A Different Tone

Music Department Strives to Educate the "Whole" Musician

Richard D. Savage '01 transferred to Harvard from Oberlin, where he spent most of his time studying piano and composition.

At Oberlin, he was able to focus on his musical interests. Other classes--if he wanted to take them--came second. At Harvard, he says he found a new emphasis. Because of the demands of Harvard's music and academic departments, he had to re-order his priorities.

At Harvard, he quit the piano to concentrate on composition after deciding he couldn't do both.

"My first priority was always composition in music," Salvage says. "I couldn't balance practicing piano every day, composition and classes. But I don't regret that."

Salvage says he doesn't think the fact that Harvard doesn't have a performance major is detrimental to the musical environment, and that the fault of Harvard as an intense academic institution does not lie with the music department.

But he acknowledges that leisure time is hard to come by for Harvard's music concentrators.

The relatively few students here who want to be professional musicians face a difficult set of requirements and challenges if they want to succeed in the department.

Most budding symphonists go the conservatory route. Harvard's department smiles upon on music theory and composition classes.