art, arts administration, dance, music, theatre and a community outreach program that reached 1,800 low-income youth annually.

During his tenure at Butler, Caltabiano managed the completion of and final fundraising for the Howard L. Schrott Center for the Arts, a 450-seat multi-arts venue and founded the Butler ArtsFest.

Caltabiano received his Bachelor of Music, Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees from The Juilliard School, where he studied with Elliott Carter and Vincent Persichetti. He first came to international attention in the early 1980s with his String Quartet No. 1, premiered in the U.K by the Arditti Quartet and in the U.S. by the Juilliard Quartet. A series of virtuoso solo pieces (double bass, cello, English horn, trombone, and violin) solidified his position among the leading American composers of his generation. Ensembles that have commissioned or performed his works include the San Francisco, Cincinnati and Dallas Symphony Orchestras, the BBC Symphony, the Hong Kong Sinfonietta, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, the Juilliard, Emerson and Arditti String Quartets, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and the Fires of London. Numerous labels have recorded his compositions; his works are published by Theodore Presser Co.

In addition to his career as a composer, Caltabiano has held academic and administrative positions at the Manhattan School of Music, Hong Kong Baptist University, the Peabody Conservatory at Johns Hopkins University, and the College of Creative Arts at San Francisco State University.


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