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CONTACT US

Conservatory of Music
phone: 209.946.2415
fax: 209.946.2770
Peter Witte
Dean
Faye Spanos Concert Hall
University of the Pacific
3601 Pacific Avenue
Stockton, CA 95211
pwitte@pacific.edu

History

In 1851, a mere two years into the California Gold Rush, University of the Pacific was established in Santa Clara under the auspices of the Methodist Church. Music was offered as early as 1856, according to the oldest catalog preserved in University archives. "Embroidery and Music are recommended if the time and abilities of students are sufficient to ensure respectable attainments therein."

The University, the first co-educational collegiate institution in the West, offered music through its "Female Institute" in Santa Clara until 1871, when the male and female units were joined as the campus moved to San Jose. The Conservatory of Music was founded in 1878 with 32 students, the first in the West and the seventh oldest conservatory in the country. Through the 1880s the Conservatory of Music grew in stature and popularity under the strong leadership of its first dean, Frank Loui King. The "Ladies Conservatory Association" raised funds to build the most impressive building on the campus in 1890, featuring a beautiful 2,000 seat auditorium. The first course in music management was offered by 1909.

When the Conservatory and College of the Pacific moved from San Jose to Stockton in 1924, nearly one-third of Pacific students were enrolled in the Conservatory. Since then, the historic Conservatory building on Pacific Avenue has become a familiar Stockton landmark, with its elegant terra cotta tower. In 1916, Charles Dennis pioneered the first collegiate a cappella choir ensemble west of the Mississippi and then replaced distinguished American composer Howard Hanson as dean when Hanson became founding dean of the Eastman School of Music. The Conservatory Band started the Band Frolic benefit in 1928, which became the most celebrated annual campus event into the 1990s. The summer Pacific Music Camp for pre-college youth has brought world-renowned music conductors since 1946. The Conservatory became a pioneer in music therapy when Wilhelmina Harbert launched the major in 1948 as a founding member of the profession, the first music therapy program in the West.

More recently, Conservatory facilities and programs have grown. A Rehearsal Hall and Recital Hall were dedicated in 1984. The Conservatory building, which houses the beautiful Faye Spanos Concert Hall, was renovated and rededicated in 1987. Frank and Eva Buck Hall, constructed and dedicated in 1991, houses Conservatory classrooms, faculty offices and teaching studios. The Brubeck Institute was launched in 2000 to honor the legacy of Dave and Iola Brubeck, the University's most prominent alumni. In 2005 a recording studio and a computer lab were built to introduce students to the growing use of technology in music. In the computer lab students learn to use music and video editing software and other standard programs. Students have used the recording studio to produce professional quality recordings of Conservatory students and ensembles.

The Conservatory became a charter member of the National Association of Schools of Music in 1928 and offers personalized training in the musical arts leading to degrees in performance, composition, music history, music education, music therapy, music management and jazz studies. The Conservatory's goal is to provide a current musical educational experience for students, allowing them to be successful in their professional fields and to be artistic leaders in society; to be a vital and significant artistic resource for the University and the larger community; and to have a significant impact on the future of music, the arts and society.

The Conservatory of Music aspires to be the finest music school possible, one which focuses on the student experience and sustains and communicates traditional musical and educational values while simultaneously exploring, developing and employing new means of communicating those values in addition to creating and presenting new music in both traditional and developing forms.