Doctorate in contemporary music expands BGSU's offerings

BOWLING GREEN, O.—With the addition of a new doctoral program, Bowling Green State University is one of the few places in the United States where students can receive a doctorate in contemporary music.

Contemporary music is defined loosely as music created after 1945. Graduates of the new program, which is considered unique in its scope, will be trained as composers or performers conversant in the aesthetic, technical and philosophical aspects of contemporary music. They also will be prepared to teach in the classroom or the studio on the college level, as well as to fill community arts leadership positions.

“We feel excited about having the opportunity of forging new territory on the national scene,” said Dr. Marilyn Shrude, Distinguished Artist Professor in music who has been working with campus administrators and faculty for more than two years to develop the new doctor of musical arts degree. “The economic climate in the state for the past 15 years has made consideration of new programs difficult, which makes this approval an even greater recognition for our college,” she said.

According to Dr. Richard Kennell, dean of Bowling Green’s College of Musical Arts, “Our new D.M.A. in Contemporary Music is the right degree for BGSU at the right time. It builds on our strengths in contemporary music performance and composition. It recognizes the expertise of our faculty and promises to attract talented new doctoral students to Bowling Green State University and to northwest Ohio.”

Approval of any new doctoral program by the Ohio Board of Regents requires evidence of corresponding employment opportunities for graduates. BGSU’s proposal, approved earlier this year, describes the D.M.A. as a niche program that fills an increasing need for musicians of the 21st century to be able to create new contexts for artistic expression and presentation. As evidence, the University presented advertisements for musicians with the skills and experience the degree would provide.

The program will start small, with four students admitted a year, for a maximum of 16. There are about 100 master’s degree students in the music college, a significant number of whom might be interested in continuing their education at BGSU with the new doctoral degree, Shrude said. “We’ve already had inquiries from outside the University, she added.”

Bowling Green’s involvement with contemporary music goes back more than 20 years. Many of its faculty are well known for the creation, performance and study of new music and have distinguished reputations in the field.

The College of Musical Arts initiated an annual New Music and Art Festival in 1980. Seven years later, the college received an Academic Challenge grant from the state that led to the creation, in 1990, of the MidAmerican Center for Contemporary Music on campus. Both the center and the festival have drawn considerable national attention to BGSU.

The college’s research facility, the Music Technology and Recording Studios, enables students to apply cutting-edge technology to the composition and performance of new works.
Interdisciplinary interaction with the School of Art and the Center for New Media and Emerging Technology offers possibilities for new uses of digital media and computer applications in music.

Transcending the boundaries of composition or performance, candidates for the D.M.A. degree will also each have a minor, or cognate, in culture, music cognition or digital media, adding further depth and enrichment to their studies.

In addition to their coursework and research, they will be required to complete an internship in a nonacademic setting. “This will provide another dimension to job possibilities for graduates,” Shrude said. “There is no other program like this nationally.”

(Posted November 10, 2005 )