About the Department


The Music Department at the College of Charleston is the centerpiece of musical life in one of the country’s most beautiful, historic, and cultured cities. Our students are taught by world-class artists/scholars in an environment that stresses one-on-one instruction, collaborative music-making, and rigorous scholarship. We offer a Bachelor of Arts in Music degree, which includes conservatory-level training within the framework of a liberal arts environment insuring a holistic educational experience. Our graduates have attended many of the world’s most prestigious music graduate programs resulting in successful careers in performance and academia.

The College is nestled in the heart of city’s historic district giving students the opportunity to study and live in an architectural and cultural environment rarely found in North America. Charleston is home to the internationally renowned Spoleto Festival USA, Piccolo Spoleto, the Charleston Symphony Orchestra, the Charleston Concert Association along with many other well-known museums, galleries, artistic institutions, and festivals making it a preeminent visitor destination. Music students seeking a unique educational experience in an unparalleled setting will find a home in the College of Charleston Music Department.

Michael S. O'Brien
Chair, Department of Music


The Department of Music is housed in the Marion and Wayland H. Cato Jr. Center for the Arts located at 161 Calhoun Street. Opened in 2010, the $18.1 million addition provides 16,038 square feet of music space. The new facility adds faculty studios, practice rooms, and two ensemble rooms. It also includes a rehearsal room which doubles as a small performance space on Calhoun Street.

There are two outstanding performance venues: the 254-seat Recital Hall in the Simons Center and the 784-seat Sottile Theatre. The Addlestone Library which serves the entire College has a music listening room as well as on-line resources like Groves Music and Musicians Online and streaming music services Classical Music Library and Naxos Music Library.

Department of Music Mission Statement

The Department of Music at the College of Charleston plays a distinctive role in the lives and education of the students of the College by providing instruction in performance, theory and composition, and music history within a liberal arts setting. The education in music that we provide stimulates creativity and critical thinking skills, and fosters connections between music making and the humanities, arts and sciences. Within a city known for its cultural heritage and the Spoleto Festival USA, this quality liberal arts education, combined with superior musical training gives us our niche as a model program for the Bachelor of Arts with a major in music.

Music Department Outcomes

  1. Students will demonstrate musical literacy through written exercises in harmony and counterpoint, aural skills, keyboard harmony, and/or musical analysis.

  2. Students will perform on their primary instrument or voice, based on widely accepted expectations within their musical practice.

  3. Students will analyze the relationship between musical practices and their cultural context and significance.


Student Health and Injury Prevention Information