Celebrating the Performing Arts at IC

The performing arts at Ithaca College will take center stage as two of its most renowned programs formally join together on July 1, 2022, with the establishment of the School of Music, Theatre, and Dance.

The current School of Music and the Department of Theatre Arts—presently located within the School of Humanities and Sciences—will comprise a Division of Music and a Division of Theatre and Dance within the new school. Bringing these two together, both of which are consistently ranked among the best in the nation, will further strengthen the distinguished programs that exist within each.  

Building on our History

Ithaca College began in 1892 as the Ithaca Conservatory of Music. But it was just a short five years later that the affiliated Williams’s School of Expression and Dramatic Art brought a new mode of educating, engaging, and empowering our students through theory, practice, and performance. There is a long-standing collaboration between the two groups, and the new School of Music, Theatre, and Dance will leverage the strengths of both.

Academic Programs

IC is committed to continuing to offer all of the degree programs currently housed in the School of Music and Department of Theatre Arts.

Frequently Asked Questions

We understand that you may still have a lot of questions about this upcoming change and we’re here to help. Hopefully the answers provided to the following FAQs will supply the information you need.

In the short term, we foresee that many students will not experience much of a change. If anything, you will see more opportunities to collaborate and create with a larger range of students. In the long term, we are excited to explore and develop new cross-curricular partnerships that can be established within our curriculum.

No. There are no faculty, staff, nor budgetary reductions included in this transition.

A transition committee consisting of faculty and staff from both the School of Music and Department of Theatre Arts met weekly throughout the entire fall semester. The group was tasked with exploring optimal ways to bring the two units together and all possibilities were on the table, including examining current organizational structures, looking at other institutions, and brainstorming what the ideal structure looked like.

The music and theatre areas are not merging. They will be under the umbrella of one Dean within the School of Music, Theatre, and Dance, with two Associate Deans: one for Music and another for Theatre and Dance.

No. Both Music and Theatre and Dance will be housed within their own divisions within the School of Music, Theatre, and Dance. The nuts and bolts of day-to-day activities will continue as they do now. Theatre and dance classes and shows will take place in Dillingham Center and music classes and performances will still take place in the Whalen Center. The Division of Music will retain autonomy over all its internal processes, like curriculum, tenure, and promotion; as will the Division of Theatre and Dance. Additionally, there will be opportunities for collaboration for those who are interested, such as our recent MLK Concert.

As we look at the landscape of these industries out in the field, there are many synergies between the various aspects of music and theatre that go beyond performance. Recording engineers are needed for not only recording performances but mixing them (especially in major halls with large casts). Music educators are frequently called upon to play in the pit, or even direct local theatre productions. Contemporary composers are writing from diverse perspectives that can draw on their own personal experience to tell new stories. This is just a short list of the connections that exist between music and theatre.

When Ithaca College initially searched for a new Dean for the School of Music in 2020, several candidates inquired why Music and Theatre were not together. Now, we are engaged in a national search for a new Dean for the School of Music, Theatre, and Dance. We are working with a national search firm, drawing applicants from prestigious programs across the country. More information regarding updates from the search will be announced on this page.

More Questions? Contact Us.

Do you have more questions about the new School of Music, Theatre, and Dance? Feel free to reach out to us. We want to hear from you.