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Department of Music

Department of Music

Department of Music


At Birmingham-Southern, you can explore music in ways you never imagined—from making it to understanding its history. From its beginnings as the Birmingham Conservatory of Music in the city's early years, music at Birmingham-Southern College has focused on excellence. It now features an extraordinary faculty of nationally and internationally recognized artists and teachers, including performers, composers, conductors, music historians, and music educators. Equally impressive is our record of student achievement.

You’ll find:

  • Private instruction in voice, piano, organ, guitar, and orchestral instruments. Individual attention is our hallmark; all lessons are taught by faculty members active in the world of professional music, not by graduate assistants.
  • Plenty of performance opportunities, including a range of ensembles on choral and instrumental ensembles on campus and a weekly Recital Class, which provides a supportive environment for student performers and composers.
  • Great visiting performances on campus and access to the best of big-city music in Birmingham, which boasts a major orchestra, professional opera companies, ballet organizations, theatres, and a rich jazz legacy.
  • Professors who are working musicians with deep roots in the community and connections to the region’s musical world.
  • Top-notch facilities that include Steinway concert grand pianos; a 53-rank, tracker-action recital organ plus practice organs; a state-of-the art studio offering recording facilities and diagnostic tools for students; three technology-based studios and a musical technology classroom; and a 280-seat recital hall.
  • The music program has been accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music since 1934 and was honored with a National Association of Teachers of Singing Award for Vocal Excellence. 


    Faculty & Staff

    Full-Time Faculty

    • Jeremy Grall (D.M.A., University of Memphis) - Musicology, Guitar
    • Jeff Kensmoe (D.A., University of Northern Colorado) - Director of Opera, Applied Voice, Southern Chorale
    • Jacqueline Leary-Warsaw (D.M.A., Peabody Conservatory of Music) - Chair, Department of Music, Applied Voice, Vocal Literature, Vocal Pedagogy, Diction for Singers
    • Lester C. Seigel (D.M.A., University of Colorado, Boulder) - Conducting, Theory, Music Literature, Concert Choir

    Marching Band

    Conservatory of Fine and Performing Arts

    • Lucy Victory, Director of the Conservatory

    Adjunct Music Faculty:

    • James Baker, Horn
    • Jay Burnham, Percussion
    • Virginia Dismukes, Piano
    • Zakaria Enekeev, Viola
    • Robert Janssen, Clarinet and Saxophone
    • Erin Ludwick, Voice
    • David Mazanec, Bass
    • Andrew Miller, Tuba
    • Constance Moore, Piano, Piano Pedagogy
    • Anne Pandolfi, Violin
    • Matthew Phillips, Theory, Music Technology, Music of the World's People
    • Rebecca Remley, Flute
    • Brandon Slocumb, Trombone, Music Education
    • James Sullivan, Oboe
    • Jodean Tingle, Piano, Piano Ensemble
    • Laura Usiskin, Cello
    • Margery McDuffie Whatley, Piano
    • Alex Zdanis, Bassoon


    • Judy E. Pandelis, Manager of the College Theatre Box Office/Academic Programs Secretary/Art & Art History, Music, and Theatre Departments
    • Russell Williams, Piano Technician

    Collaborative Pianists

    • Virginia Dismukes
    • Derek Jackson

    Degree Programs

    The Department of Music provides music education and training within a liberal arts context; all courses, whether taken by majors or by other students, are designed to help students increase their enjoyment of and ability to create music.

    The department offers three distinctive degrees:

    • A Bachelor of Arts (BA) with a major or minor in music, designed for students who wish to study music in a broad liberal-arts context.
    • Bachelor of Arts (BA) with Disciplinary Honors in Performance for students who wish to have a more intensive focus on performance in their music studies.
    • A Bachelor of Musical Arts (BMA), a music-intensive degree for students who wish to connect their musical studies with another academic area.

    Learning outcomes

    Students who seek a degree in music must audition in their principal instrument and demonstrate sufficient competency to undertake college level work. Once accepted, students must achieve a proficiency level appropriate for their degree and must advance towards that degree at a rate acceptable to the music faculty. Following two years of study, a committee of music faculty will interview students. The committee will advise students concerning their degree plans and expectations.

    Upon completion of the music major, students will be able to

    • hear, identify, and work with musical elements – rhythm, pitch, harmony, structure, timbre, texture,
    • read and apply musical notation through performance,
    • recognize and articulate an understanding of compositional process and musical style with reference to artists, technologies, events, and cultural forces through the major periods of history,
    • use research tools and analysis to develop, defend judgments, and write about music,
    • demonstrate a trajectory of continuing growth in applying skills and musical performance

    Success Stories

    Our graduates go on to rich, varied careers from the performance stage to the classroom to the executive suite. Regardless of the path they choose, they take with them an inspired love of music. In the last few years, our graduates have:

    • Taught music at Harlem’s St. Aloysius School
    • Earned Master’s degrees at Columbia, Julliard, Yale, Southern California and the University of Alabama
    • Earned Ph.D.s at the University of Edinburgh, Brown University and the University of Texas
    • Graduated from UAB School of Medicine; now working as a neurologist in private practice
    • Earned a Master’s at Columbia; is now in arts management at Columbia Artists and other financial management firms specializing in performing artists

    “The liberal arts approach at BSC gave me a strong foundation which I use everyday as a board certified music therapist. Music therapy joins the arts and sciences and at BSC I was able to explore both.  I have the rewarding opportunity to touch people’s lives through the power of music.”
    --Libby Van Pelt Stephens ’03
    Music therapist at UAB Hospital


    Facilities in the Hill Music Building

    • Twin Steinway concert grand pianos
    • Taylor Recording Studio, providing state-of-the-art recording facilities and diagnostic tools for students.
    • A 36-rank, tracker-action recital organ by Casavant Fréres
    • Tracker and electro-pneumatic practice organs by Schantz, Möller, and Ruhland.
    • Steinway, Yamaha and Baldwin practice pianos and classroom instruments.
    • Three technology-based studios including the state of the art Elebash Electroacoustic Studio featuring both Mac and PC platforms, a 10.2 audio system utilizing 12 Adam Speakers (, KYMA Symbolic Sound design environment ( design, and digital design software including Max/Msp, Nuendo, Audition, Waves, and Sonar. Other studios include the Music Technology Classroom and the Taylor Digital Recording Studio.
    • Yamaha Disclavier pianos and internet access in classrooms
    • A 280-seat Recital Hall