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
The Westmont music department's very first student performances of the season are just around the corner. First, the Westmont Orchestra will be presenting their annual Fall concert on both Friday, October 21st (7:00 pm at Westmont's Page Hall) and Sunday, October 23rd (3:00 pm at Music Academy of the West's Hahn Hall). In addition to a lovely opening hymn arranged by Westmont alumna Emily Rutherford Mizuki '15 and Otto Nicolai's "The Merry Wives of Windsor: Overture", the highlight of this program will be the Orchestra's performance of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony, a beloved favorite of new Orchestra director and chair of the Westmont music department, Dr. Ruth Lin. Dr. Lin invites all to join her and the orchestra in appreciating the expanse of human experience in this piece and celebrating the hard work the students have put into performing this music. General Admission is $10 (cash/check only, tickets sold at the door), students free.
The Fall Choral Festival will take place the following Friday (October 28th) at 6:00 pm at the Music Academy of the West's Hahn Hall. The Westmont College Choir and Choral Union will be singing alongside several highschool choirs visiting from all over California to share some wonderful choral music from an array of different musical traditions. An exciting part of the program will be the College Choir's performance of Japanese Composer Ko Matsushita's "O Lux Beata Trinitas" which will set the tone for the season that will culminate in Dr. Daniel Gee leading the College Choir on an international tour to Japan in May of 2023. The Fall Choral Festival concert is free to the public.
The 18th annual Westmont Christmas Festival, “The Prince of Peace,” returns to Santa Barbara’s famed Granada Theatre Saturday, December 3, at 7 p.m. and Sunday, December 4, at 3 p.m. Tickets, which cost $22 each, go on sale Thursday, November 3, at 5 p.m. at westmont.edu/festival. For ticket information or to purchase tickets by phone, please contact the Granada box office at (805) 899-2222.
For many, Christmas in Santa Barbara begins with the festival, which celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ through an inspiring presentation with a theme, a narrative and Christmas music from around the world and throughout the centuries, deepening our understanding of this holy season.
“In a broken world where there is constant conflict and strife, it can feel overwhelming and hopeless at times,” says Ruth Lin, who conducts the Westmont Orchestra and chairs the college’s music department. “We hope that this year's Christmas Festival will remind all of us that a Prince of Peace was promised, has come, and will come again.”
The festive event features the Westmont Orchestra, College Choir, Chamber Singers and Choral Union. 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
COVID-19 Spring 2021 Quarantine Concert Series
- 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
- Lonnie Ostrander, Choral Union
- 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
- Heather Levin, Piano
- Lonnie Ostrander, Collaborative Pianist
- Nico Abondolo, Double Bass
Christopher Ahn, Cello
- Jim Connolly, Bass Guitar
- Marcia Dickstein, Harp
Isaac Kay, Violin
- Aaron Oltman, Viola
- Barry Newton, Double Bass
- Alexander Park, Guitar
- Emily Sommermann, Violin
- Dr. Han Soo Kim, Strings Coordinator, Violin
- Dr. Nichole Dechaine, Voice
- Christina Jensen, Opera
- Bryan Lane, Voice
- 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
- Britta Thomas, Cello
Meet the Staff
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 Choral Union, now under the direction of Matthew Roy and Karen Janzen, provides a choral music opportunity for all Westmont students who are not members of the Westmont College Choir. It is open to all without audition. Geared primarily toward first-year students, the Choral Union focuses on choral music fundamentals and provides opportunities for large mixed, single-gender, and chamber ensembles. The Choral Union performs a wide variety of repertoire in various configurations and collaborates with the Westmont College Choir. Performance highlights include the Fall Choral Festival, the Christmas Concert, the Spring Choral Masterworks Concert, and the spring Vocal Chamber Concert.
The College Orchestra, conducted by Dr. Michael Shasberger, 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
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 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.