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Department History

The faculty in the Department of Music Theory is comprised of scholars, composers, and performers following in the tradition of such distinguished Peabody music theory faculty as Danish composer Asger Hamerick, first director of the Conservatory (1871) and professor of music theory; Otto Ortmann, pioneer in the psychology of music and director of Peabody; the renowned pedagogue and composer Nadia Boulanger (music theory faculty, 1942-43); and composers Elliott Carter (music theory faculty, 1946-47) and Henry Cowell (1951-56). The department offers a master’s degree in music theory pedagogy, as well as an undergraduate minor in music theory; mentorship opportunities are available to members of the department. The Music Theory faculty is supported by 13 full-time graduate assistants.

Mission Statement
The Department of Music Theory, Ear Training, and Keyboard Skills strives to develop well-rounded musicians who are able to advocate for their artistry within the Western canon and beyond. We cultivate an atmosphere of curiosity and inquisitiveness in order to inspire our students to become life-long learners, active voices towards equity within the arts, and leaders within the musical community. Through our classes, students acquire a robust set of tools towards the comprehension, creation, and performance of music, and learn to express their insights verbally, through writing, and through their individual musical practice.