Founded in 1896, the Department of Music is one of the oldest and most distinguished in the country. 

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From undergraduate instruction for students in Columbia College, Barnard, the School of General Studies, and the School of Engineering to graduate programs in musicology and composition, the Department supports scholarly and scientific inquiry into music, and equally the creative activity of music composition, at the highest levels of rigor and innovation.

The number of undergraduate music majors has grown sevenfold over the past decade. Music Humanities, a core course, attracts around 800 students every semester and hundreds each summer. Although the Department is not a conservatory, each year the Music Performance Program enables over 400 students in all departments to develop as musicians by providing opportunities for instruction and performance.

At the professional level, the Miller Theatre is the leading presenter of new music in New York City, offering contemporary and early music, jazz, and opera.