The Hollywood Reporter has ranked the University of North Carolina School of the Arts at No. 5 on its list of “Top 25 Music Schools” for 2016. The list, published online Nov. 23, includes 24 American schools and the Royal College of Music in London.
“These elite institutions attended by the likes of Leonard Cohen, Alicia Keys and Diane Warren will help you hit the high notes in everything from film composition to live performance,” the ranking article begins. “So whether you want to become one of the world’s best violinists, compose music for the big screen or master the recording studio, THR’s ranking of the top 25 music schools and programs will help narrow the search.”
Chancellor Lindsay Bierman said the School of the Arts is thrilled to be recognized for a third time this year by the publication. “We’re honored, and especially proud, of the continued recognition by The Hollywood Reporter for our artistic and academic excellence. This top-ten ranking in music follows the magazine’s recent listing our School of Filmmaking at No. 14 in the country, and our Drama School at No. 18 in the world,” he said.
“Whether they are training for performance, composition or film scoring, our students demonstrate extraordinary talent and commitment,” he added. “It’s great to see our music programs get the recognition they deserve.”
The Hollywood Reporter cited two “notable alumni” for UNCSA: Eddie Barbash, a UNCSA high school graduate who is saxophonist for Jon Batiste and Stay Human, the house band for Steven Colbert’s “Late Show” on CBS; and Randy Jones, who attended UNCSA in the ’70s and performed for many years with the Village People.
The article quoted Chris Heckman, who received his M.F.A. in film music composition in 2009 and now teaches film scoring at UNCSA: “There's a studio system model there for everything — preproduction through post. It's a great place to grow as an artist for two years before you head out into the real world."
Brian Cole, who became Dean of the School of Music on Aug. 1, said the ranking is a welcome boost for recruiting efforts. “The Hollywood Reporter article noted that competition is fierce in the music industry,” said Cole. “Top-notch artistic training programs are equally competitive. We’re extremely proud that our student body includes incredibly talented and creative students from around the world who come here for the unique and special experience this campus provides -- and with a faculty of tremendous artists and mentors."
Cole noted that UNCSA is unique among THR’s list of music programs. “We are one very few institutions in this country that offer not only undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate degrees, but also an elite, arts-based high school program,” he said. “And we are the only university on the list that additionally offers dance, drama, filmmaking, theatre design and technology, and visual arts.
“Students at UNC School of the Arts have the advantage of living and learning alongside peers in a variety of disciplines. That makes for a very rich and dynamic educational experience that other institutions cannot offer,” Cole added.
Ranked above UNCSA were Juilliard, the University of Southern California, San Francisco Conservatory of Music and Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University. Former chancellor and renowned conductor John Mauceri was mentioned as a notable alumnus of the Yale School of Music, ranked No. 14.
In addition to those mentioned by THR, notable music alumni of UNCSA include:
Tenor René Barbera, the first artist to be the sole recipient of First Prize for Opera, First Prize for Zarzuela, and the Audience Prize at Placido Domingo’s Operalia in 2011. He has performed with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, San Diego Opera, Piedmont Opera, San Francisco Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, and Italy’s Teatro Comunale di Bologna and Opera Festival in Pesaro. He was a fellow of the A.J. Fletcher Opera Institute at UNCSA.
Ida Bieler, violinist who has won international competitions on three continents and is now a member of the UNCSA string faculty and artistic director of the Chrysalis Chamber Music Institute. She was the first woman to hold a concertmaster position in a major European orchestra, the Gürzenich-Orchester Köln (Symphony and Opera Orchestra of Cologne), was a full professor for violin and chamber music at Robert Schumann Hochschule Düsseldorf and guest professor for violin at the Universität für Musik und Darstellende Kunst Graz, Austria. and visiting professor at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Violin and Chamber Music in London.
Violist Richard O’Neill, an Emmy Award winner, two-time Grammy nominee, and Avery Fisher Career Grant recipient who performs with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. He was honored with a proclamation from the New York City Council for his achievement and contribution to the arts. He has appeared with the London, Los Angeles, Seoul, and Euro-Asian philharmonics; the BBC, KBS, and Korean symphonies; and the Moscow, Vienna, and Württemburg chamber orchestras.
Tichina Vaughan, mezzo-soprano, who recently debuted at La Scala in Milan, Italy. She has performed with the Metropolitan Opera, in Germany at Staatsoper Stuttgart and at the Semperoper in Dresden, the State Theater of Saxony, and guest engagements in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Michigan, and Orlando as well as at the Finnish National Opera, the Rome Opera, the Greek National Opera, Teatro Massimo Palermo, the Teatro Filarmonico Verona, the Teatro della Muse Ancona, the Festival Arturo Toscanini Bussetto, the National Opera Budhapest and the National Opera Hong Kong.
In May, THR ranked UNCSA’s Drama program No. 18 on its list of 25 undergraduate programs in the world. In August it named the UNCSA School of Filmmaking No. 14 on its sixth annual list of top 25 film schools in the country.
November 30, 2016