About the Department


A History of Excellence

Music and Performing Arts Professions at NYU Steinhardt was founded as the Department of Music Education in The Steinhardt School in 1925, one of the first of its kind in the Northeast. It was one of the first departments in the United States to award a doctorate in Music Education. Wilfred Bain, one of our early doctoral recipients, went on to be called the "Dean of Deans" in United States schools of music through his decades of serving as Dean during the developing years of Indiana University's School of Music. Throughout the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s, the Department was a leader in vocal and choral performance and acclaimed for solid academic study in Music Theory and Music History.

In 1968, Music and Performing Arts merged with New York College of Music, at that time, the oldest conservatory of music in New York City. Since then, Steinhardt Music and Performing Arts Professions has functioned as NYU's "school" of music and developed into a major research and practice center in music technology, music business, music composition, film scoring, music performance practices, performing arts therapies, and the performing arts-in-education (music, dance, and drama). All undergraduate and graduate degree programs in Music Performance at NYU are located in Steinhardt. Over the years, in addition to degrees in Music Performance, Music Composition and Music Education, the Department expanded its offerings with fully accredited Programs in Music Business, Music Technology, Music Theatre, Educational Theatre, Dance Education, Music Therapy, Drama Therapy, and Performing Arts Administration. It is an extraordinary feat that most of the degree programs just listed are internationally recognized and acclaimed in their area of specialization.

Legendary Alumni

Cy Coleman, multiple Tony and Grammy Award-winning composer of Sweet Charity, On the Twentieth Century, Barnum, and City of Angels as well as super-hit singles such as "Witchcraft" and Betty Comden, multiple Tony and Grammy Award-winning lyricist of On the Town (written with Leonard Bernstein), Bells are Ringing, Applause and On the Twentieth Century (written with fellow alum Cy Coleman), and the Academy Award-winning film, Singing in the Rain are esteemed alumni.  Film composer and Oscar winner Elmer Bernstein (who scored more than one hundred films including Ten Commandments, The Man with the Golden Arm, To Kill a Mockingbird, Walk on the Wild Side, The Great Escape), as well as Oscar-winning film writer (Moonstruck), Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and director (Doubt) John Patrick Shanley, have brought NYU's Steinhardt School's reputation to Broadway and Hollywood for over fifty years.

Jazz great Wayne Shorter andmusic technologist and composer Enoch Light are also alumni.

Our alumni have moved on to celebrated careers as entertainment industry executives, record producers, entrepreneurs, performers, composers, educators, and arts therapists. Our graduates are professors and administrators in colleges and universities throughout the world. Thousands of NYU Steinhardt Music and Performing Arts alumni in all facets of the arts professions provide unique networking possibilities for each new generation of graduates.