Music

Music is the ultimate expression of hand, heart, and mind. The UBC School of Music is recognized as one of the top three music schools in Canada. In all your creative and academic pursuits, you will be guided by faculty who perform and compose at an international level, and who are featured in award-winning recordings.

There are two undergraduate music programs at UBC:

  • The Bachelor of Arts with a Major, Minor, or Honours in Music is offered by the Faculty of Arts. It is designed for students interested in studying music as one of the liberal arts. Click here for Program Requirements
  • The Bachelor of Music (BMus) program is offered by the School of Music. Students wishing to become professional performers, composers, or music educator should consider this program.

Admission

Admission to the Bachelor of Music (BMus) program requires an audition.

Profiles

Grace Ma: Finding her Rhythm

Grace Ma is someone who likes to get an early start. She began her music career at the age of four, and as a third-year music student, presented her original research at the U21 Undergraduate Research Conference for university students around the world.

Paul Hung: YouTube Symphony Orchestra

Paul Hung brings a new meaning to “YouTube famous”. A 3rd year flute student at the UBC School of Music studying with Lorna McGhee, Paul is one of five Canadians selected to perform in the YouTube Symphony Orchestra 2011 in Australia from March 14 to 20.

Dr. Gage Averill: Part Detective, Part Ethnomusicologist

Haitian scholar and UBC Dean of Arts Gage Averill didn’t receive his recent Grammy nomination from singing Bad Romance alongside Lady Gaga. He’s being recognized for a mammoth project unearthing the extensive recordings of Alan Lomax, a famed folklorist and ethnomusicologist.

Something old is new again

Walking the halls of the School of Music, you can actually hear the sound of learning taking place. That sound just became a whole lot louder with the stunning $22 million renovation of both the School of Music’s Old Auditorium and the Roy Barnett Recital Hall.

Starring for the San Francisco Opera

Rhoslyn Jones (BMus ’02, MMus ‘04) got her big break at one of the world’s most prestigious opera houses, the San Francisco Opera.
Every performer dreams of making it big — some turn their dreams into reality.

In November 2006, Rhoslyn Jones (BMus ’02, MMus ‘04) got her big break with the renowned San Francisco Opera, one of the world’s most prestigious opera houses and the second largest opera company in North America. Jones made her mark in her main stage debut as the gypsy Frasquita in a three-week run of Georges Bizet’s “Carmen”. “It’s a huge deal for me,” Jones said in a telephone interview from San Francisco. “This is an ‘A’ house — it’s one of the top opera houses in the country.”

The San Francisco Opera hosts two key artist development programs — the Merola Opera Program, and the Adler Fellowship Program — credited with helping launch the careers of hundreds of opera singers, coaches, and stage directors. Jones’s role as Frasquita in “Carmen” has given the emerging soprano the chance to show what she is made of, according to Professor Nancy Hermiston, who heads the voice and opera division at the UBC School of Music. “You have to have a singer who has enough presence in her voice to carry over all the other singers and the orchestra and lead the whole ensemble,” Prof. Hermiston says.

After participating in the Merola program for two summers, Jones was invited into the Adler Fellowship. “It’s a dream come true,” Prof. Hermiston adds of Jones’s coveted spot in the Adler program — only two to three spots are offered each year.

“It has such a strong, strong history of training and mentoring singers,” she adds. “It’s like a springboard to the major houses in the world.” Coaches at the San Francisco Opera conveniently bring opera companies from around the world to conduct auditions, said Jones. “They’re trying to bridge the gap between student and professional worlds by bringing in these real opera artistic administrators — the real people that hire.”

Jones is now signed with Columbia Artists Management, the world's largest classical music management firm.

Funny to think that before UBC, Jones had never been on stage, or even knew that opera was her calling. From lead roles at UBC to the University’s summer program in the Czech Republic, Jones has sung in both choruses and lead roles. “Some of my most memorable times on stage so far have been at UBC,” she says. “The way that Nancy [Hermiston] has built that program — now that I’ve been away from it for a couple of years — I really do know that no other school does that.”

These days Jones takes her focus and determination to the opera house, which demands up to six hours of staging rehearsals, vocal, musical, and language coaching, and even homework. “The more homework you do, the better an artist you’re going to be. You’re going to be hired accordingly,” says Jones, adding that while the days of homework may not be over, the partying sure is.

Work does not just take place during the day, Jones points out. “It’s the night before performances or weeks before performances that you have these late night rehearsals.” “You can’t be out partying like a student would. That time is over,” she adds, laughing. “If you really don’t want to do this, no one else does either. It has to be something that you want to do and you are making that choice every day.”

Prof. Hermiston says she thinks of Jones as an Olympic athlete. “She has the stamina that is required of any person who is in an opera company,” Prof. Hermiston says. “You cannot be a delicate singer and withstand the day-to-day rigours of a career in opera, and especially a career in a repertoire opera house, because it’s tough work. It’s hard work.”

Jones, who hopes to become a solo singer, says she wants to move up to “the big girls’ parts, the lead soprano stuff — the tragic dying ones.” Coming from someone who turned down a spot at the Juilliard School, one of the world's premiere performing arts conservatories, realizing her dream may not be far away. “I want to have a long career. I’m in it for the long haul. I’ve been through too many years of school not to,” says Jones.

“I want to work internationally and I want to work in the top houses in the world.”

By Michelle Keong, an English and Classical Studies major. She is in the Arts co-op program.

Contact

UBC School of Music
Music Building
6361 Memorial Road
Tel: 604-822-3113

Music Undergraduate Student Association
ubc.musa@gmail.com