The Williams Music Department is exceptional among its peer institutions and offers students a wide variety of opportunities to study music both inside and outside the classroom through performance, composition, ethnomusicology, music theory and history. The department presents approximately 125 concerts a year ranging from student recitals and ensembles to visiting artists of national and international stature. The faculty is made up of devoted teachers, prominent scholars, prolific composers and active performers.
The department's mission is to educate its students in the art of musical performance, composition, and active listening as well as the skills associated with thinking and writing about music. The curriculum includes a wide variety of courses appropriate to both the major and the general student. In addition to classroom courses students are invited to participate in many ensembles including the Berkshire Symphony, Williams Chamber and Concert Choirs, Kusika, Zambezi Marimba Band, Jazz Ensemble, Wind Ensemble, Chamber Music, Jazz Combos, and many smaller groups. Individual vocal and instrumental lessons are also available and the entire community benefits from the yearly concert offerings, which include world music, jazz, orchestral and chamber music, renaissance and Baroque concerts, and residencies by visiting musical artists and scholars.
High-level performance opportunities at Williams are open to ALL students, non-majors as well as majors. We have a small number of majors (15-20 at any given time) who receive a great deal of personal attention and between 400-500 students participating in the music program overall. The number of students making music is even higher when one considers all the various student led groups on campus. As a premiere liberal arts college, Williams encourages students to explore the full range of musical studies and to seize as many opportunities as possible during their all-too-brief college years.