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Music | Theater and Dance

Firmly grounded in the spirit of the liberal arts, the arts departments at Macalester College provide world-class learning experiences in dance, the fine arts, music, and theater. The Music, Art and Art History, and Theater and Dance departments welcome students at all levels of expertise, offering a wide range of studio and academic courses, as well as varied performance and showing opportunities. First-year students are invited to attend the Arts@Mac lunch, which takes place yearly in the first week of the fall semester, when they can meet majors and minors, faculty and staff, and learn about auditions and the curriculum.


The Macalester Music Department offers courses and performance opportunities in Western concert music, jazz, pop, African music, Asian music, Scottish piping, early music, electronic music, and other musical traditions. Individual instruction at all levels and musical ensembles by audition are available for all interested students. Students may major or minor in music.

The Music Department at Macalester College aims both to celebrate music as a source of beauty and an agent for positive change and to interrogate music from critical perspectives that reveal its powerful and direct social influences. In lessons and ensembles in various traditions (Western art music, African music, Jazz, Scottish Highland, and various folk and popular musics of the world), we train students in the practical arts of music-making, with regular opportunities for recital participation, ensemble tours, master classes, and interaction with guest artists. In our varied curricular offerings, we place music within the broader context of the liberal arts, leading students to a deeper appreciation of music’s social and political status across time and space. Graduates of Macalester’s Music Department find themselves well poised to pursue graduate study at the nation’s top music schools, whether it be as performers or in an academic fields such as musicology, ethnomusicology, composition, and music theory. Other participants of the program, from the most committed to the most casual, leave Macalester’s Music Department enriched by their experiences making music and thinking more imaginatively about the many roles that music plays in their lives and in the world around them.

Visit the Music department website to learn more about ensembles, audition schedules and additional opportunities.

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Theater and Dance

Welcome to the Theater and Dance Department!

Our department offers small academic and studio courses in which students are closely mentored by expert faculty. We encourage students without previous experience to try a beginning course in acting, dance, design, or playwriting. With the exception of dance technique courses, THDA classes count for your Fine Arts requirements.

The Theater and Dance Department prepares the next generation of performers, directors/choreographers, designers, researchers, technicians and playwrights. Macalester is in a privileged location for students interested in the arts, as the Twin Cities have the second highest number of theater companies per capita in the United States, after New York. Courses in Theater and Dance regularly bring students to on- and off-campus theater and dance productions. Here you will find nationally-recognized LORT theaters such as the Guthrie and exciting companies such as Penumbra Theatre, Mixed Blood, Jungle Theatre, and many more. You will learn the vocabularies of our disciplines, take master classes with guest artists, and become part of a vibrant arts community.

Visit the Theater and Dance department website to learn more about class offerings, recent THDA graduates, and audition schedules.

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