Being a Performance Major

Form lifelong connections with your teachers: award-winning solo and recording artists, professional music directors, members of military ensembles, composers, and arrangers. A degree in music performance provides you with the real-world experiences you need to succeed in a competitive and demanding professional environment. Simply put, you will connect and network with the best artist-teachers in the music industry from New York to LA, from Beijing to Sydney, and across Europe. 

Immerse yourself in Pittsburgh's thriving arts culture. In addition to university concerts and events, many students perform regularly in the tri-state region with ensembles such as the GRAMMY Award-winning Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Pittsburgh Ballet and Opera Orchestras, Pittsburgh Camerata, Pittsburgh Jazz Orchestra, Mendelssohn Choirs, Bach Choir of Pittsburgh, and numerous other ensembles in the region. We even have a Hire a Musician program that connects you with local employers and venues, so you can take your performance expertise beyond the classroom and into the field, allowing you to make money while sharpening your entrepreneurial skills.

Degrees & Programs

At the Mary Pappert School of Music, you have a wide variety of horizon-expanding performance degrees and programs to choose from at both undergraduate and graduate levels. We will help you find the right path for your bigger goals.

A singer performing in front of a piano.


You've got a love for music. Our Bachelor of Music in Performance sets the stage for you to go anywhere.

A singer performs on stage.


You've laid the groundwork. Now, refine your skills with a Master of Music in Performance.

Instrumentalists perform together.


You've got the foundation. You've honed your technique. Now, dive even deeper with an Artist Diploma.

Study and Play Jazz

Our unique jazz curriculum integrates foundational training in the classical tradition with private instruction and coursework in jazz idioms.

Applied Areas

Regardless of your intended degree program, you will continue to hone your skills as a performer and musician. In addition to your one-on-one lessons with our award-winning faculty, you will have opportunities to perform with our ensembles as well as in solo or chamber recitals. Learn more about each of our applied instrumental and vocal areas below:


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.

Upcoming Events

A person holds a trumpet in an outdoor park.

Guest Artist Master Class: Ryan Beach, trumpet

Ryan Beach is a performer, practice coach, podcaster, and content creator whose mission...

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  • Mary Pappert School of Music
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Blue graphic with white calendar and music note icons.

Student Recital: Jesse Thompson, violin

From the studio of Charles Stegeman.

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Members of the Bridges Saxophone Quartet pose holding instruments on a staircase.

Guest Artist Performance: Bridges Saxophone Quartet

The Bridges Saxophone Quartet is a fresh new chamber ensemble comprised...

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Performance Department

As a student at the Mary Pappert School of Music, you study with professors internationally acclaimed in their fields.

Stephen Benham

Performance Department Chair

Headshot of Steve Benham

Thomas Kikta

Guitar Area Coordinator

Man in front of a brick wall with a classical guitar.

Anoush Tchakarian

Interim Keyboard and Sacred Music Area Coordinator

smiling woman wearing black and green sits at a piano

Eliseo Rael

Percussion Area Coordinator

Man holds timpani sticks.

Aaron White

String Area Coordinator

Man poses with a double bass.

Ron Samuels

Woodwind Area Coordinator

Man poses with a clarinet.

Alumni Perspective

man playing saxophone

I will always be grateful for my education at the Mary Pappert School of Music. It was such a rich environment with world-class teachers who were connected to the current scene and present on a regular basis to share their knowledge about the music industry. It’s very rare to find teachers like this who excel in both the performance and academic worlds.

Darryl Yokley B.M. Performance, 2003