Horatio Parker, the School's first Dean

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History

1854

Joseph Battell gives $5,000 to Yale College “for the support, as far as it may go, of a teacher of the science of music to such students as may avail themselves the opportunity.”

1855

The Yale Corporation approves the appointment of Gustave Jacob Stoeckel as an instructor in church music and the singing director of the Chapel Choir and other musical activities at Yale College.

1889

The Yale Corporation creates a department of music, thanks to an extended campaign by Mr. Stoeckel.

1890

Gustave Jacob Stoeckel is appointed Battell Professor of Music, making him the university’s first music professor.

Yale offers its first credited courses in music.

1894

Yale’s first Bachelor of Music degrees are awarded to a class of four.

Gustave Stoeckel retires, and two new teachers are appointed to succeed him: Samuel Simons Sanford as Professor of Applied Music and Horatio Parker as Battell Professor of the Theory of Music.

The Yale School of Music is established, thanks to the efforts of Professor Sanford.

1900

The Yale Collection of Musical Instruments is established with the donation of Morris Steinert’s collection of keyboards and other instruments.

1901

Woolsey Hall is built to celebrate the bicentennial of Yale University.

1902

The Newberry Memorial Organ is built in Woolsey Hall. The organ is renovated and expanded in 1915 and 1928.

1904

Horatio Parker is given the title of Dean of the School of Music.

1917

The School gets a new building: Albert Arnold Sprague Memorial Hall is constructed through the generosity of Mrs. Sprague and her daughter, Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge. The entire School was housed here: studios, practice rooms, library, offices, and an auditorium.

1919

Horatio Parker dies. David Stanley Smith becomes the new Dean and serves until 1940.

1932

The School’s graduate division is established, and Yale awards its first Master of Music degree.

1939

The Yale Summer School of Music/Norfolk Chamber Music Festival is established with a legacy gift from Ellen Battell Stoeckel.

1940

German exile composer Paul Hindemith joins the faculty.

1941

Bruce Simonds begins his 13-year term as Dean.

The Yale Collegium Muscium is established to study early music.

1953

Hindemith leaves Yale and returns to Europe.

1954

Luther Noss, a member of the faculty since 1939, becomes the new Dean.

Sprague Hall is remodeled to accommodate the School’s rapidly growing library.

The School of Music acquires York Hall to meet the need for additional studio facilities and administrative offices. York Hall is renovated and renamed Stoeckel Hall in honor of Yale’s first instructor in music.

1958

The School of Music becomes a graduate professional school exclusively in 1958, requiring an undergraduate degree for admission and conferring only the Master of Music degree.

1961

The Yale Collection of Musical Instruments moves to its current home at 15 Hillhouse Avenue.

1968

The Schools adds new graduate programs, leading to the Master of Musical Arts and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees.

1970

Musicologist Philip Nelson serves at Dean through 1980.

1973

Yale Institute of Sacred Music, an interdisciplinary graduate center for the study of music, liturgy, and the arts, is established.

The School’s orchestra becomes known as the Philharmonia Orchestra of Yale, and Otto-Werner Mueller becomes the orchestra’s resident conductor.

Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki joins the faculty, teaching at Yale for six years.

1976

The Tokyo String Quartet joins the faculty as artists-in-residence. The quartet remains an integral part of the School until its retirement from the international concert stage in 2013.

1980

Frank Tirro, a musicologist and early music specialist who had been chair of the Department of Music at Duke University, is appointed Dean.

1983

Aldo Parisot establishes the Yale Cellos. The ensemble goes on to earn a Grammy nomination and perform in France, England, and Korea.

1989

American composer Ezra Laderman becomes Dean.

1995

Pianist Robert Blocker joins the Yale administration as Dean of the School of Music.

1997

The Yale Percussion Group is established under the direction of Robert van Sice.

1998

The music library reopens in its new home within Sterling Memorial Library and is now known as the Irving S. Gilmore Music Library.

2003

Sprague Hall reopens after extensive renovations, revealing a refurbished Morse Recital Hall and outfitted with a new recording studio, Center for Studies in Music Technology, and Smart Classroom.

2005

Stephen Adams ’59BA and Denise Adams make a transformative gift of $100 million, enabling the School to¬†expand academic programs and give full-tuition scholarships to all students.

2006

Renovations are completed on the building at 435 College Street, which reopens as Leigh Hall and houses faculty studios, classrooms, and offices.

2007

The Yale in New York concert series begins presenting concerts at Carnegie Hall and other New York City venues.

2008

The Yale Philharmonia makes its first tour of Asia, with performances in Seoul, Beijing, and Shanghai.