Music Performance

A degree in Music Performance provides you with the real-world skills you need for success in a competitive and demanding professional environment. Simply put, you will learn from artist-teachers who are networked into the music industry from New York to LA, from Beijing to Sydney, and across Europe. Work alongside solo artists, recording artists, contractors, entrepreneurs, members of military ensembles, composers and arrangers, and many more.

  • Our GRAMMY Award-winning faculty are networked into the international music industry and know exactly what it takes to be successful in careers from the concert hall to the recording studio, sound stage, or outdoor music festival.
  • In addition to curricular concerts and events, students have opportunities to perform professionally in multiple ensembles including the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Pittsburgh Opera and Ballet Orchestras, and Pittsburgh Jazz Orchestra, to name a few.
  • Performance majors at both undergraduate and graduate levels have the opportunity to pursue an emphasis in jazz studies
  • Our students benefit from master classes presented by internationally-recognized music experts and guest artists.
  • The Institute of Entertainment, Music, and Media Arts (IEMMA) allows you to engage in real-world activities and connect with industry-leading professionals while on campus.
  • Through coursework and internships, performance majors learn to manage the business and promotional aspects of professional music-making.
  • Our graduates succeed. They can be found performing virtually every style of music locally, nationally, and around the world.

View the 2023–2024 Curriculum

Audition Overview

Admission to the Mary Pappert School of Music also includes a formal audition. Learn more about the audition process & guidelines.

Program Information

Varied curricula for each applied area—brass, guitar, keyboards, percussion, strings, voice, woodwinds. See catalog for specific details.

Program Type




Academic Department

Performance (Music)



Required Credit Hours


Chair of Performance

Stephen Benham

Professor of Music Education; Chair of Performance Department

Headshot of Steve Benham against a gray background

Hone Your Performing Skills

Regardless of degree path, each student benefits from one-on-one instruction with our world-class faculty.

Duquesne's ensembles will provide you with the finest university-level performing experiences available, preparing you for your career as a professional musician. As a member, you will perform on campus, as well as at some of the best venues for music in the city. Our students have performed at Heinz Hall, Carnegie Music Hall in Oakland, Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall, the August Wilson Center, the Andrew Carnegie Free Library and Music Hall, and many more. 


In today's competitive commercial and studio music environment, versatility is of the utmost importance. Our unique jazz curriculum integrates foundational training in the classical tradition with private instruction and coursework in jazz idioms.

Performance Facilities

Students and faculty of the Mary Pappert School of Music participate in over 200 annual concerts and recitals, held both on- and off-campus in a variety of venues. PNC Recital Hall and the Dr. Thomas D. Pappert Center for Performance and Innovation are two of the primary performances spaces in our building. In addition, some larger-scale events are held in other University spaces, including the Charles J. Dougherty Ballroom in the University's Power Center, the Student Union Ballroom, and the Chapel of the Holy Spirit, to name a few.

Dedicated in 2001, the PNC Recital Hall provides an intimate performance space for faculty and student recitals, as well as small chamber group performances, and comfortably seats an audience of 250. The stage is large enough to accommodate a small orchestra, and the live acoustics make it ideal for chamber music and solo performance. The hall is equipped with two Model D nine-foot Steinway concert grand pianos that are among the finest in the Pittsburgh region, as well as a 2-manual harpsichord by Anderson H. Dupree. A built-in audio/visual system enables technology students to present multimedia performance projects complete with video projection and surround sound.

Explore PNC Recital Hall

Audience Perspective

Stage Perspective

PNC Recital Hall performances can be recorded in both audio and video from a dedicated recording room backstage via a remote-controlled high definition PTZ camera, as well as a pair of DPA Compact 4011 cardioid microphones and a spaced pair of DPA SMK4061 omnidirectional microphones suspended above the stage. The recital hall stage can also be tied into the adjacent Recording Complex for more involved multi-track recording sessions. Acoustics can be varied by retracting or deploying the heavy draperies surrounding the stage, and the stage is fully equipped with several movable acoustic shell panels.

See the PNC Recital Hall in Concert


Each year, many students and faculty utilize the PNC Recital Hall for recitals and concerts. In addition, the room also doubles as a classroom/lecture space for larger classes and guest artist master classes. A portable SMART board for high-definition, interactive presentations is available for use in both the PNC Recital Hall and the PNC Recital Hall lobby.

PNC Recital Hall Lobby

The PNC Recital Hall Lobby is a multi-purpose space acoustically isolated from the recital hall and is equipped for hosting receptions with an adjacent kitchen. Two large-screen televisions and a sound system capable of simulcasting live events inside the hall are also available.

In addition, the lobby is routinely used as a classroom (movement classes, such as Eurhythmics), making use of a concealed whiteboard and the aforementioned audio/visual amenities.

Explore PNC Recital Hall Lobby

The Dr. Thomas D. Pappert Center for Performance and Innovation provides our students and faculty with a technologically sophisticated and acoustically superb space. Designed and built for the optimal sound experience, the Pappert Center incorporates visionary thinking in acoustic engineering and is equipped with the latest audio/visual and recording technologies. This resource inspires our students and faculty to achieve the highest levels of creativity and artistry in their musical ventures.

Presentations and performances can be captured digitally in both high definition video and audio. These captures can be used for packaging media and streaming broadcasts for internet, television, and radio. In addition to its versatility as a performance and recording venue, the Pappert Center also serves as a rehearsal space for several of our large ensembles, including the Duquesne Symphony Orchestra, Wind Symphony, and Symphony Band, and can also be adapted to serve as a classroom/lecture space for classes and clinics with larger numbers of students.

Explore the Pappert Center

Instead of a raised stage that limits open space, roughly one-third of the Pappert Center's floor is finished in a hardwood "stage." Theatrical lighting, a variety of seating arrangements, and a high-tech audio/visual system, including a 16-foot video projection screen and surround sound audio, complete the transformation from a rehearsal space to a performance venue that can seat over 100 people.

Inside the Pappert Center, you will have the ability to utilize one of our four Model D Steinway grand pianos, as well as easy access to the instrumental music library. Percussion studios and storage are also directly adjacent, making for easy setup/teardown.

The Pappert Center is directly tied into the William M. Schrecengost Memorial Mastering Suite where concerts, recitals, and rehearsals can be captured, recorded, and prepared for critical listening purposes, enhancing the experience of those studying state-of-the-art techniques in digital audio, video production, and broadcast media.

Many of our ensembles regularly perform off-campus in some of Pittsburgh's most notable halls, auditoriums, and churches, including:

  • Carnegie Music Hall, Oakland
  • Heinz Hall (home of the GRAMMY Award-winning Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra)
  • August Wilson Center
  • Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall
  • Twentieth Century Club
  • Andrew Carnegie Free Library and Music Hall
  • St. Paul Cathedral
  • St. Mary of the Mount Parish

Other notable venues outside of Pittsburgh in which our ensembles have had the opportunity to perform have included both Carnegie Music Hall and Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola at Lincoln Center in New York City, as well as many other prestigious venues around the country. The Voices of Spirit travel regularly, recently performing in various venues in Canada.

As a student of the Mary Pappert School of Music, you will have access to over 60 practice/rehearsal spaces throughout the building. These spaces are equipped with amenities including Steinway pianos, full-length mirrors, and music stands. Large ensemble rooms and classrooms are also available by request.

Standard Practice Room

Piano Major Practice Rooms

If your applied instrument is piano, you will be granted access to a suite of practice rooms equipped with Steinway baby grand pianos. In addition, one of the piano major practice rooms includes two pianos. The piano practice rooms often double as rehearsal spaces for accompanied instrumental or vocal works. Accompanists and students in the collaborative piano program often use these spaces to prepare for student recitals.

Matty and Eddie Shiner Practice Rooms

On the lowest level of the Mary Pappert School of Music, there is a suite of acoustically-enhanced practice rooms that are larger than standard practice rooms, allowing you to conduct small group rehearsals. These rooms are equipped with Steinway upright pianos and were renovated through the generous gifts of donors who wished to preserve the memory of Matty and Eddie Shiner, renowned trumpet and trombone artists who taught thousands of Duquesne brass students over their years of service.