The Department of Music was officially established by the California State Legislature in 1905, with the initial courses – a symphony orchestra, the student chorus and classes in harmony and counterpoint – offered the next year. A connection with the community was made immediately, with free 30-45 minute performances held in the newly-constructed Greek Theater on Sunday afternoons. The present Department presents a picture of both continuity and change from that time. The curriculum now encompasses music of Europe and the Americas, and musics of Japan, India, Indonesia, the Middle East, and the Caribbean. Free forty-five minute performances for the community morphed into our free Wednesday Noon Concert Series, now in its 60th season as well as a full roster of evening and weekend concerts by excellent student ensembles presented in Hertz Hall.
In the intervening century-plus since its founding, the Department has grown greatly. Today it comprises an instructional program with 160 majors and 65 graduate students taught by 20 full-time faculty, a roster of distinguished Bay Area artists offering individual musical instruction, and a staff of 8 professional, personable individuals, four buildings, the Jean Gray Hargrove Music Library, the Center for New Music and Audio Technology and numerous other resources. Through its courses and concerts the department reaches out to hundreds of students from other departments, to its many alumni, and to the general public.