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New School of Music will build on UTSA’s commitment to student success

New School of Music will build on UTSA’s commitment to student success

Tracy Cowden, founding director of the UTSA School of Music and COLFA Dean Glenn Martínez speak during the celebration of the new UTSA School of Music.

SEPTEMBER 1, 2022 — The University of Texas at San Antonio today announced the establishment of the School of Music, a new school within the College of Liberal and Fine Arts (COLFA) created as a result of recent efforts to contemporize and elevate the college through the Tactical Visioning exercise that began in 2021.

The School of Music will supersede and continue the efforts of the Department of Music with 62 faculty members serving over 300 music majors and dance minors, as well as serving hundreds of additional students from across the university who participate in music and dance courses.

The shift into a School of Music is an outcome of the COLFA Tactical Visioning Process and presents a more accurate representation of how the program has evolved—thanks to the work of countless faculty, staff and alumni—since its founding in 1974.


“This puts us in a class with other institutions that also have significant music programs, both in Texas and nationally.”



The UTSA faculty, staff and students celebrate the announcement of the new UTSA School of Music on Thursday, Sept. 1, 2022.



Today’s announcement represents the next step in UTSA’s work to be the university of the future for the city of the future,” said UTSA Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Kimberly Andrews Espy. “The new School of Music means more students coming out of UTSA with degrees in a number of music-related fields, ready to stake their claim in this industry.”  

“The change from a Department of Music to a School of Music both recognizes our veritable past and projects into the future as the city’s premier music education and performance enterprise nested in its only tier one public research university,” said COLFA Dean Glenn Martínez. “It recognizes the efforts of previous generations of musicians who devoted their careers to the formation of a top-notch music program for San Antonio and the South Texas region.”

Roland K. Blumberg Endowed Professor Tracy Cowden has been named founding director of the school. Cowden joined UTSA in 2018 and has served as chair of the Department of Music since that time.

For students and faculty, the name change is more than a matter of rebranding; it is an exclamation of UTSA’s pledge to provide world-class music education while at the same time enriching the culture of San Antonio’s fine arts community. Director of Instrumental Ensembles and Recruiting Coordinator John Zarco says the strategic shift from a Department of Music into a School of Music is one that brings the university in greater parity with other top music schools in the nation.

“This puts us in a class with other institutions that also have significant music programs, both in Texas and nationally,” said Zarco. “It is an indication that the university is serious about the arts. There is a certain prestige attached to the name, and I think it will help inspire future students and our community to see UTSA as an artistic, musical, and cultural center.”


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⇒  Learn more about the School of Music

Faculty anticipate the transition into the School of Music to have a positive impact on recruitment. With comprehensive coursework offered in traditional areas such as performance, pedagogy, composition, and conducting, as well as modern industry-driven paths such as music marketing and audio technology, the school provides many possibilities for aspiring students looking to develop their talents into a career. Coupled with an extensive roster of successful alumni who have made names for themselves such as Jennifer Black and David Portillo, this makes UTSA a prime destination for a degree in music.

“For nearly 50 years, we have fostered the development of outstanding musicians, teachers, scholars and multimedia artists, and our graduates have made a tremendous impact on their communities,” said Cowden. “Becoming a School of Music communicates our program’s excellence, but also reflects the passion and dedication of faculty and students over the history of our program, as well as a tremendous amount of optimism and excitement about what is yet to come."

Rolando Ramon



UTSA Today is produced by University Strategic Communications,
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of The University of Texas at San Antonio.

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UTSA Today is produced by University Communications and Marketing, the official news source of The University of Texas at San Antonio. Send your feedback to news@utsa.edu. Keep up-to-date on UTSA news by visiting UTSA Today. Connect with UTSA online at Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and Instagram.


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UTSA’s Mission

The University of Texas at San Antonio is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. As an institution of access and excellence, UTSA embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property - for Texas, the nation and the world.

UTSA’s Vision

To be a premier public research university, providing access to educational excellence and preparing citizen leaders for the global environment.

UTSA’s Core Values

We encourage an environment of dialogue and discovery, where integrity, excellence, inclusiveness, respect, collaboration and innovation are fostered.

UTSA’S Destinations

UTSA is a proud Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) as designated by the U.S. Department of Education .

Our Commitment to Inclusivity

The University of Texas at San Antonio, a Hispanic Serving Institution situated in a global city that has been a crossroads of peoples and cultures for centuries, values diversity and inclusion in all aspects of university life. As an institution expressly founded to advance the education of Mexican Americans and other underserved communities, our university is committed to promoting access for all. UTSA, a premier public research university, fosters academic excellence through a community of dialogue, discovery and innovation that embraces the uniqueness of each voice.