Advice, Policies, and Application Procedures for Prospective Visiting Scholars and Students

NB: Please note that all requests for Visiting affiliations (scholars or students) must be sent to the Department Chair and relevant Area chair directly, require the approval of a majority of the Department's faculty, and must be initiated at least one semester before (and ideally a full year before) the proposed visiting period begins. The following description of our procedures for accepting Visiting Students and Visiting Scholars is very detailed and specific; but you should read it very carefully before requesting such an affiliation with the Columbia University Department of Music. 

The Department is often approached by scholars and graduate students from other institutions who have plans to spend time in New York and who are seeking a "visiting" (courtesy) affiliation with us.  We are delighted to host several Visiting Scholars and Students annually, under a variety of program auspices, and many of us have been graciously hosted at sister institutions in the past. Visiting Scholars and Students enhance the life of our community and create new connections for future exchanges.

Information for Prospective Undergraduates

Information for Prospective Undergraduate Students (Applicants to Columbia College, Columbia School of General Studies, Barnard College, SEAS with Music Minor, CU/Juilliard Joint Programs).

If you are (or your child is) considering applying to Columbia College, Barnard College, the Columbia School of General Studies, or the Fu School of Engineering as an undergraduate, and you have questions about opportunities for undergraduate musicians at Columbia, this page is intended to help you find the answers you need. There are few subjects about which the Department gets more inquiries.

Here are some of the most common questions and their answers:


Q. I want to find out more about opportunities for undergraduate musicians at Columbia. Where do I start?

A. Here are some key links to explore:

A broad description of all undergraduate music programs at Columbia:

Fall 2010 New and Featured Courses in Music


Music Department Featured Courses for Fall 2010.

Click poster to enlarge or download. We have available spaces in all of these classes, so if you're looking for a cool music class for the fall, check some of these offerings out. 

"The New Thing": Jazz 1955-1980

Course Information

CU Directory Course Number: 
MUSI W4507
John Szwed

"The New Thing": Jazz 1955-80 (Course for Fall 2010)
#: 96398
Prof. John Szwed

An examination of the new jazz that emerged shortly after the middle of the 20th century. The seminar will include the work of musicians such as Ornette Coleman, Cecil Taylor, Don Cherry, Anthony Braxton, Carla Bley, Albert Ayler, and the Art Ensemble of Chicago; the economics and politics of the period; parallel developments in other arts; the rise of new performance spaces, recording companies, and collectives; and the accomplishments of the music and the problems it raised for jazz performance and criticism.

Prof. Chris Washburne and the SYOTOS band at the Kennedy Center

CJWProf. Chris Washburne

and his SYOTOS Band played to a packed house at the Kennedy Center on August 8, 2010. This concert featured percussionist Candido Camero and saxophonist Gene Jefferson. You can watch the webcast at:

Aaron Johnson Releases "Songs of Our Fathers"

Aaron Johnson Songs of Our Fathers

Congratulations to Aaron J. Johnson, a Columbia PhD student in Historical Musicology, who has released "Songs of Our Fathers."

Aaron Johnson Songs of Our Fathers

Christopher Washburne in NY Times!

Check out the photo and feature on professor Christopher Washburne in the NY Times:

Writing Musical Lives -- John Szwed

Writing Musical Lives
John Szwed
The Center for Ethnomusicology, 701C Dodge Hall, April 13, 5:30 pm
This talk will focus on some of the virtues and problems of writing about the lives of musicians.  It will include a quick
survey of the types and uses of life narratives by ethnomusicologists, folklorists, social scientists, and popular writers, with a short discussion of some recent innovative biographical works.  Examples will be drawn from a variety of biographies, including my books on Sun Ra, Miles Davis, Jelly Roll Morton, and Alan Lomax

Jazz Festivals and Cosmopolitan Vernaculars -- Anne Dvinge

Jazz Festivals and Cosmopolitan Vernaculars
Anne C. Dvinge, University of Copenhagen

Jazz continues to migrate across national, ethnic, and cultural borders, jazz festivals function as physical and symbolic spaces where the dynamics between the vernacular and the cosmopolitan are put into play. On the one hand, these events are thoroughly vernacular affairs, where communities define and celebrate themselves. But on the other, the celebrations are often aimed at both the local culture of a city and at local, national, and transnational articulations of jazz communities, providing contact zones not just between audiences, performers, and those at the fringes of the festivals, but also between different soundscapes and "acoustemologies".

In this talk Anne Dvinge will take a closer look at jazz festivals, and specifically the Copenhagen Jazz Festival, as manifestations of this double sense of the cosmopolitan and the vernacular, where jazz enters into dialogue with local music cultures. Perhaps, in the constant negotiation and renegotiation of these positions, jazz offers a way out of the either/or bind of the global versus the local.

Thursday, April 15, 2010, 8:00 pm

622 Dodge Hall, Columbia University Morningside Campus

Flirting with America: The Zestful Tale of Italian Jazz -- Enzo Capua

Flirting with America: The Zestful Tale of Italian Jazz
Enzo Capua, with Sara Villa, State University of Milan

This conversation focuses on the key figures and events that have characterized the evolution of jazz in Italy, from its origins just before the Fascist era to the present day. Capua and Villa discuss the roles that musicians, critics, festivals, and educational institutions have played in engaging African-American and European musical cultures as a basis for forging a distinguished Italian jazz tradition.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010, 7:30pm
301 Philosophy Hall, Columbia University Morningside Campus
Campus Map:
Free and open to the public