Professor of Music Mark D. Swift, Ph.D., leads students in the Zimbabwean marimba ensemble JayTerm class in a performance in the lobby of the Olin Fine Arts Center Friday, January 17, 2019.

Music is an integral part of a liberal arts education and vital to campus life at W&J. Our academic courses challenge students from all majors to think, speak, and write effectively about music. Our performance ensembles include choral, jazz, wind and chamber, and our program of instrumental and vocal instruction offers students private lessons with exceptional performers drawn from across the region. Students typically find that the skills emphasized in music (such as creativity, listening, and collaboration) are transferable to most disciplines and professions.

Students can personalize and focus their studies with emphases in literature and theory, media and performance. Learn more in the W&J Course Catalog.

Performance Opportunities

  • Wind Ensemble
  • Choir
  • Camerata Singers (audition required)
  • Jazz Ensemble
  • Chamber Music Ensemble
  • Jay-Birds (student led a cappella group)

All W&J students are welcome in ensembles. Listen to recordings of past performances here.

Music Ensembles

The Department of Music offers five music performance ensembles that are open to students in all majors.

Wind Ensemble Wind Ensemble

The W&J Wind Ensemble is open without audition to all students, regardless of skill level. The ensemble gives two concerts each semester in the Olin Fine Arts Center auditorium, including the popular holiday concert. The group of 25 to 35 students performs a variety of music, from arrangements of classical masterpieces and staples of the band repertory to distinctive film music and pops. Students who would like to participate must register and take the course for credit (1/4 course per semester).


The W&J Choir performs three concerts each year - a fall concert, a holiday concert, and a masterworks concert in the spring. Recent masterworks performances include Mozart's Requiem, Haydn's Theresienmesse and Handel's Coronation Anthems. The W&J Choir also sings at campus events throughout the year. The ensemble is open to all students. Students who would like to participate must register and take the course for credit (1/4 course per semester).

Camerata Singers

The Camerata Singers is a select chamber ensemble drawn from the W&J Choir. This versatile group's wide ranging repertoire spans the decades between madrigals and contemporary jazz. The Camerata Singers maintain an active performance schedule, singing at W&J Choir concerts, campus functions, and community events. They have sung by special invitation at Carnegie Hall and The Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine in New York City and at PNC Park at a Pittsburgh Pirates game. Membership is by audition, and students must register and take the course for credit (1/4 course per semester.)

Jazz Ensemble

The W&J Jazz Ensemble is an elite group of student musicians that performs frequently at events on campus, in formal concerts at Olin Fine Arts Center , and at jazz festivals and community events. The group of 14 to 18 students plays all styles of jazz including Latin, rock, funk, and swing, and collaborate often with W&J faculty and prominent guest vocalists and musicians from Pittsburgh and New York City. Students who would like to participate must register and take the course for credit (1/4 course per semester), as well as obtain permission from Jazz Ensemble director Kyle Simpson. Listen to the W&J Jazz Ensemble on SoundCloud.

Chamber Music Ensemble

The Chamber Music Ensemble provides students the opportunity to study and perform music from the chamber music repertory, including duos, trios, quartets, quintets for instrumentalists, and art song cycles for singers. Rehearsing twice weekly, students learn the principles and techniques of ensemble playing in a variety of musical styles. Students interested in enrolling should contact Dr. Susan Woodard for entrance requirements. Since basic solo proficiency and sight reading skills are necessary for playing chamber music, applied study (private lessons) are strongly recommended. Students who would like to participate must register and take the course for credit (1/4 course per semester).

Music Department Facilities

The Music Department makes its home in the spacious Olin Fine Arts Center, which celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2012 and also houses the departments of Art and Communication.

Practice Rooms Practice Rooms

Students have access to six large, air-conditioned practice rooms, all of which contain grand or upright pianos and music stands. Additionally, students are allowed to practice on the concert grand pianos in the classrooms when they are not in use. The abundance of practice rooms means students, eager to practice, will always find an available space. On warm, sunny days, some students even get their practice in outdoors in the lush garden of the Olin courtyard.

Music Library

Students have several options for exploring printed music, recordings, and music technology. The campus Clark Family Library has music resources, which include a collection of books, CDs, and DVDs. Additionally, the Music Resource Room, located in the Olin Fine Arts building, contains music scores, CDs, out-of-print and hard to find VHS videos, and a sizeable iTunes® collection. Three computers are open for use by music students for listening to the iTunes collection, creating scores using Sibelius® notation software, and composing and recording music with GarageBand®, LogicPro®, and Ableton Live® software.

Recording Studio

Hearing a recording of yourself practicing or performing is an invaluable learning tool. Recordings are also an essential when auditioning or applying for competitions, festivals, and scholarships.

Olin is home to a 486-seat auditorium, where students perform in ensembles and recitals. Students rehearse and take classes in two multi-media-equipped rooms, one of which is suitable for recording sessions.

Research and Internships
Careers After W&J
  • Music Education
  • Recording & Producing
  • Writing & Journalism
  • Music Therapy
  • Public Relations & Marketing
  • Performance & Conducting
  • Entertainment Law
  • Composition & Songwriting
Similar Programs

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Beyond the Classroom

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Music Events

More content coming soon! See our full event calendar for more events.