Schulich School of Music

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The Schulich School of Music
École de musique Schulich  (French)
Schulich Music Logo.gif
Established 1904
Type Public
Dean Sean Ferguson
Students Approximately 875
Location Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Campus Urban
McGill Wordmark.svg

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.



Total student population: 862

  • 32% from Quebec, 43% from the rest of Canada, 25% other countries
  • 66% are native English speakers, 17% native French speakers, and 17% have a mother tongue other than English or French.

In 2014-2015, students received over $4 million in various forms of private and public financial support, including 155 undergraduates and 136 graduate students who received scholarships, fellowships, or bursaries from the Schulich School of Music.

All but one of the eight semi-finalists in the prestigious 2015 Eckhardt-Gramatté National Music Competition are Schulich School of Music students or alumni.


In the last five years, Schulich School of Music alumni have won auditions at 15 of Canada’s top 20 orchestras and have joined more than 20 international orchestras, including the:

  • New York Philharmonic
  • Hong Kong Philharmonic
  • Sydney Symphony Orchestra
  • Orchestre de Paris
  • Danish National Symphony Orchestra
  • China’s National Performing Arts Center Orchestra

Half of the prizes (14 out of 28) at the 2014 Orchestre symphonique de Montréal Manulife Competition were won by Schulich School of Music alumni.

Four of the five most recent recipients of the Jules-Léger Prize for New Chamber Music, awarded by the Canada Council for the Arts, are Schulich School of Music alumni. This is Canada’s highest honour for composition.

The 2013 and 2014 editions of the Early Music America Baroque Performance Competition were won by alumni of the Schulich School’s Early Music Program.

The Schulich School’s Sound Recording program is an industry leader. Since 2005, its alumni have won:

  • 18 Grammy awards
  • 8 Juno awards
  • 3 Felix awards

Schulich alumni posted a clean sweep of the Jazz category at the 2014 Juno Awards.


The Schulich School of Music has 62 full-time tenure-stream professors, 29 part-time professors, and 135 instructors.

In the past 10 years the School has hired 31 new professors.

Over the past two years, 40 internationally-renowned musicians have been invited to the School to teach, perform and give master classes.

23 Faculty members are full-time performing members of the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal.


Schulich School of Music professors are currently receiving support from 132 Grants, including: 3 from the Canada Foundation for Innovation, 25 from the Fonds de recherche du Québec, 37 from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, and 15 from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.

Schulich School of Music faculty include a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair, 3 James McGill Scholars and 3 William Dawson Scholars.

In 2014, 20 Schulich School of Music scholars presented at the American Musicological Society/Society for Music Theory Joint Conference, the largest and most competitive humanities-based music conference in the world. McGill had the largest representation of any institution including Yale, Harvard and Princeton.

The Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Music Media and Technology (CIRMMT) received an “Exceptional A+” rating from the Fonds de recherche du Québec in 2014, making it Quebec’s highest ranked research center in all humanities and scientific/ technological disciplines.


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)

The School’s students have an opportunity to perform in:

Six large ensembles:

  • McGill Symphony Orchestra
  • McGill Wind Symphony
  • Contemporary Music Ensemble
  • McGill Baroque Orchestra
  • McGill Jazz Orchestra 1 and 2

Three choral ensembles:

  • McGill University Choir
  • Schulich School Singers
  • Cappella Antica

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


Music at McGill – The Beginning

Music teaching began in 1884, although the program was first 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

  • 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

  • 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)

  • The two institutions shared staff, budget and premises.
  • 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

  • 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

Latest Developments

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



The performance programs at the Schulich School of Music provide students with private lessons and performing opportunities in university ensembles, in addition to studies in the history and theory of music.


The Department of Performance oversees the following areas and area chairs:

Department of Performance areas and area chairs 2014-2015
Area Area Chair(s)
Early Music Lena Weman
Jazz Rémi Bolduc
Opera Patrick Hansen
Organ Hans-Ola Ericsson
Piano Kyoko Hashimoto
Strings Axel Strauss
Voice Valerie Kinslow
Woodwinds Jacqueline Leclair
Brass Alain Cazes
Percussion Fabrice Marandola

Music research[edit]


The Department of Music Research, oversees the following areas and area chair(s).

Department of Research Areas & Area Chairs
Area Area Chair(s)
Music Composition Denys Bouliane
Music Education Lisa Lorenzino
Music History/Musicology Roe-Min Kok
Music Technology Ichiro Fujinaga
Music Theory Robert Hasegawa
Sound Recording Richard King

Degrees and programs[edit]

  • Bachelor of Music (BMus)
    • Composition
    • Music Education [available only as a component of the concurrent BMus/BEd program]
    • Music History
    • Music Theory
    • Performance (Keyboard, Voice, Orchestral)
    • Performance Church Music
    • Early Music Performance
    • Jazz Performance (piano, voice, guitar, bass, sax, trumpet, trombone, drums)
    • Faculty Program General
    • Faculty Program Jazz
  • Licentiate in Music (LMus)
  • Artist Diploma

The diploma of Licentiate in Music is a three-year program for instrumentalists and singers who want to focus on their practical skills, and limit their theoretical and historical studies.

The Artist Diploma program is for gifted performers who show promise for a professional career as a performer.

For students who want a broader liberal arts education, a Bachelor of Arts with a Major in Music is also available. The Schulich School of Music believes that students should get a "substantial proportion of their instruction from full-time professorial staff rather than from teaching assistants."[1] The Music Research Department organizes public lectures every year and sponsored conventions for major musical societies. See Special Events and Conferences.

Performing ensembles[edit]


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


  • Jazz Orchestra I
  • Jazz Orchestra II
  • Jazz Combo
  • Chamber Jazz Ensemble
  • Jazz Vocal Workshop (Jazz Choir)


  • Opera McGill
  • Schulich School Singers
  • University Chorus
  • Cappella Antica

Opera McGill[edit]

Opera McGill was hailed by Opera Canada magazine as "the premiere program in Canada."[2] Since the appointment of Patrick Hansen to Director of Opera Studies, Opera McGill has undergone many changes. In an interview with La Scena Musicale magazine Hansen said: "My focus here, is to figure out the strengths and weakness of the program and how to make it absolutely one of the best in the world."[3] Every year, Opera McGill produces at least three operas on the Pollack Hall stage. During the past four years, the Lisl Wirth Black Box Festival has seen productions of "Albert Herring", "La Rondine", "Dialogues des Carmelites", and "Hänsel und Gretel". For the mainstage, productions of classic opera repertoire have included "Così fan tutte", "The Rape of Lucretia", "The Rake's Progress", and "La bohème". Each year, Opera McGill collaborates with the Early Music Program at Schulich to produce a baroque opera (accompanied by period instruments and in period tunings). The last four years have seen productions of "Alcina", "Thésée", "Agrippina", and "Imeneo".

Orchestral Training Program[edit]

The Orchestral Training Program (OTP) is for students studying an orchestral instrument. The McGill Symphony Orchestra, which is conducted by Alexis Hauser, is the most senior orchestra for the university.


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 which normally house the teaching assistants' offices and the practice rooms for instrumentalists, pianist and vocalists are currently being renovated.

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 30th, 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.

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

The Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Music Media and Technology is known as CIRMMT, pronounced "kermit". CIRMMT is a multi-disciplinary research centre involving researchers at McGill University, the University of Montreal and the University of Sherbrooke. The centre hosts six state-of-the-art research labs on the eighth floor of the New Music Building. The Centre's research axes are:

  • sound modeling, acoustics and signal processing;
  • musical gestures, devices and motion capture;
  • musical information archiving and retrieval;
  • multimodal immersive systems;
  • music perception and cognition;
  • expanded musical practice.

Student associations[edit]


The Music Undergraduate Students' Association, also known as MUSA, actively represents the undergraduate student body of the Schulich School of Music.[4] Among other activities, the MUSA is responsible for the Musicians' Health Series which presents participatory and informational workshops that are of interest to musicians in training. It is made possible by funding from the Music Undergraduate Students' Association and the Schulich School of Music.


Yoga for Musicians

  • Excelling in performance through proper alignment and breath. Offered twice weekly during both Fall and Winter Semesters

Alexander Technique

  • An introductory workshop to explore the basic principles of the Alexander Technique and its applications to music performance.


The Music Graduate Students' Society, also known as MGSS, represents the graduate student body of the Schulich School of Music.

Notable people[edit]


Each year, professional musicians and scholars come to the school to give master classes and guest lectures or to serve as visiting artists, conductors, and faculty.

Among the school's acclaimed faculty are:


Many of its alumni have gone on to distinguished careers. Among them are:

Schulich Visiting Scholar and Catherine Thornhill-Steele Chair[edit]


Dorothy Morton Visiting Artist:

Year of Woodwinds:


Brass Year:


Schulich Ambassadors[edit]

The Schulich Ambassador Program consists of a select group of student leaders who serve as contacts for prospective students, visitors and friends of the Schulich School of Music. Prospective students may contact the recruitment office and request a tour of the music facilities.


The Schulich School of Music's Golden Violin Award is the largest privately funded music scholarship in Canada. The prize is $20,000 and is awarded to the top string player who is close to completing studies and has demonstrated the potential for a successful performing career.

The Golden Violin, made of pewter and gold plate, remains on permanent display in McGill’s Marvin Duchow Music Library. Its recipients, chosen by the McGill scholarships committee, receive a smaller likeness in the form of a 14-karat gold lapel pin.

Special events and conferences[edit]

  • The Schulich School of Music presents approximately 650 concerts a year.[5]
  • For 30 years, the McGill/CBC concert series has delivered music to audiences across Canada.[6] It is reported to be the longest university/radio concert series in Canadian history.[citation needed]
  • For the last five years, the school has hosted a contemporary music festival called the MusiMarch Festival. This year, American composer John Adams will be among the 200 musicians participating in the festival.[7][8]


  • October: The Schulich School of Music is a partner of the Canadian International Organ Competition.
  • November: The Schulich School of Music hosts the 69th edition of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra (MSO) Standard Life Competition. Among the other guest teachers, soprano Renata Scotto conducts a master class.
  • August: The Schulich School of Music will host the 2009 International Computer Music Conference (ICMC 2009).


  • May: The Schulich School of Music hosts an Arnold Schoenberg Exhibit and Symposium to discuss the composer's legacy on form.
  • June: The Schulich School of Music hosts the 13th International Conference on Auditory Display (ICAD).


  • October: The Schulich School of Music hosts the sixth annual Future of Music Policy Summit in conjunction with Pop Montreal.


Photo gallery[edit]

Further reading[edit]

Elizabeth Wirth gives $7.5M to Schulich School of Music

McGill's new music lab (The Gazette)

Did you know: Facts about McGill's internationally ranked music program (

Seymour Schulich's golden encore (

McGill University Celebrates 100 Years of Music (La Scena Musicale)

POP MONTREAL: McGill to host sixth annual Future of Music Policy Summit (McGill Tribune)


  1. ^ Schulich School of Music Quote
  2. ^ Opera Canada Quote
  3. ^ Patrick Hansen Fine-Tunes Opera McGill p.52 La Scena Musicale by Nisa Malli. November 2008. Retrieved December 11, 2008.
  4. ^ Music Undergraduate Students' Association Website Retrieved April 29, 2009.
  5. ^ Concerts p.3 Retrieved December 15, 2008.
  6. ^ 30th Annual McGill/CBC Concert Series
  7. ^ MusiMars Website
  8. ^ MusiMars Information

External links[edit]

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