Press Releases

Alfred University adds new music major

Alfred University | 4/16/19

Alfred University has taken a significant step to further strengthen its performing arts program with the addition of a new major in music. Beginning with the 2019-20 academic year, the University will offer a Bachelor of Arts degree in music.


ALFRED, NY – Alfred University has taken a significant step to further strengthen its performing arts program with the addition of a new major in music. Beginning with the 2019-20 academic year, the University will offer a Bachelor of Arts degree in music.

Alfred University has a long tradition in music instruction: the University has for many years offered a minor in music, and until the late 1970s also had a major in music. The University is home to some outstanding facilities in the Miller Performing Arts Center and Miller Theater, which have staged numerous musical performances over the years. For the last five years, the University hosted the MostArts Festival, a week-long annual celebration of music and art which each summer brings a host of talented musicians to campus.

Alfred University currently offers a major and minor in theater, as well as minors in music, dance and performance design technology. Offering a major in music is a logical next step as the University looks to expand its offerings in performing arts.

“The new B.A. in music is a rather natural outgrowth of Alfred University’s long tradition music education and performance,” commented W. Richard Stephens, provost and vice president of Academic Affairs. “Of course, we also have world class facilities for music performance.  With the new major we can leverage all these resources into expanded programing and new student enrollment.”

“People have asked me why we don’t have a major in music. The MostArts Festival has established an outreach across the country, and we have these tremendous facilities,” added Lisa Lantz, professor of music and chair of the Division of Performing Arts. “I’m very excited to add this major. It will now make music more prominent during the academic year. We’re entering a new era for Performing Arts Division in terms of potential growth and visibility.”

The University applied to the New York State Education Department for B.A. degree in music on March 21 and the state announced on April 5 it had approved the application. The new degree will be offered beginning this fall. Lantz said the first cohort of students who will earn the new Bachelor of Arts in music will enroll in 2020-21, although there could be some – transfers, double-majors for example – who earn the new degree sooner.

Students who earn the B.A. in music will have degree concentrations on an instrument, or voice, Lantz said. The music department initially will have three core faculty positions – current professors Lantz, who specializes in strings and orchestra, and Luanne Crosby, professor of voice and chorus; and newly appointed professor of music Raul Barcenes, who specializes in band. There are also nine additional adjuncts teaching private lessons and providing classroom instruction.

The new major will prepare students for a wide and varied number of careers, such as music medicine, audio and video production, music journalism, arts production, grant-writing, arts management, and owning/operating a music studio.

Students also have the opportunity to combine the B.A. degree in music with other majors and minors. A double-major in music and business, for example, could prepare a students for a career in music/arts management; and a double-major in music and theater, with a minor in dance could lead the career in musical theater.

Lantz credited the generosity of Alfred University Trustee Marlin Miller Jr. ’54, H ’89 for helping make the new music degree a reality. Miller’s gifts funded construction of the Miller Performing Arts Center in 1996 and the Miller Theater in 2010.

“I don’t believe this would have been possible without the Miller Performing Arts Center and Miller Theater,” Lantz said. “If you were to begin a music major from scratch, it would be a huge expense: you need facilities, music resources, equipment and instruments. We already have that infrastructure here, so the foundation to bring this new program is in place.”

Gerar Edizel, dean of the School of Art and Design and Performing Arts, said additional majors in performing arts are planned. He said growth in the performing arts, including the addition of the music major, will enhance not only academic offerings, but the overall student experience.

“This will give a boost to the cultural life on campus,” said Edizel, noting that growth in performing arts will provide opportunities for collaboration and cooperation with the University’s visual arts programs. “This will increase opportunities to explore synergies with the School of Art and Design.”