Department of Music and Theatre

The Department of Music and Theatre consists of several major programs in music and a major in theatre, with a Department Chair and a Program Director in theatre. Both areas offer a minor.

Music Faculty

Professors Emeriti
 Joel A. Chadabe, M.M.
  Yale University
 James R. Morris, D.M.A.
  University of Southern California

 Max Lifchitz, M.M.
  Harvard University
 Albin J. Zak III, Ph.D.
  City University of New York

Associate Professors Emeriti
 R. Findlay Cockrell, M.S. (Collins Fellow)
  Juilliard School of Music
 Irvin E. Gilman, M.M.
  Manhattan School of Music
 K. Drew Hartzell Jr., Ph.D.
  University of Rochester
 Reed J. Hoyt, Ph.D.
  University of Pennsylvania

Associate Professors
 Duncan Cumming, D.M.A.
  Boston University
 Robert J. Gluck, M.F.A.
  Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
 Nancy Newman, Ph.D. (Chair)
  Brown University
 Victoria von Arx, Ph.D.
  City University of New York

Assistant Professor

 Rachel E. Mitchell, Ph.D.
  University of Texas

 William Jon Gray, D.M.
  Indiana University

Adjuncts (estimated): 9

Theatre Faculty

Professor Emeritus
James Leonard, Ph.D.
  Cornell University

 Andi Lyons, M.F.A. (Program Director)
  Yale University

Associate Professors Emeriti
Robert J. Donnelly, M.F.A.
  Yale University
 Jerome Hanley, M.F.A.
  Yale University

Associate Professor
Eszter Szalczer, Ph.D.
  City University of New York

Full-time Lecturer
Chad Larabee, M.F.A.
  Florida State University

Instructional Support Associate
John Knapp, B.A.
  University at Albany

Adjuncts (estimated): 5


The major undergraduate programs offered by the Music Department provide students with the fundamental knowledge and technical capabilities necessary for the pursuit of graduate studies or professional activities. These programs are also components of a liberal arts education and in that context provide preparation for a variety of careers.

Course offerings include a variety of introductory and advanced lectures and lab courses in composition, electronic music, musicology, theory, and performance. Seminars, independent study, and internships are also available for majors. Students intending to pursue graduate study in musicology or theory are urged to enroll in foreign language study.

Opportunities for participation in various performance ensembles are provided for majors and nonmajors. The department sponsors concerts by its ensembles, faculty, students, and guest artists each semester.

The facilities include housing for musical instruments, practice rooms, a department library and listening room, an electronic music studio and three concert halls.

Degree Requirements for the Major in Music

All majors must:

  • be able to read music and
  • satisfactorily pass a departmental aptitude examination which will be administered during the first scheduled class in the fall semester. A MUS 110 may serve as preparation for the major. In addition a noncredit competency exam in piano is given at that time. Those deficient in this area will be required to enroll in A MUS 265 (Keyboard Harmony and Performance). A grade of C- or higher in A MUS 265 will be needed to satisfy this requirement. Credit for A MUS 265 will not apply toward major or minor requirements

General Program B.A.: 36 credits:

1. Core: 27 credits to include: A MUS 100, 231, 245, 247, 300, 345, 347, and 2 ensemble credits (2 semesters) chosen from A MUS 180, 182, 184, 185, 186, 187, 287, or 289 (as appropriate).
2. Electives: 9 credits at the 300 level or above in courses intended for music majors and minors (except A MUS 378, 379, 478, and 479) to include at least 3 credits in musicology; and at least 3 credits in composition (which includes electronic music and media) or theory (except A MUS 345 and 347).

Departmental Programs in Composition, Musicology, Theory, Conducting, Performance

Admission to these programs requires permission of the appropriate departmental committee.
Departmental Program, B.A.: 54 credits minimum:

1. Core: 27 credits (same as General Program).
2. Concentrations:
Composition, Musicology, or Theory: 18 credits to include 15 at the 300 and 400 levels in courses appropriate to the concentration and approved by the department chair; 3 semesters in ensemble beyond the Core (5 altogether).
Conducting: 18 to include 6 credits of A MUS 270; A MUS 360, 361, and 461; 3 semesters in ensemble beyond the Core (5 altogether).
Performance: 12-18 credits (4-6 semesters) A MUS 178 (or proficiency), 278 (or proficiency), 378, 379, 478, 479; 3 credits/semesters in ensemble (A MUS 180, 182, 184, 185, 186, 187, 287, 289) beyond the Core (5 altogether); 3 credits as advised.
Voice Performance: 22 credits to include 12 credits of A MUS 378, 379, 478, 479 (private instruction); 3 credits/semesters in A MUS 187 or 287 (ensemble) in addition to the Core (5 altogether); 3 credits from A THR 140, 240, 339, or 345; 4 credits from A FRE101/102, A GER101/102, or A ITA100/101. Electives: 6 credits (vs. 9 in all other programs) to include 3 credits of A MUS 398 (Diction) and 3 credits at the 300 level or above in Musicology, Theory, or Composition (which includes electronic music).
3. Electives: Same as General Program (except for Voice Performance). Elected courses may not duplicate those required for the concentration.
4. Additional Requirements:
Composition: Compositions performed in approved recitals or the equivalent.
Performance: Admission to the program by audition. Performance examinations held at the end of each semester but the first, or unless the student is presenting a graduation recital that semester. Participation in approved recitals.


The Theatre Program curriculum (which includes its production program) is designed to aid students in learning to work collaboratively and creatively to solve problems, to communicate effectively both orally and in writing, to acquire intellectual skills necessary to confront a changing world, to acquire proficiency in a core of theatre knowledge and practice, and to understand the self-discipline and work ethic necessary to pursue a life in the arts.

Theatre is a performing art. It is also a major area of study through which one may gain a liberal arts education. The Theatre Program assumes these two views of the theatre to be mutually supportive. Acting, design, direction, technology, management, history, theory, criticism, and dramatic literature are considered interdependent studies. The major is structured to guarantee a well-rounded foundation in theatre, preparing students for graduate study or entry into the profession.


A major in theatre prepares students for specialized graduate study in dramatic art or conservatory training in performance or production. Majors acquire a wide range of knowledge and skills transferable to a variety of career paths. In addition, theatre majors are prepared to pursue any career path requiring a broad education in the liberal arts.

Past graduates are currently acting, writing, and directing in television, film, on stage in New York, and in regional theatres. Graduates in design and technical areas are employed in New York theatres and major scenic studios, as well as with regional theatres, Cirque du Soleil, Disney, Las Vegas, and touring with national and international productions. Other graduates work with equipment developers and manufacturers, in film and television production, in concert and event production and management, and with assorted digital and web-based companies. Still other graduates have gone into architecture, interior design, teaching, journalism, communications, computer technology, medicine, law, and business.

Casting Policy Statement

The Theatre Program at the University at Albany:

  • Has pledged itself to the goal of achieving cultural diversity in its casting       
  • Encourages all University at Albany students to audition for and participate in its productions        
  • Strives to provide educational opportunities for the growth, development, and training of students, and casts its productions in part to fulfill this goal      
  • Encourages its faculty and staff to employ the freedom implicit in educational theatre to make bold and experimental artistic choices in the conceptions, casting, and design of their work         
  • Recognizes the director as the person responsible for making casting decisions for each production, and encourages integration between the production process and coursework      
  • Promotes the ideal that earning and retaining a role is a privilege, not a right       
  • Relies on the good faith and common sense of its faculty, staff, and students to interpret these policies in the proper spirit

Degree Requirements for the Major in Theatre

General Program B.A.: 40 credits from the following:

Section 1 (22 credits): A THR 121, 135, 220, 227, 235, 240, 300.
Section 2 (6 credits): 6 of practicum, only 3 of which may be for acting practicum. Select from A THR 101, 102, 201, 202, 301, 302, with a maximum of 3 credits from A THR 102, 202, and 302 combined.
Section 3 (9 credits): 1 class from each of the following groups:
            Group A: A THR 339, 340, 343
            Group B: A THR 314, 335, 360, 370, 381
            Group C: A THR 309, 319, 361, 380, 421, 456
Section 4 (3 credits): 1 class from A THR 450, 460, 475, 481, 499.             

Honors Program

The honors program in theatre is designed to give exceptional undergraduates the opportunity to take advanced class work in the field of theatre studies and to work more closely with faculty on independent projects than might otherwise be possible. This program is available to theatre majors.

Requirements for admission to the Theatre Honors Program:

A THR 121, 135, 220, 227, 235, and 240 completed or in progress; at least 60 but no more than 80 credits towards graduation; a 3.50 GPA in all theatre courses and an overall GPA of 3.25; submission of an application and project proposal to the Honors Committee.

Requirements for completion of the Theatre Honors Program:

Overall GPA of 3.25; all requirements for core theatre major with GPA of 3.50 (the student may be removed from the Honors Program if the GPA drops below the required level, or in the case of excessive or unjustified incompletes in any course(s), pending the judgment of the Honors Committee); honors course or independent study or other upper level course approved by the Honors Committee in which substantial research is done in preparation for the Honors project with a grade of B+ or higher (3 credits); Honors project with a grade of B+ or higher (3 credits).