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UNF's music program designated school of music

UNF Music Flagship Program promotes cultural, musical excellence

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Music Flagship Program at the University of North Florida announces it has now been officially designated a School of Music in the College of Arts and Sciences, expanding its training and equipping of a wide range of music students.

The program teaches jazz studies, performance, music education and conducting as well as music technology and production to prepare students to be 21st century music professionals.

“The recent designation of the UNF Music Flagship Program as the UNF School of Music marks the culmination of years of work, creating a comprehensive program that equips 21st century music professionals,” said Dr. Randall Tinnin, School of Music director and professor of trumpet.

The UNF Department of Music was awarded flagship status in 2011. As a result of additional financial resources that came with the designation UNF was able to launch a graduate program and a bachelors program in music technology and production. 

The UNF Music Flagship Program has experienced a 33 percent growth rate in the past year alone, from 176 music students in the spring of 2014 to over 235 students last fall. Also, just in the last year, bachelor of music education and piano pedagogy graduate students had a 100 percent employment rate or graduate school placement.

Additionally, music grads have played with prestigious ensembles like the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra as well as elite Washington D.C. military ensembles and have earned faculty positions at various universities and colleges, including the University of Arkansas Fort Smith, Full Sail University, Jacksonville University and more.

Several UNF music grads have played with Wynton Marsalis, an internationally acclaimed musician, composer, bandleader, educator and a leading advocate of American culture. He credits the School of Music for creating high-quality musicians.

“To have that many great musicians come from one place is truly astounding…They are deeply soulful and committed to making the highest quality of music,” said Marsalis, who is the world’s first jazz artist to perform and compose across the full jazz spectrum from its New Orleans roots to bebop to modern jazz.

With a new name, this musical culture of excellence is expanding. Immediate needs of the program include more endowed scholarships to support the bachelor’s and master’s degree programs, additional space --traditional classrooms fitted for music theory, practice rooms, lab/rehearsal space and performance venues, technological support for the piano and technology labs -- a professor to serve as an area coordinator for music technology, instructors to support core music courses in theory, aural theory, class piano and music history as well as a piano technician and community engagement coordinator to lead the program’s efforts to provide music education for local public school students.

The music flagship has shown consistent success in the placement of its students. Numerous UNF music graduates have gone on to train at prestigious institutions, such as Julliard, Manhattan School of Music as well as The Boston Conservatory, and countless music graduates have found that the School of Music was that stepping stone to further developing their talents.

UNF alumnus Paul Sikivie, a jazz bassist, just won a Grammy last month for playing on the Best Jazz Vocal Album of 2015, “For One to Love” by Cecile McLorin Salvant, while Brian Hogans, saxophonist, has played with the award-winning Sean Jones Quintet. Vocal performance grad Jordan Rutter, a New York City-based countertenor, has received praise from Opera News for his performance as Le fils de Macduff in the American-French language premiere of Ernest Bloch’s “Macbeth.” He currently performs scenes from various operas, like “Serse” and “Rinaldo,” with Met LiveArts in Mingwei Lee’s “Sonic Blossom” in the Big Apple.

Not only are university music graduates finding success, but current students are triumphing as well. UNF junior Anna Mans, a music performance major with a concentration in classical voice, was recently accepted into the Winter Intensive program, OperaWorks.