Quick Background of UO’s School for Music and Dance:
Founded in 1900, the University of Oregon Music Department is a charter member of the National Association of Schools of Music. Having recently added a Dance faculty in 2005, the now, UO School of Music and Dance is nationally recognized for its ability to offer nine degrees—becoming the only University in the state of Oregon authorized to grant master’s degrees in dance and doctoral degrees in music. Nestled between the Pacific coast and the Cascade Mountain range, students flock from all over the world to enjoy not only its beautiful scenery, but also for the opportunity to study under some of the most renowned instructors throughout the nation.
Consisting of both the MarAbel B. Frohnmayer Music building and Gerlinger Hall, the UO School of Music and Dance is widely respected throughout the community of Eugene, Oregon. Offering lesson to both students and Eugenians alike, members of the community as well as students are able to pursue and demonstrate their strong passion for music and dance.
Beall Concert Hall, which is located in the MarAble B. Frohemayer building, seats 540 people and was modeled after Boston Symphony Concert Hall. It is nationally recognized for its outstanding acoustics and Jürgen Ahrend pipe organ. This concert hall holds performances by the gospel choir, brass ensemble, and even the marching band. The Dougherty Dance Theater is housed in Gerlinger Annex, and consists of four studios on the third floor. Two of these studios seats 250 people and is equipped with both lighting and stage equipment for department concerts.
Within the next few years, the UO School of Music and Dance anticipates a $17.8 million transformation, increasing its size by about 50 percent. They intend to add a 3,000-square-foot rehearsal room for large ensembles, three spacious new classrooms, fifty-one practice rooms, and thirty new faculty teaching studios.
Information from UO’s School for Music and Dance website.
Q&A: Christopher Olin
Christopher Olin serves as instructor of choral music education at the University of Oregon where he teaches courses on vocal pedagogy, choral conducting, and choral methods; further, he serves as the conductor of the University Women’s Choir. He earned his M.M. in Choral Conducting from the University of Oregon, and a B.M.E. from the University of Nevada, Reno.
What do you teach at the UO?
I direct the choral music education program. This is going to be my fifth year. I am from the Bay area, more specifically from a small town called Marago in California. I came here for Graduate school, served as an intern, and luckily got a job doing what I’m doing now.
Do the choirs perform outside of the University of Oregon?
Yeah, absolutely. We do performances every term which are open to the public. All of our choirs are open to non-majors and every one of choirs have majors in them. For example, we put on community performances through the Beall Hall and our chamber choir is actually about to take a tour of Ireland.
Are the choirs just for University of Oregon students?
Yes. You have to be studying here at the University to be involved with the choir but you don’t have to be studying full time. You can be part time only taking 1 credit and still be involved. We are also open to graduate students and faculty but we don’t see much of the latter.
How would you judge the level of talent here at the UO?
Throughout the music school the talent level is incredibly high. That’s a really broad question because there are so many majors being offered here, but between B.A., B.M., B.M.M.E, M.A., M.M., P.H.D, there are so many different options. I think we are on par, if not well ahead of some of our comparative institutions. I’m definitely pleased with the talent in my major and I think right now I have some of the strongest students academically and musically that I’ve ever had. The choirs are doing a stellar job and performed recently at regional A.C.A conventions and M.M.C conventions. It’s been really strong lately.
Profile: Sam Kaplan
Born in The Bronx, New York, Sam Kaplan is one of many East Coast natives to find their niche in Eugene, Oregon. Seeking a more creative community and finding that his music is more accepted on the West Coast, Kaplan applied to the University of Oregon in 2009 and since then has earned a Bachelors of Arts in political science and as well as a minor in musical theory. He lives by the motto, “teach yourself,” which has led him to become one of the few self-taught musicians that has been accepted to the UO School of Music and Dance.
Born to a family of musicians, Kaplan learned to play the bass from his father as well learning the art of producing an original style of “beats.” He enjoys producing for someone else rather than creating his own music. He says that, “helping an artist develop their own style is like developing yours as well, its an invaluable experience.”
Kaplan loves to travel, believing that in his own “dream world” he’d be making music in a city he’s never actually been to. “Some people want to live, I’d rather dream,” he says as his eyes widen. “Finding the place that you belong is truly beautiful,” he says, “and you’ll know it when you found it.”
Playing numerous gigs around the college town of Eugene, Kaplan still remains humble in that he works a full time job at Granary Pizza on East 5th street. It’s hard to pay the bills, especially as a producer, but Kaplan believes that eventually the time he spends working with fellow musicians will pay off. He’s worked with a few bands since he’s arrived to the Pacific Northwest, leaving his impression as a producer with local bands such as Tribal Spectrum and The Healers.
“Figuring out the future is like figuring out which beat to mix over a track,” he says. “You won’t know until it works.” For Kaplan finding the right place in life is a metaphor for finding the right song, and for right now he believes he hears the right music.
Portraits that contain UO Musicians
The University of Oregon School of Music and Dance has a threefold mission:
1. To prepare students to lead lives enriched by the arts of music and dance;
2. To provide comprehensive programs for those pursuing professional careers in music and dance, and a broad range of courses for those seeking a liberal arts education;
3. To serve as an educational and cultural resource for the University of Oregon, the local community, and the state of Oregon
courtesy of University of Oregon