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Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in American Contemporary Music

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Dr. Lisa Cella, director

This unique one-year program for students in performance, composition, and music technology is a place to explore creativity and develop a singular musical voice through complete immersion in contemporary music practices in our state-of-the-art facilities at the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC)

Whether studying and performing with Internationally acclaimed faculty, interacting with living composers, or working hands on with award-winning music technology professionals, UMBC can tailor fit your course of study with intense musical experiences and the opportunity to delve deeply into a particular area of contemporary music with a focus on music from the Americas.

This year welcomes Malcolm Goldstein to UMBC as the guest artist for the LIVEWIRE Festival of Contemporary Music.  Opportunities for this coming year will include working with the world-renowned violinist, composer and improviser as well as performing during the festival.

This program is designed for three types of students:

  1. American students (and other students whose native language is English) looking to strengthen their skills before applying to graduate music programs.
  2. American students (and other students whose native language is English) who wish to focus their music study on American contemporary music.
  3. International music students currently in a UMBC degree seeking program and looking for a one-year experience in the US studying music and English.

UMBC faculty are all recognized experts in the creation and performance of contemporary music. Collectively they have premiered and recorded over a thousand new works in the past 30 years. Students have full access to the Recital Hall, which houses a beautiful 9-foot Steinway, and to the state-of-the-art recording facilities on campus. The program is open to both American and international students (who also take English language classes), enabling rich cultural exchange and collaboration among participants.

Student performers are paired with faculty who are experts in the performance of contemporary music, and develop repertoire through weekly private lessons, informal and formal recitals and ensemble performances.

Music technology students work closely with faculty in a variety of recording, video and sound design projects with high-end equipment and software. Student composers collaborate with student and faculty ensembles for readings and performances of their work along with private lessons in composition.Students applying for graduate school are mentored and assisted by faculty. Credits earned at UMBC often transfer to other institutions.

Program Benefits

  • Individual attention to all music students
  • Academic program tailored to fit each student
  • Study with UMBC faculty specialists in the creation and performance of contemporary and classical repertoire
  • Obtain assistance in graduate school selection and applications

Length of Program

1 academic year (late August – May) (Students may elect to stay an additional year)


Suburban location of UMBC campus near Baltimore, adjacent to nature preserve, 3 hours from New York City, 45 minutes from Washington D.C., and 20 minutes from the downtown Baltimore

Program Opportunities


  • Solo performances –recitals as well as participation in student concert series at UMBC and region
  • Ensembles– classical chamber, orchestral music, jazz, vocal, world music, &
  • Seminars – American music history
  • Professional recordings of student performances (additional fee)
  • Use of Steinway concert grand and practice rooms (no extra fee)
  • Apprenticeship with RUCKUS, resident faculty ensemble (for qualified students)


  • Private lessons
  • Performance of student compositions by faculty and advanced student ensembles
  • Professional recordings of student performances

Music Technology

  • Studios equipped with ProTools HD2-accel systems, Waves Diamond plugs, 5.1 surround Genelec and Event stereo monitoring.
  • Access to advanced course work in DVD audio and video production.
  • Opportunity to explore advanced individual projects with technology such as MaxMSP/Jitter and Final Cut Pro.

Transfer Credits

Most institutions including Towson University (MD) and Peabody Conservatory recognize some or all of these credits


The UMBC Music faculty are all recognized experts in the creation and performance of music from the 17th to the 21st centuries. Their qualifications and accomplishments include:

  • Doctorates from Eastman, Princeton, Juilliard, and University of California – San Diego Music Schools
  • Publications on the world’s most advanced clarinet technique and innovative computer music applications
  • Award-winning compositions and performances
  • Prestigious fellowships