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Historical Timeline

1856

Maryland Agricultural College is chartered by the Maryland State Legislature.

1862

Passage of the Morrill Land Grant Act provides federal funds to schools that teach agriculture, engineering, and military training. Consequently, military drum corps and bugle corps appear on campus.

1870-1900

Student bands and choirs are formed on campus, supplementing campus military ensembles.

1908

The campus's formal Cadet Band is established.

1920

Maryland State Agriculture College merges with the professional schools of medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, nursing and law in Baltimore to form the University of Maryland.

1954

The "Department" of Music is formally established within the University of Maryland at College Park by Homer Ulrich, who becomes Music's first chairman.

1966

Department of Music receives full accreditation by the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM).

1967

University of Maryland Chorus is founded by Music faculty member Paul Traver.

1970

UM International Piano Festival and William Kapell Competition is founded by Stewart Gordon, chair of Music's piano division.

1971

New competition, the Homer Ulrich Awards in Solo Performance, is established in honor of retiring Music chairman Ulrich.

1975

Scholarship Benefit Series is created by Paul Traver, featuring faculty artists in concert to raise funds for undergraduate Music scholarships.

1977

International Piano Archives moves from NYC to the Music Library of the University of Maryland at College Park.

1981

Maryland Handel Festival is founded by Music faculty member Paul Traver and Howard Serwer, beginning a 20-year project to perform all of Handel's dramatic English oratorios in chronological order of composition and in their original versions.

1983

World-famous chamber ensemble the Guarneri String Quartet joins the Music faculty as artists-in-residence, beginning a 20-plus year relationship.

1985

Music faculty member Paul Traver is the first recipient of the University of Maryland President's Medal, the highest honor bestowed by the University community, recognizing sustained contribution to the quality of life on campus.

1986

American Handel Society is founded by faculty member Paul Traver, Howard Serwer, and J. Merrill Knapp.

1987

National Orchestral Institute (NOI) is established at the Department of Music for young orchestra musicians on the verge of professional careers.

1988

Renovations begin on the Tawes Fine Arts Building.

1989

Maryland Opera Studio is established by Music faculty member Leon Major to prepare college singers for professional careers in opera.

1991

Marian Anderson International Vocal Arts Competition begins its three-year history.

1993

Leonard Rose International Cello Competition begins its three-year history.

1994

Tawes Building recital hall is renamed Ulrich Recital Hall in honor of the Department of Music's founder and long-time chairman.

1995

Faculty artist Carmen Balthrop is inducted into the University of Maryland Alumni Hall of Fame in its inaugural year.

Departments of Music, Dance, Theatre, Classics, English, and History sponsor tercentenary tribute to English composer Henry Purcell entitled "Tuneful Muses."

Board of Regents approves the re-designation of the Department of Music as the UM School of Music.

1996

Christopher Kendall, founder of the Folger Consort, is appointed Director of the University of Maryland School of Music.

1998

International Rachmaninoff Festival-Conference takes place at the UM School of Music.

2000

Record-setting purchase of 103 new Steinway pianos.

World famous pianist André Watts and Cleveland Orchestra concertmaster William Preucil join the UM School of Music as artists-in-residence.

UM School of Music moves into the new Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center at Maryland.

UM School of Music sponsors Aaron Copland and American Identity Festival and Conference.

2001

First public performance in the Gildenhorn Recital Hall — "Happy Birthday, Mozart" of the UM School of Music's Scholarship Benefit Series.

The Maryland Handel Festival celebrates its final year and 20th anniversary with performances of George Frideric Handel's last dramatic English oratorios — Theodora and Jephtha.

Gala Dedication of the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center at Maryland.

Category F3 tornado brushes the Clarice Smith Center, interrupting Dedication Week.

2003

Applications to the UM School of Music top 1000, an all-time high.

25th Anniversary of the William Kapell International Piano Competition & Festival.

2004

World Premiere of CLARA, a new opera about the life of pianist and composer Clara Weick Schumann, co-commissioned by the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center and the School of Music's Maryland Opera Studio.

Groundbreaking "NSO at Maryland" Residency brings the National Symphony Orchestra to the UM School of Music for a week of masterclasses and seminars with students, culminating in performances by the combined NSO/UMSO and soprano Linda Mabbs.

2005

Music faculty member John E. Wakefield, the longest-serving director of UM Bands, retires after forty years.

Record-setting donation by Robert H. Smith produces two million dollars of scholarship money to be awarded to Music students over eight years.

2006

Robert Gibson, Professor of Composition and a UM alumnus, is named Director of the UM School of Music following a six-month national search.

2007

The UM School of Music co-commissions and presents the world premiere of Later the Same Evening: an opera inspired by five paintings of Edward Hopper. The new opera is a joint project of the School, the National Gallery of Art and the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center.

2008

Centennial of UM Bands: "100 Years of Leading the Way," since the creation of the campus's first official band in 1908 - the Cadet Band.

New concert series Music in Mind: The Sound of Discovery debuts, replacing the Scholarship Benefit Series.

2009

The UM School of Music co-commissions and presents the world premiere of Shadowboxer, a new American opera based on the life of one of the greatest boxers who ever lived - Joe Louis. Joint commission with the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center and Commissioning Partners Peter Wolfe and Robert and Patricia Knight.