Degrees & Programs Music
Develop your musical skills and knowledge with Christian professors who encourage your creativity and relate faith to the art and craft of music.
Engage in the serious study, composition and performance of great music at an advanced level. Discover the vital role music plays in the liberal arts and the Westmont community. Choose from the B.A. degree in music on the general, music performance, and music composition tracks or earn the professional Pre-Teaching Credential (B.M.) degree that leads to a public school teaching credential. You may also choose the Bachelor of Music (B.M.) degree in performance with a concentration in voice, orchestral instruments and piano. Study at a school accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM).
National Association of Schools of Music
11250 Roger Bacon Drive, Suite 21
Reston, VA 20190-5248
(703) 437-0700 Phone
May 8, 2023
Following Commencement 2023, the Westmont College Choir and Chamber Singers embark on a nine-day tour to Tokyo, Japan — the first international choir tour since the COVID-19 pandemic. Led by Daniel Gee ’13, assistant professor of music and director of choral activities, the choirs’ itinerary includes joint concerts with Japanese collegiate ensembles, including those from Waseda University and the Tokyo College of Music, as well as performances at Tokyo Union Church, Tokyo Christian University and the Christian Academy of Japan.
As part of its tour repertoire, the choir will perform pieces by Japanese composers such as Ko Matsushita, Maki Ueda and Takatomi Nobunaga, as well as what Gee describes as “a multifaceted representation of American choral music.” This mix of pieces ranges from Western Classical, the Black American spiritual and gospel tradition, and Latin American traditions.
Many of this year’s seniors on the tour experienced their first year in College Choir in 2020-21, when Gee joined the faculty. It was a challenging start to his time at Westmont due to COVID-19 restrictions. These students first rehearsed with him by Zoom, making this year’s international tour together an especially meaningful way to conclude their choral experience at Westmont.
Thanks to experienced tour management by music department staff Keith Erickson ’12 and Mandy Kellogg ’15, the students will see historical, cultural and natural sights such as Mt. Fuji as they travel in Japan and perform. Gee emphasized the tour’s main purpose: “It’s building relationships with Japanese students and singers,” he says. “That’s why you go.” On his first international tour since becoming choir director, Gee says he looks forward to connecting with musicians and Christians in Japan as well as to introducing many Westmont students to this part of Asia for the first time. He also anticipates seeing the ensemble’s friendships grow even stronger. “I feel a kinship with the students as we get to share music together,” he said. “It will be a fun culmination of that.”
By Scott Craig
February 9th, 2023
The Westmont Orchestra performs at several locations as part of a Presidents day weekend tour February 16-18. These concerts are open to the public and free. The orchestra The orchestra will perform “Amazing Grace,” Bizet's “Carmen Suite” and Franck's Symphony in D minor on Feb. 16 at 7 p.m. in San Marcos High School (4750 Hollister Ave., Santa Barbara); Feb. 17 at 7 p.m. in Santa Ynez Valley Presbyterian Church (1825 Alamo Pintado Rd., Solvang); and Feb. 18 at 7 p.m. in Calvary Baptist Church (3355 Constellation Rd., Lompoc). The orchestra concludes its tour Sunday, February 26, at 1:30 p.m. in Westmont’s Page Multi-Purpose Room.
Orchestra conductor Ruth Lin says she is looking forward to seeing her students grow and deepen their understanding of the music and what it sounds like in different spaces. “This will no doubt be edifying for them because they will all of a sudden hear things they hadn't heard before,” she says.
The pieces by French romantic composers Bizet and Franck both received cool responses at their premieres. “Bizet's Carmen is now one of the most beloved operas in the canon,” Lin says. “Franck's Symphony in D minor was criticized by Ravel as ‘colorless with heavy instrumentation often spoiling the beauty of its ideas.’ Yet, its sincerity, humanism, and Franck's particular use of harmonic modulations as musical colors has withstood the test of time and is now appreciated as a work that spoke its own truth.” Read more
By Scott Craig
January 11, 2023
Westmont performs an ambitious operatic double bill of Gilbert and Sullivan’s “Trial by Jury” and Rossini’s “The Silken Ladder” Friday, January 27, and Sunday, January 29; both at 7 p.m. in Center Stage Theater. To purchase tickets, which cost $20 for general admission, $15 for seniors or military members, please visit the Center Stage box office at centerstagetheater.org. For more information, please contact the Westmont Music Department at (805) 565-6040 or email@example.com.
The production, set on a large movie studio in the 1930s, will feature a black-and-white moving picture (“Trial by Jury”) and then a full color feature film (“The Silken Ladder”).
“The idea is that a company is filming a double feature, spanning the gap between black-and-white, moving pictures and Technicolor movies,” says Christina Jensen, stage director. “Each show is set in its own time with ‘Trial by Jury’ in Victorian England and ‘The Silken Ladder’ in the early-mid 1800s. The stark visual difference between the two shows will be exciting.”
Music director Ruth Lin has been overseeing an opera boot camp for Westmont’s talented student musicians since early January. “They are a diverse group of musically gifted students pursuing a wide range of fields,” Lin says. “I look forward to sharing the music and humor of these operas with the community.” Read more
By Scott Craig
March 8, 2022
The Westmont Music Department handed out tens of thousands of dollars in scholarships to musicians and singers as part of its annual guild competitions. Corrie Bascom, a violinist from Minnesota, won the 10th annual Instrumental Guild Competition Feb. 26 and Hailey Somphone, a soprano from Fullerton, won the Vocal Guild Competition on March 5. Each will receive up to $10,000 in annual music scholarships funds (up to $40,000 for four years) to study at Westmont. Read more
- MU 10 Principles of Music I
- MU 12 Principles of Music II
- Private Lessons
- MU 110 Principles of Music III
- MU 112 Principles of Music IV
- Private Lessons
- MU 15 Conducting
- MU 120 Music History I
- MU 121 Music History II
- Upper Division MU and/or MUA Electives
- Private Lessons
- Junior Recital
- ART 131 Theory and Criticism in the Arts
- Upper Division MU and/or MUA Electives
- Private Lessons
- Senior Recital
Composes sacred music for orchestra and choir
Conductor, composer, and director of the College Choir & Chamber Singers
Pianist and organist who accompanies and conducts choral groups
Internationally acclaimed violinist and Juilliard graduate
Music department chair and maestro of Westmont’s orchestra
Teaches music history and serves on the Chapel team
Active Faculty By Instrument
- David Etterbeek, Trumpet
- Eric Heidner, Trombone, Tuba
- Stephen Hughes, Trombone, Tuba
- Preston Shepard, French Horn
- Dr. Steve Butler, Composition
- Dr. Steve Hodson, Conducting
- Ensemble Directors
Andrea Di Maggio, Flute Choir, Wind Chamber
- Eben Drost, Jazz Ensemble
- Dr. Daniel Gee, College Choir, Chamber Singers
- Dr. Ruth Lin, Orchestra
- Dr. Paul Mori, Chamber Orchestra, Wind Chamber
- Music History and World Music
- Dr. Steve Butler, World Music
- Dr. Zig Reichwald, World Music
- Music Theory
- Dr. Steve Butler, Music Theory
- Jonathan Palmquist, Percussion
- Piano and Organ
- Erin Bonski-Evans, Collaborative Pianist
- Jim Connolly, Piano Technician
- Neil Di Maggio, Collaborative Pianist
Eben Drost, Jazz Piano
- Dr. Steve Hodson, Piano Coordinator, Piano, Organ
- Dr. Egle Januleviciute, Piano
- Thomas Joyce, Organ
Hyo Jin Lee, Collaborative Pianist
- Heather Levin, Piano
- Christopher Ahn, Cello
- Jim Connolly, Bass Guitar
- Marcia Dickstein, Harp
- Aaron Oltman, Viola
- Barry Newton, Double Bass
- Emily Sommermann, Violin
- Dr. Han Soo Kim, Strings Coordinator, Violin
- Dr. Nichole Dechaine, Voice
- Christina Jensen, Opera
- Kathleen O'Brien, Voice
- Sara Rockabrand, Voice
- Chad Ruyle, Voice
- Catherine Del Russo, Oboe
- Andrea Di Maggio, Flute
- Dr. Joanne Kim, Clarinet
- Andrew Martinez, Saxophone
- Dr. Paul Mori, Wind and Brass Coordinator, Bassoon
- Adelle Rodkey, Oboe
- Laura Walter, Flute
- Visiting Artists
Meet the Staff
Office and Tour Manager
Tel: (805) 565-6240
Office: Music Building 101
Music Department Administrative Assistant
Tel: (805) 565-6040
Office: Music Building 101
Westmont’s principal choral ensemble and touring concert choir, is now under the direction of Dr. Daniel Gee. The choir performs the classic repertoire of the past five centuries, along with spirituals, folk song arrangements, and music of other cultures. The ensemble presents local concerts including, each year, a major work with orchestra. The College Choir also appears at Westmont events, performs in chapel, ministers in local church services, and participates in regional choral festivals. Highlights of the year include the Christmas concert and the spring tour. To learn more about the College Choir, please see this link.
This select ensemble, now under the direction of Dr. Daniel Gee, specializes in a cappella literature, including madrigals and motets of the Renaissance, contemporary sacred and secular music, folk song arrangements, spirituals, and vocal jazz. Community outreach is central to the ensemble. In addition to performing alongside the College Choir, the Chamber Singers performs on its own locally and across Southern California and the Central Coast. Performance highlights include the Fall Choral Festival, the Christmas Concert, the Spring Choral Masterworks Concert, the fall and spring Vocal Chamber Concerts, and the spring tour. Membership in the Chamber Singers is contingent upon membership in the College Choir.
The Westmont College Orchestra, conducted by Dr. Ruth Lin, performs original literature, transcriptions, and arrangements. Included in this are works for full orchestra, string orchestra, and small ensembles. The study and practice includes various style periods and composers from the Renaissance through the Twenty First Century. The orchestra performs two major independent concerts each semester, as well as a combined Christmas concert with the choral ensembles and a major works program in the spring with the College Choir and plays for the annual opera production. Typically, the orchestra is made up of circa 60 students. Faculty specialists coach each section of the orchestra, including Dr. Han Soo Kim (violin), and Dr. Paul Mori (wind, brass and percussion).
Various Wind Chamber Ensembles, directed and coached by Dr. Paul Mori and Andrea Di Maggio, are organized for brass, woodwind, and percussion players. The various chamber ensembles perform throughout the semester. Typical groups include a woodwind quintet, 5 brass sextet, brass choir, and flute ensemble. Other ensemble forms to meet student interest and abilities.
The Jazz Ensemble performs and studies classic and contemporary literature, including the art of improvisation, and perform both on and off campus.
A wide range of music from contemporary jazz to hymn arrangements mixed with classical pieces.
Offering traditional string quartets, trios and other ensembles. These groups have an active presence on campus and throughout the Santa Barbara community.
Fall Choral Festival
Westmont College would love to offer you the opportunity to participate in our Virtual Fall Westmont Invitational Choral Festival. The focus of the festival is pedagogical and performance oriented, NOT competition.
Choral Festival Date: Friday, October 28, 2022
Application Deadline: Friday, September 17, 2022
Westmont Music Academies
Westmont Academy for Young Artists (WAYA)
The Westmont Academy For Young Artists presents a marvelous opportunity for students to sharpen their skills, meet musical friends, forge relationships with top-quality artist teachers, and infuse their summer with a dose of inspiration. The setting is beautiful and the music making is alive with spontaneity.
Career Paths for Music Majors
- Performing musician
- Music teacher
- Church music
- Music publishing
- Music management
- Music business
See career paths for graduates who majored or minored in music at Westmont.
Aaron Wilk ’16 majored in biology, chemistry, and music with an emphasis in piano performance. He is currently an MD/PhD student at Stanford University where he studies how the immune system can protect from and contribute to viral diseases, including Covid-19. He continues to study piano at Stanford, staying active in solo performance and chamber music. “In high school, I was worried about finding ways to balance my two academic passions: science and music. Westmont provided me with the flexibility and resources to pursue both passions well. The interdisciplinary approach of the Westmont liberal arts education, combined with the vibrant community of the Music Department, presents a one-of-a-kind opportunity to holistically develop your musical craft.”
Sarah Pfister ’12: Sarah majored in violin and viola performance and earned a master’s degree in viola performance with an emphasis in violin Suzuki pedagogy at the University of Hartford Hartt School of Music. She taught violin and viola at the Greenwich Suzuki Academy in Connecticut and is now a violinist with the ruse Opera Orchestra in Ruse, Bulgaria. “Growing up I enjoyed taking private music lessons and found fulfillment in teaching. At Westmont I felt called to bring together my love for music and teaching to pursue a career in Suzuki education. My professors encouraged me and provided the tools I needed to pursue my passions. My well-rounded Christian liberal arts education has helped me both professionally and personally.”
Megan Silberstein Billings ’14: She majored in music and is working on a Master of Music in opera performance at Oklahoma City University. She is a professional opera and musical theatre singer and teaches voice and piano at Southern Hills Baptist Church Fine Arts Academy.“My Westmont professors prepared me academically for graduate school and even more for the challenges of the real music world. They equipped me mentally, emotionally and spiritually for the battle facing modern musicians. They demonstrated the true foundation of their confidence—Jesus Christ—and lived out the difficult conviction to make music for God. Westmont pushes students to excel in music for the right reasons: Christ and His kingdom.”
Luke Mizuki ‘15 and Emily Rutherford Mizuki ‘15 met as first-year Music Majors in Westmont’s Music Department, fell in love on choir tour in Russia and Lithuania, and got married two years after graduating from Westmont. They both went on to earn a Master of Arts in Teaching from the Longy School of Music in Los Angeles and currently teach general music, band, and choir at public and private schools in Orange County. “At Westmont, we were encouraged to explore all the facets of music: composing and conducting, collaborating and accompanying, and of course teaching - before Music Education was even available as a major! Having such a well-rounded education in both the liberal arts and music has proven invaluable for us as musicians and educators.”
Donor Giving Levels
Donors receive a placard including musical information about a section from one of Westmont’s ensembles, such as brass, altos, percussion, etc.
Donors receive name recognition in our programs and invitations to receptions after concerts with the conductor and select students.
Donors receive name recognition in our programs, invitations to receptions after concerts with the conductor and select students, and regular newsletters from the Westmont Orchestra and the Westmont Choir
Donors receive name recognition in our programs, invitations to receptions after concerts with the conductor and select students, regular newsletters from the Westmont Orchestra and the Westmont Choir, and a personalized performance of Happy Birthday or your favorite hymn by members of the Westmont Orchestra or Westmont Choir upon request.
Donors receive name recognition in our programs, invitations to receptions after concerts with the conductor and select students, regular newsletters from the Westmont Orchestra and the Westmont Choir, a personalized performance of Happy Birthday or your favorite hymn by members of the Westmont Orchestra or Westmont Choir upon request, and the name of your choice listed as a program sponsor in our concert program.
Donors receive name recognition in our programs, invitations to receptions after concerts with the conductor and select students, regular newsletters from the Westmont Orchestra and the Westmont Choir, a personalized performance of Happy Birthday or your favorite hymn by members of the Westmont Orchestra or Westmont Choir upon request, the name of your choice listed as a program sponsor in our concert program, and a lunch with the conductor of either the Westmont Orchestra or the Westmont Choir.
The Music Guild Legacy Society recognizes members of the Guild who have included provisions for the Westmont music program in their estate plans. These members are vital partners who are passionate about Westmont's mission and ministry and wish to sustain future generations of music students who have demonstrated need for scholarship assistance and who would otherwise not be able to attend, build resources for special program initiatives of the music program including supporting Westmont's commitment to global education through our international touring program, and assisting the music program in acquiring artist level instruments to support the music growth of our students. Individuals interested in participating in the Legacy Society may contact the Music Office at 805-565-6040 for more information.
To charge a gift by phone please call (805) 565-7053. Gifts to Westmont are deductible for tax purposes as allowed by law. Please contact Janet Sawlaw at (805) 565-7073 for more information.