Message from the Director

Dr. Jeffrey Sposato
Professor and Director 
School of Music

Welcome to the School of Music at the University of Illinois, one of the most distinguished music programs in the country.

The 2021/22 academic year will be a year of renewal at the School of Music, during which we start to put the disruptions of COVID-19 behind us. The past two years were difficult for everyone, but they were especially challenging at a music school, where close interactions between students and faculty and public performances are the norm. Nevertheless, I was deeply impressed by the ways in which our students, faculty, and staff rose to the occasion and continued to make music. This year, we are once again planning a full array of concerts, as well as a continuing celebration of the 125th anniversary of the School.

This is my third year at the School of Music. During my relatively short tenure, I’ve been repeatedly astonished by the depth and breadth of the world-class music programs that have been built here. From our Lyric Theater program to our symphony orchestra, from the Black Chorus to the Electronic Music Studio, from the award-winning research being conducted in musicology and music education to the spirited performances of the Marching Illini, the students and faculty at Illinois are second to none. It’s a true honor and privilege to be here!

Illinois graduates play leading roles in hundreds of orchestras, choruses, bands, K-12 schools, and colleges and universities. The School of Music is first and foremost a resource for the state of Illinois, but our students and faculty come from around the world, and the impact of our alumni and faculty is global as well. Our students have performed on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera, at the Newport Jazz Festival, in Carnegie Hall, and in other important venues and with leading companies far too numerous to mention. Complementing our wonderful people, facilities like the Krannert Center and Smith Memorial Hall (a registered national landmark) are true gems that enable our students to perform in breathtaking venues and bring some of the finest musical programming in the world right here to Champaign-Urbana.

For parents and students wondering if a music career is right for them, let me say that U of I is a place where bright, motivated music students can have it all. They can get the benefits of being at a world-class research institution that provides its students with a top-tier liberal arts education, and they can simultaneously receive immersive, conservatory-style professional training. What this mix means is that students who come to Illinois will be prepared for a variety of career options after graduation. We already have many degree programs that guarantee this, and we continue to expand them. We want all our students to feel confident that great things await those who hold a degree from the School of Music! 

If you have questions about what it means to be an Illinois music student, please don’t hesitate to reach out. I’m at The School of Music is an amazing place; I hope you’ll consider joining us!