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History of the Conservatory of Music (1878)

As early as 1856, formal music courses were offered at the “Female Collegiate Institute,” which was the women’s division of the University at the time.

In 1878, the newly designed School of Music opened with 32 students in four program categories: elementary classes for beginners, an amateur class for “those who devote chief attention to other branches of instruction in the University,” a preparatory class, and an artists’ class.

Admission to the preparatory class was for students as young as 12, and expenses for “music with instrument” was $25 per semester, while tuition for voice instruction was $15 for a 20-week semester.

The catalog of 1882-3 is the first to specify admission requirements and lists four faculty members, including Mr. Frank Loui King, who was referred to as “Director” until 1887 when the title “Dean” was applied.

The first bachelor’s degrees were awarded in the mid 1880s.

The Conservatory moved with the University from San Jose in 1924. From 1900 to 1928, the Conservatory offered programs in music, art, and drama.

As art and drama became larger, they were removed from the Conservatory and made independent departments in the College of the Pacific.

The Conservatory of Music has built an international reputation for its high quality programs in voice and instrumental music as well as music education and music therapy.

In 1999, the Brubeck Institute for Jazz Studies was established within the Conservatory, to house the collected works and papers of jazz legend, David Brubeck, '42, and to celebrate Brubeck's life with music.