Apr 14, 2024  
2020-2021 Graduate Catalog 
2020-2021 Graduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Music Department

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Department Chairperson: David Holdhusen, Ph.D.
Coordinator of Graduate Music Studies: David Moskowitz, Ph.D.
Coordinator of NMM Graduate Studies: Deborah Reeves, D.M.A.

Department of Music
Warren M. Lee Center for Fine Arts, Room 114
414 East Clark Street
Vermillion, SD 57069

Phone: 605-658-3466



Margaret Downie Banks, Senior Curator of Musical Instruments, National Music Museum, Ph.D., West Virginia University. Specialization: History of Musical Instruments.                                                          
Tracelyn Gesteland, D.M.A., University of Houston-Moores School of Music. Specialization: Studio Voice, Opera. D.M.A., University of Michigan. Specialization: Studio Piano, Collaborative Piano and Rawlins Piano Trio.
Susan Keith Gray, D.M.A., University of Michigan. Specialization: Studio Piano, Collaborative Piano and Rawlins Piano Trio.
David Holdhusen, Chair, Ph.D., Florida State University. Specialization: Director of Choral Activities, Conducting.
Sabine Klaus, Joe and Joella Utley Curator of Brass Instruments, National Music Museum, Ph.D., University of Tübingen, Germany. Specialization: History of Musical Instruments.
Christopher Kocher, D.A., University of Northern Colorado-Greeley. Specialization: Studio Saxophone, Jazz Studies.
David Moskowitz, Coordinator of Graduate Music Studies, Ph.D., University of Kansas. Specialization: Music History.
Deborah Reeves, Coordinator of National Music Museum Graduate Studies, Curator of Education and Woodwinds, National Music Museum, D.M.A., University of Iowa. Specialization: History of Musical Instruments.

Associate Professors:

Paul Lombardi, Ph.D, University of Oregon. Specialization: Theory, Composition.
Darin Wadley, D.M.A., University of Arizona, Tucson. Specialization: Studio Percussion.

Assistant Professors:

Timothy Campbell, D.M.A., University of Arizona. Specialization: Choirs, Voice.
Dana Carlson-Kottke, M.A., University of South Dakota. Specialization: Voice, Opera.
Todd Cranson, D.M.A., University of Illinois. Specialization: Director of Athletic Bands, Studio Low Brass.
Alessandra Feris, D.M.A., Florida State University. Specialization: Studio Piano, Class Piano.
Ioana Galu, D.M.A., Bowling Green State University. Specialization: Studio Violin, Studio Viola, Rawlins Piano Trio.
Sonja Kraus, D.A., Indiana University. Specialization: Studio Cello, Studio Bass, Rawlins Piano Trio.
John LaCognata, Ph.D., University of Florida. Specialization: Director of Bands, Studio Trumpet.
Amy Laursen, D.M.A., North Texas University. Specialization: Studio Horn, Music Theory.
Nicholas Provenzale, D.M.A, University of Kentucky.  Specialization: Voice, Opera.
David Sanderson, Ph.D., University of Minnesota. Specialization: Music Education.
Luis Viquez, D.M.A, University of Missouri - Kansas City. Specialization: Orchestra, Studio Clarinet.


Master of Music, Plan A and Plan B  


Collaborative Piano
History of Musical Instruments (on hiatus until further notice)
Music Education
Music History
Music Performance

Graduate Certificate

Piano Pedagogy  

Program Description

The Department of Music provides outstanding musical performances, concerts, marching band competitions, festivals, and solo and ensemble recitals throughout the year. Members of the music faculty teach beginning through advanced-level courses. The faculty are active teachers, performers, clinicians, and published scholars.

The Department of Music at the University of South Dakota has been fully accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music since 1953. The Department is also accredited by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education.

ADMISSION REQUIREMENTS (Master of Music and Graduate Certificate)

  1. Completed Graduate Application form found at: https://www.usd.edu/graduate-school/apply-now and a non-refundable application fee of $35.
  2. Official transcript(s) verifying receipt of an undergraduate degree and previous graduate credit (in English or with translation) must accompany an application. Official transcript of all academic work at the undergraduate and graduate levels are required for international students.The USD Graduate School and/or academic units retain the right to require credential evaluations from organizations, such as Educational Credential Evaluators/World Education Services (ECE/WES), for a student if such an evaluation is deemed necessary. Additionally, the Music Department has specific requirements based on degree specialization:
  • M.M. with Specialization in Performance requires an audition with the pertinent applied music faculty.
  • M.M.  with Specialization in Music Education requires an interview with the Music Education professor.
  • M.M. with Specialization in Music History requires an interview with the Music History professor and writing sample.
  • M.M. with Specialization in Collaborative Piano requires an audition with the piano faculty.
  • M.M. with Specialization in Conducting requires an audition with the pertinent conducting faculty (choral or instrumental) and submission of video demonstrating rehearsal and performance conducting.
  • M.M. with Specialization in the History of Musical Instruments requires an interview with the pertinent museum faculty.

The USD Graduate School and/or academic departments retain the right to require an Educational Credential Evaluators/World Education Services (ECE/WES) evaluation for a student if such an evaluation is deemed necessary.

  1. Baccalaureate degree must be from an institution with full regional accreditation for that degree. A minimum undergraduate cumulative GPA of 2.7 on conferred degree and/or graduate cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better, based on a 4.0 scale, on all graduate coursework is required for full admission. 15 credit hours of undergraduate credit in music as approved by the department is preferred. Each graduate program may admit students on provisional status per university policy.  Applicants who do not achieve at least a 3.0 undergraduate cumulative grade point average can only be admitted provisionally to the Music Department. All students entering the graduate music education program must possess an undergraduate degree in music education to finish the coursework within four semesters.
  2. Applicants with degrees from countries other than the United States who have obtained an undergraduate or graduate degree from a regionally accredited American college or university or from an accredited institution in the following English-speaking countries: United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, Canada (Excluding Quebec), Australia, and New Zealand are not required to submit an approved English proficiency exam score. For all other applicants, a minimum score of 71 on the Internet-Based TOEFL (iBT) or 550 on the Paper-Based TOEFL (PBT), a minimum IELTS score of 6.0, or a minimum PTE score of 53 is required for graduate admission. 
  3. Applicants are required to submit a statement of purpose or goal statement. The statement of purpose is a brief discussion of how pursuing a Master of Music degree or Piano Pedagogy graduate certificate will assist in a prospective student achieving their ultimate career goals.

Additional Program Admission Requirements:

  1. Three (3) professional letters of recommendation are required.

Subject to department chair approval, those who do not meet all of the criteria for admission may be admitted on a provisional basis.

Audition Requirements

Students who wish to enter the Performance degree program must first audition for the degree program’s faculty and Department Chair. Contact the Department of Music’s Coordinator of Graduate Music Studies to set up an audition appointment several months prior to the first semester of study.

Application for Graduate Assistantship

Students interested in applying for a Graduate Assistantship in Music must complete the GA application. Students will be notified by late April as to the status of their application.

Focused Music Research Facilities Available:

The National Music Museum and Center for Study of the History of Musical Instruments is one of the major research institutions of its kind. The Museum’s collections of more than 15,000 American, European, and non-Western instruments are the most inclusive in the world. Included are many of the earliest, best-preserved and historically most important musical instruments known to survive. There are also extensive archives of rare books, periodicals, manufacturer’s catalogs, sound recordings, and musical ephemera. Museum faculty and staff provide leadership internationally. More than 750 representative instruments from the Museum’s collections are exhibited in eight public galleries, providing a unique educational experience for students of all ages. For additional information, visit http://nmmusd.org/.

Applied Music

Students must secure permission from individual instructors to study applied music for a given amount of credit. All lessons are assigned at the discretion of the instructor with required signature of the department chairperson. Graduate students will be assigned to a faculty advisor by the chairperson of the Music Department at the time of initial enrollment.

The advisory committee, consisting of the major advisor, history, theory, additional departmental person, and outside person, will be chosen by the advisor and the graduate student with the approval of the department chair. This committee assists the candidate in outlining a plan of study, supervises the preparation of the thesis (if required), supervises the culminating project (if chosen), and is responsible for the administration of the final examinations.

Application Deadline

  • Two weeks before the start fo the semester
    • Fall, Spring, and Summer starts


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