A Message from Adriana Helbig, Acting Chair

Dear Alumni and Friends of the Music Department,

With a light at the end of the tunnel of the darkest year in recent history, we pause to reflect on the role that musicians have played. We have come to realize that nothing will ever stop the music!

Music has united people throughout the pandemic – be it a chorus of singers recorded on Zoom, or quarantined neighbors in Italy making music together on their balconies, or Garth Brooks’ performance of “Amazing Grace” during the Presidential Inauguration that united us in song.

Throughout the pandemic, Pitt’s Department of Music has worked hard to inspire and engage the public. Thanks to new technologies, our craft has become even more accessible to supporters like you.

The 50th Anniversary Jazz Seminar, a five-day virtual event that paid tribute to its past program directors Nathan Davis and Geri Allen, was live-streamed on the Pitt Music Department YouTube Channel Music at Pitt.

Many of the resulting projects by our undergraduates and graduates in music have been uploaded to our website by our very own Communications and Concerts Coordinator Phil Thompson who curates an amazing digital presence for the department. If you have not yet done so, we encourage you to follow us on Facebook at Pitt’s Department of Music, Twitter @MusicAtPitt, and Instagram @musicatpitt. As always, all information regarding activities at Pitt may be found in our digital weekly newsletter (subscribe here). Our weekly-updated website with feature stories can be found at www.music.pitt.edu. This is the best source to read the latest news regarding activities of our esteemed faculty in Jazz, Historical Musicology, Ethnomusicology, Performance, and Theory and Composition.

In this letter I turn your attention to perhaps one of the most exciting series in our digital media, our Music at Pitt Podcast, now available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and many other distributors. Now in its second season and with over 30 episodes, Season 1 episodes are still available on Music at Pitt Soundcloud page. Produced and hosted by Phil Thompson, the podcast features insightful conversation with University of Pittsburgh Department of Music faculty, students, and alumni on any aspect of music you can imagine and probably some you haven't.

We invite you to celebrate our ensemble directors’ projects they and their students worked on over the course of fall semester by listening to Season 2, Episode 8 of the Music at Pitt Podcast. You may recognize the voices of Susan Rice, director of Heinz Chapel Choir and Roger Zahab, director of our University Orchestra. Susan and Roger are also the Music Department’s advisors to our undergraduate majors and minors. Together with the rest of the faculty, they have done an incredible job guiding our students in their pursuit of excellence in research and performance.

With no audition process to become a major or minor, our courses are accessible to every student who wishes to learn more about theory composition, performance, jazz, historical musicology, and ethnomusicology. Our programming extends far beyond the reaches of the university. At a time when our budget has been reduced to 25% of its pre-pandemic levels, we are working as hard as ever to bring quality programming to our alumni, the great people of Pittsburgh, and our friends around the world.

Pitt Day of Giving is February 23, 2021. If you’d like to support our department on the day, you can make a gift here by clicking the department support link listed on the third main bullet point and searching for Music. We thank you for your consideration!

As we move through another semester of online learning (hopefully our last), we will continue to keep you informed of all the exciting lectures, concerts, and events your continued support allows.

Wishing you and your family a happy and healthy spring 2021.

Adriana Helbig, Acting Chair
Associate Professor of Music