Schulich School of Music

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The Schulich School of Music
École de musique Schulich  (French)
Schulich Music Logo.gif
DeanBrenda Ravenscroft
StudentsApproximately 875
Strathcona Music Building, 555 Sherbrooke Street West
, , ,

The Schulich School of Music (also known as Schulich) is one of the constituent faculties of McGill University in Montréal, Canada. The faculty was named after benefactor Seymour Schulich.[1]


Early history[edit]

Music teaching at the institution began in 1884, with a program reserved for women. In 1889, a teaching specialist was engaged at the request of the students by a gift from the university's Chancellor, Donald A. Smith, Lord Strathcona. In 1896, the Royal Victoria College for girls by Lord Strathcona was founded. In September 1899, the Royal Victoria College was opened, and pianist Clara Lichtenstein (1860–1946) arrived on the invitation of Lord Strathcona. In 1902, examinations of the Associate Board of the Royal Schools of Music of London were introduced.

McGill Conservatorium of Music[edit]

  • 1904 Introduction of the Licentiate diploma (LMus), Bachelor in Music degree (BMus), and Doctor in Music degree (DMus).
  • September 21, classes began in the Workman House with 426 students and 23 instructors.
  • October 14, official inauguration in the presence of the Governor General, Lord Minot, with a recital by violinist Albert Chamberland and pianist Ellen Ballon.
  • 1908 Appointment of Harry Crane Perrin, organist of Canterbury Cathedral, as professor and director.
  • 1908 McGill's first university symphonic ensemble is created.
  • 1909 Set-up of McGill's own system of music examinations.
  • 1911 Charles Henry Mills receives the first DMus degree, for composition.
  • 1917 Endowment through a generous gift from Sir William Macdonald permitting the establishment of a faculty of music.

Faculty of Music[edit]

  • 1920 April 26, establishment of the Faculty of Music. Perrin combined the duties of director of the conservatory and dean of the faculty. Premises, professors and budget were shared.
  • 1949 First Music honorary degree to Sir Thomas Beecham.
  • Re-organization (1955–1957)
  • 1955 Douglas Clarke retires. Marvin Duchow is acting dean of the faculty and director of the conservatory. Three departments were created within the faculty: Theory, Keyboard and Voice, Instrumental. The conservatorium was divided into a senior department, with courses leading to diplomas, and a junior department, its courses confined to basic musical training.
  • 1956 The McGill Opera Studio is founded by Luciano and Edith Della Pergola

Faculty of Music and Conservatorium of Music (1957–1978)[edit]

  • The two institutions shared staff, budget and premises.
  • 1964 Helmut Blume named dean of the Faculty of Music. He served until 1979 and oversaw the school's early development into one of Canada's major music schools.
  • 1964 The Electronic music Studio is established under the direction of István Anhalt.
  • 1966 The McGill Conservatorium of Music becomes the McGill Preparatory School of Music.
  • 1968 Introduction of the MMA degree in music for composition and musicology.
  • 1970 Introduction of the MMA degree in music for theory.
  • 1970 The two institutions were separated, but remained under the same direction until 1978.
  • 1971 Both institutions moved to the Royal Victoria College, which was renovated and renamed the Strathcona Music Building.
  • 1975 Introduction of the MMA degree in performance.
  • 1975 The Pollack Concert Hall opened on April 10.
  • 1976-7 The faculty's MMA degrees become the MMus in Composition, the MMus in Performance, the MA in Theory and the MA in Musicology.
  • 1978 The Preparatory School becomes the McGill Conservatory of Music.
  • 1978 The PhD programs in Musicology, Music Theory, and Music Education are introduced.
  • 1979 Introduction of the MMus in Sound Recording.
  • 1981 McGill becomes the first university in Canada to offer a BMus degree in jazz performance.
  • 1981 The Hellmuth Wolff organ, a French classical model with mechanical action, is inaugurated in Redpath Hall.
  • 1989 The McGill Opera Studio is renamed Opera McGill, with Bernard Turgeon as director and Timothy Vernon as conductor.
  • 2003 Construction begins on the new facilities for the Faculty of Music.
  • 2004 The Faculty of Music celebrates 100 Years of Music at McGill.

School renamed – new building[edit]

  • 2005 The New Music Building is opened and the Faculty of Music changes its name to the Schulich School of Music of McGill University.
  • 2008 Renovations begin on the practice rooms located in the East Wing.
  • 2009 Renovations on the East Wing practice and ensemble rooms are completed.
  • 2010 Inaugural season of the McGill International String Quartet Academy.[2]

Latest developments[edit]

  • 2015 New Music Building renamed the Elizabeth Wirth Music Building following McGill Alumna Elizabeth Wirth's landmark donation of $7.5 million

Degrees and programs[edit]


The performance programs at the Schulich School of Music are designed to train professional musicians of the highest standard. Each individual is encouraged to reach her or his potential as a performer through private lessons with renowned faculty as well as numerous performing opportunities with Schulich's ensembles. Schulich's performing ensembles' high levels of artistry are made possible by a corps of instrumental instructors. Additionally, every year, the school hosts a number of visiting artists and presents hundreds of concerts, workshops, master classes and other activities.

Undergraduate Programs in Performance[edit]

  • Bachelor of Music (BMus) in Early Music (Instruments and Voice), Faculty Program (Jazz or Classical), Guitar, Jazz (Instruments and Voice), Orchestral Instruments (Brass, Percussion, Strings, Woodwinds), Organ, Piano, Voice[3]
  • Licentiate in Music (LMus) in Early Music (Instruments and Voice), Guitar, Jazz (Instruments and Voice), Orchestral Instruments (Brass, Percussion, Strings, Woodwinds), Organ, Piano, Voice[4]

Double Majors and Double Degree

Bachelor of Music students can add a second major or degree to their program, either within the School of Music or at other faculties at McGill University[5]

Music Performance Minors[6]

  • Early Music
  • Conducting
  • Jazz Arranging and Composition
  • Jazz Performance
  • In addition to Music minors, B.Mus. students can add minors offered by other faculties at McGill University

Graduate Programs in Performance[7][edit]

  • Master of Music (MMus) in Conducting, Early Music (Instruments and Voice), Guitar, Jazz (instruments and Voice), Orchestral Instruments (Brass, Percussion, Strings, Woodwinds), Organ, Piano, Collaborative Piano, Voice and Opera
  • Graduate Diploma in Performance[8] and Artist Diploma[9] in Early Music (Instruments and Voice), Guitar, Jazz (Instruments and Voice), Orchestral Instruments (Brass, Percussion, Strings, Woodwinds), Organ, Piano, Voice and Opera
  • Graduate Certificate in Choral Conducting[10]
  • Doctor of Music (DMus) in Performance Studies[11] (Brass, Conducting, Early Music, Guitar, Jazz, Organ, Percussion, Piano, Strings, Voice and Opera, Woodwinds)

Music Research[edit]

The Music Research Department administers both undergraduate and graduate programs in Composition, Music Education, Music History / Musicology, Music Theory, a general music Faculty Program (classical or jazz concentration), Sound Recording, and Music Technology, as well as various undergraduate minor programs. The departmental faculty include some of the leading scholars and teachers in North America. It is the philosophy of the Schulich School of Music that all students should receive a substantial proportion of their instruction from full-time professorial staff rather than from teaching assistants. Every year, the Department hosts a broad range of public lectures and sponsors major conferences and symposia.

For students who wish to pursue a liberal arts education, the Department also administers the B.A. with a Major Concentration in Music (admission through the Faculty of Arts).

Undergraduate Programs in Music Research[3][edit]

  • Bachelor of Music (BMus) in Composition, Faculty Program (Classical or Jazz), Music Education, Music History/Musicology, Music Theory

Double Majors and Double Degree

Bachelor of Music students can add a second major or degree to their program, either within the School of Music or at other faculties at McGill University[5]

Music Research Minors

  • Composition
  • Music Education
  • Music Entrepreneurship
  • Music History / Musicology
  • Musical Applications of Technology
  • Music Science and Technology
  • Music Theory
  • In addition to Music minors, B.Mus. students can add minors offered by other faculties at McGill University

Graduate Programs in Music Research[edit]

Performing ensembles[edit]


  • McGill Symphony Orchestra (MGSO)
  • Contemporary Music Ensemble (CME)
  • McGill Wind Orchestra
  • Baroque Orchestra
  • Beethoven Orchestra


  • McGill Jazz Orchestra I
  • McGill Jazz Orchestra II
  • McGill Chamber Jazz Ensemble
  • Jazz Rhythm Section Ensembles
  • McGill Jazz Choir
  • Jazz Combos


  • McGill University Chorus
  • Schulich Singers
  • McGill Concert Choir
  • Cappella Antica

Opera McGill[edit]

Opera McGill was described by Opera Canada magazine as "the premiere program in Canada."[12] Every year, Opera McGill produces at least three operas on the Pollack Hall stage. It collaborates with the Early Music Program at Schulich to produce a baroque opera (accompanied by period instruments and in period tunings). In 2016, the program celebrated its 60th anniversary.


  • Chamber Music
  • Early Music Ensembles
  • Song Interpretation
  • Guitar Ensemble
  • Piano Ensembles
  • Percussion Ensemble
  • Tabla Ensemble


The Schulich School of Music has two main buildings on campus. The Strathcona Music Building and the Elizabeth Wirth Music Building.

The Strathcona Music Building was originally home to the Royal Victoria College, the women's College of McGill University. Presently, the building has two wings referred to as the Center Wing and the East Wing. The Center Wing is home to a concert hall (Pollack Hall), a small recital hall (Clara Lichenstein Recital Hall), a large lecture room, teaching studios, class rooms and ensemble rehearsal spaces. Pollack Hall is the largest performance venue at the Schulich School of Music with over 600 seats. The East Wing is situated in the middle of the Center wing of the Stracona Music Building and the New Music Building. The basement of the East Wing is home to the Music Undergraduate Students' Association office, the students' newspaper office (The Phonograph) and a student cafeteria. The second, third, four and fifth floors house the teaching assistants' offices and the practice rooms for instrumentalists, pianists and vocalists.

The Elizabeth Wirth Music Building (EWMB) (previously the New Music Building) was built in 2005 thanks to a $20 million gift from McGill grad Seymour Schulich. The building has 8 floors above ground and two below ground. The bottom floor is known as -2 (minus 2) and is home to the Wirth Opera Studio (named after Manfred and Eliza Wirth), the Music Multimedia Room (MMR) as well as smaller recording studios. The first floor is home to a spacious lobby. On the first and the second floor are entrances to Tanna Schulich Hall, an intimate performance venue which seats 187 people. The third, fourth and fifth floor of the EWMB are home to the Marvin Duchow Music Library. The Gertrude Whitley Performance Library and the Music Student Computer Room, which was updated during the fall of 2008, can also be found on the fifth floor. The sixth floor is reserved for faculty office spaces. The seventh floor is the home of the Schulich School of Music administration and the 8th floor is home to CIRMMT. On April 30, 2015, the building was officially inaugurated as the Elizabeth Wirth Music Building, thanks to a donation of $7.5 million from McGill Alumna Elizabeth Wirth.

Recitals and concerts are also frequently held at Redpath Hall on McGill University's main campus.

The Schulich School of Music occupies 148,650 sq. ft. of space. This includes:

  • 113 practice rooms
  • 13 classrooms
  • 10 ensemble rooms
  • Four performing halls: Pollack Hall, Redpath Hall, Tanna Schulich Hall, Clara Lichtenstein Hall
  • A state-of-the-art Music Multimedia Room
  • Wirth Opera Studio
  • The Marvin Duchow Music Library
  • The Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Music Media and Technology (CIRMMT)

817 instruments are available for student use at the Schulich School of Music. This includes:

  • 117 pianos
  • 55 electric pianos
  • 160 percussion
  • 485 woodwind, brass and string instruments

Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Music Media and Technology[edit]

The Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Music Media and Technology is known as CIRMMT. CIRMMT is a multi-disciplinary research group that seeks to develop innovative approaches to the scientific study of music media and technology, to promote the application of newer technologies in science and the creative arts, and to provide an advanced research training environment. It unites researchers and their students from several Quebec institutions - McGill University, l’Université de Montréal, l’Université de Sherbrooke, Concordia University, École de technologie supérieure, l’Université  Laval and UQAM, amongst others. The centre hosts six research labs on the eighth floor of the Elizabeth Wirth Music Building and is involved in many outreach activities. The Centre's research axes are:

  • Instruments, devices and systems;
  • Music information research;
  • Cognition, perception and movement;
  • Expanded musical practice.

Notable people[edit]

Schulich Visiting Scholars and Catherine Thornhill-Steele Visiting Artists[edit]

Previous visiting artists have included:

Special events and conferences[edit]

  • During the 2015-2016 concert season, the Schulich School of Music put on over 700 performances.[13]
  • For 30 years, the McGill/CBC concert series has delivered music to audiences across Canada.[14] It is reported to be the longest university/radio concert series in Canadian history.[15]
  • From 2004-2010, the school hosted a contemporary music festival called the MusiMarch Festival.

Photo gallery[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^[bare URL]
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b "Bachelor of Music". Music. Retrieved 2019-07-05.
  4. ^ "Licentiate in Music". Music. Retrieved 2019-07-05.
  5. ^ a b "Double Majors and Double Degrees". Music. Retrieved 2019-07-05.
  6. ^ "Minor Programs". Music. Retrieved 2019-07-05.
  7. ^ "Programs". Music. Retrieved 2019-07-05.
  8. ^ "Graduate Diploma in Performance". Music. Retrieved 2019-07-05.
  9. ^ "Artist Diploma (Graduate)". Music. Retrieved 2019-07-05.
  10. ^ "Certificate in Performance Choral Conducting". Music. Retrieved 2019-07-05.
  11. ^ "Performance Studies; D.Mus". Music. Retrieved 2019-07-05.
  12. ^ Opera Canada Quote
  13. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-03-05. Retrieved 2008-12-15.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) Concerts p.3 Retrieved December 15, 2008.
  14. ^ 30th Annual McGill/CBC Concert Series
  15. ^

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 45°30′21″N 73°34′24″W / 45.50573°N 73.57345°W / 45.50573; -73.57345