Campus & Community

NEC, FAS announce joint degree program

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Exceptional students may combine FAS bachelor’s and New England Conservatory master’s

New England Conservatory (NEC) and Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and

Admission to the new joint program will be open to high school seniors who would apply to both institutions for the freshman year. (Staff file photo Jon Chase/Harvard News Office)

Sciences (FAS) have agreed to establish a new degree program allowing exceptional students to earn both a bachelor of arts degree from Harvard and a master of music degree from NEC, beginning in the 2005-06 school year. The initiative will benefit those students who are both musically and intellectually talented, and who might otherwise have to choose between Harvard’s rigorous education in the liberal arts and sciences and the professional music training offered by NEC.

Students will begin the first year of the two-year M.M. program concurrently with the fourth year of the A.B. program. Admission to the new program will be open to high school seniors who would apply to both institutions for the freshman year. Students already enrolled at Harvard may also apply at the end of their freshman or sophomore years. A maximum of four or five students are expected to be admitted each year.

Both Harvard and NEC believe the initiative will enhance their academic communities. According to Thomas Forrest Kelly, chairman of the Harvard Music Department, the program “will attract extremely talented musicians, capable of a major career in music, and capable of being recruited to Harvard, who do not go to Harvard because of their desire to retain close connections with the professional world of music.” Such students “would enrich the Harvard community by their presence and the musical world by the quality of their education.”

“This new opportunity will build on the work emerging from the Harvard College

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Curricular Review by expanding the opportunities for artistic expression within the College’s liberal arts education,” said William C. Kirby, dean of the FAS and Geisinger Professor of History. “We look forward to welcoming such talented students to the College and helping them combine a broad humanistic perspective with advanced musical training.”

“It’s a win-win-win situation,” said NEC President Daniel Steiner. “Harvard and NEC will enroll gifted students who might have studied elsewhere, and the whole Boston community will benefit from their presence.”

Founded in 1867, the NEC is the oldest independent school of music in the United States. It offers rigorous training in an intimate, nurturing community to 750 undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral music students from around the world. Its faculty of 225 includes internationally esteemed artist-teachers and scholars. Its alumni go on to fill orchestra chairs, concert hall stages, jazz clubs, recording studios, and arts management positions worldwide. Nearly half of the Boston Symphony Orchestra is composed of NEC-trained musicians and faculty.

Its college curriculum features training in classical, jazz, contemporary improvisation, world, and early music. Through its Preparatory School, School of Continuing Education, and Community Collaboration Programs, the NEC provides training and performance opportunities for children, precollege students, adults, and seniors. Through its outreach projects, it allows young musicians to engage with nontraditional audiences in schools, hospitals, and nursing homes – thereby bringing pleasure to new listeners and enlarging the universe for classical music and jazz.