Welcome to the Music Department of the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa, and thank you for your interest in our degree programs! Located in Honolulu and within Manoa Valley, the Music Department is the only fully accredited member of the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM) in the state of Hawai‘i.

The Music Department’s resources and facilities support and promote excellence in performance and academics. The Mae Zenke Orvis Auditorium is the Music Department’s recital hall with seating capacity of 401 and excellent acoustics. Ideal for solo recitals and chamber music, it features two Steinway concert grand pianos and a pipe organ. The Music Department has 51 pianos and 23 practice rooms divided between the Dorothy Kahananui Wing and the round practice facility. The 110-seat choral room hosts rehearsals and classes as well as intimate concerts and recitals. We also have an Orchestra/Band Rehearsal Room, an Electronic Keyboard Lab, and the Barbara B. Smith Ethnomusicology wing.

Hamilton Library houses the music collection of approximately 21,500 scores and 100 serials, including a substantial collection of online journals and reference materials. Hamilton Library also houses the Harry C. and Neechang Wong Audiovisual Center, which has in its collection more than 20,000 recordings, tapes, audio/visual equipment, and music related materials. The Center is well equipped with a variety of sound and video reproduction equipment. One Yamaha electronic piano allows students to practice on scores housed in the music score collection.

The Music Department is also noteworthy for its local ties to professional music organizations: the Hawai‘i Symphony, Hawai‘i Opera Theatre, and Diamond Head Theatre. Many of the department’s instrumental teachers are members of the Hawaii Symphony, and the orchestra generously offers an annual reading of new works written by the department’s composition students. The Hawai‘i Opera Theatre and Diamond Head Theatre offer multiple performance opportunities for our students to participate in productions and master classes, to study with guest teachers, and to conduct senior projects.

Mission Statement

The University of Hawai‘i, Mānoa Music Department is housed within the College of Arts and Humanities. In concert with the College, the department implements and enhancing State and University plans and in helping faculty, staff and students reach their goal. The department’s flexible and multi-faceted mission is:

  • To support the University’s special interest in Asia and the Pacific
  • To reaffirm the centrality of the Arts and Humanities in higher education
  • To help students adapt to rapid cultural and technological change
  • To assert the value of personal involvement in and responsibility to society
  • To prepare students for meaningful economic positions in Hawai’i, the Pacific, and the nation.

The Music Department has long operated within the parameters outlined above. Its principal objective is to provide undergraduate and graduate instruction and co-curricular events that:

  • Are components within a broad liberal background (BA)
  • Are a preparation for teaching music in elementary and secondary schools (B.Ed., M.A. in music education)
  • Are a preparation for professional performing, composing, private teaching or teaching music at the college level (B. Mus, M.A., M.M., Ph.D. in music)

Our mission and our multi-partite objective are well aligned with the UH System strategic plans as well. We intersect with the University’s four objectives:

  • To provide all qualified people in Hawai’i an equal opportunity for a high quality university education
  • To create knowledge and gain insights through research and scholarship
  • To preserve and contribute to the artistic and cultural heritage of the community
  • To provide other public service through dissemination of current and new ideas and techniques and techniques

The Music Department achieves its mission by featuring a unique blend of academic and practical instruction in Western music traditions and in the musics of the Pacific region and Asia. Our regular offerings include an unusually varied array of beginning to advanced non-Western ensembles, like gamelan, koto, gagaku, Chinese instrumental, Tahitian song/dance, hula, slack key guitar, Hawaiian music, Hawaiian chorus, and Samoan song/dance. Also supporting the education of our students in every semester are high quality groups that perform Western music, like the wind ensemble, symphonic band, orchestra, jazz ensemble, concert choir and chamber singers. The Music department features an outstanding faculty consisting of acclaimed performers, respected and noted composers, scholarly historians, innovative educators and a world-class ethnomusicology department.

All of these elements combine to help the department fulfill its mission while providing an educational experience that embraces the uniqueness of Hawai‘i.