Music Department

My Elmhurst Experience

Music students talk about the College's welcoming community.
Watch the videos

Meet James Hile

Director of Bands

An award-winning educator and conductor, Dr. Hile will join the Elmhurst College faculty in August as director of bands.

Alumni News

A Navy Musician

Thomas Eby ’04 landed a prestigious post as trumpeter with the U.S. Navy Band Commodores, the Navy’s premier jazz ensemble.

Department News

A Partnership with Gretsch

Elmhurst College music ensembles perform exclusively on Gretsch drum kits, thanks to a new partnership with the Gretsch Company.

Alumni Stories

Alumna Wins Music Industry Award

Katie Kailus's career as an award-winning music-industry magazine editor began with an Elmhurst College internship.

Elmhurst College’s internationally renowned music department offers exceptional opportunities for students interested in the serious study of music. Just 16 miles from downtown Chicago, Elmhurst provides access to some of the world’s greatest venues, teachers and performers. Opportunities to perform and secure internships, plus excellent facilities, make Elmhurst a great choice.

Our faculty includes members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Chorus, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Grant Park Symphony Chorus and Chicago Sinfonietta, as well as national recording artists and award winners. These world-class musicians work closely with students in a supportive environment.

Elmhurst College provides the opportunity for students to participate in a wide variety of performing ensembles. We have four choral ensembles, three concert bands, two orchestras, two jazz bands, two vocal jazz ensembles, three guitar ensembles, 10 jazz combos and numerous chamber ensembles. Several of our ensembles take regular tours and have gained national and international renown.

The Wind Ensemble has performed twice at Orchestra Hall in Chicago, and has been an invited guest to perform at numerous concert band festivals. Prominent band composers make regular visits to campus to work with our concert bands. In December 2015 we welcomed Philip Sparke to campus.

The Concert Choir has taken recent tours to California, the upper Midwest and Canada, and will perform at New York’s Carnegie Hall in March 2016. This ensemble performed on public television stations across the country in a 2013 production of A Christmas Carol that was nominated for a 2014 Emmy Award. Even more recently, the Concert Choir performed with Andrea Bocelli on his 2014 world tour, at Orchestra Hall in Chicago, and at the 2015 Ravinia Festival with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Bobby McFerrin in a presentation of The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess.  

Late Night Blues, our vocal jazz group, has performed at the Monterey Jazz Festival and at numerous other jazz festivals. This group tours annually both locally and out of state, and has worked with many outstanding professional performers.

The Jazz Band has taken numerous tours of both Eastern and Western Europe and appears frequently with such well-known artists as Dee Dee Bridgewater, Nicholas Payton, Patti Austin, Denis DiBlasio and Randy Brecker. Within the past year the band has performed with The Manhattan Transfer, Bobby Shew and Doc Severinsen. Winner of the 2014 Downbeat magazine award for best undergraduate college jazz band, the Jazz Band serves as hosts to the annual Elmhurst College Jazz Festival, one of the largest and oldest of its kind in the country.

The Philharmonic Orchestra performed at the 2015 ILMEA All-State Convention in Peoria, and last spring enjoyed a very successful tour of the New York City area.

These represent just a few of the many experiences available to our students.

Our practical approach leads to real-world experience and extensive networking before you graduate. For example, music business students complete internships with organizations such as Ravinia Festival and Universal Records, and our music education majors student teach in some of the finest schools in the country. We offer computer and production labs, and the state-of-the art Gretsch digital recording studio. The newly renovated Buik Recital Hall and Hammerschmidt Memorial Chapel are used year-round for hundreds of performances, and Elmhurst College is linked to a library system that can make available nearly any musical resource.

If you are interested in visiting the campus, receiving a complimentary lesson with one of our music professors, sitting in on classes or just having a conversation with one of our faculty members, please contact our music admissions director, Gayle Bisesi, or call (630) 617-3524.

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