As a constituent of a land-, sea-, and space-grant institution, the Music Department strives to fulfill the potential of the land-grant concept by advancing musical culture among residents of the state and region, as well as within the UNH community. The Music Department's outreach programs are many and historied. Learn more about these programs by clicking the links below.

for placement only


SYMS: Summer Youth Music School

Students concentrate on a major instrument or voice part and choose electives to broaden their experience. They associate with talented young musicians who share their excitement about music, and they study with outstanding teachers and freelance artists. Enrollment for certain instruments may be limited.

In addition to concert bands, a variety of choruses, a string orchestra, and a full orchestra, we offer master classes, small ensembles, jazz groups, and other opportunities designed to improve each student's technique and musical understanding. Stimulating and challenging classes are available to students at all levels. Private lessons, at additional cost, are available to interested students.


Woman playing piano


PEP: The Piano Extension Program

For over twenty years, the PEP program has been providing quality piano lessons with performing opportunities to area children and adults at a reasonable rate on the University of New Hampshire (Durham) campus. The entire program is overseen by Dr. Mathilde Handelsman,  piano faculty member at UNH. She matches students with teachers, compiles starting “packets” for each student, and handles all registration and administrative aspects of the program.


Clark Terry UNH Jazz Festival logo


The Clark Terry UNH Jazz Festival

The annual UNH jazz festival features guest artists, UNH jazz faculty, the UNH Jazz Band, and high- and middle-school students from throughout New England.

The UNH jazz faculty enjoyed a long-standing relationship with jazz great, Clark Terry. In his honor and name, the Music Department holds an annual jazz festival. The festival includes adjudicated performances by high- and middle-school groups, clinics and performances by guest artists and UNH students, and gala concerts by guest artists and the UNH Jazz Band.

Clark Terry UNH Jazz Festival

Clarinet, trumpet, conducting baton, and percussion mallets


The New Hampshire Youth Band

The New Hampshire Youth Band provides an enrichment experience to dedicated players of concert band instruments in middle school and high school, grades 6-12. The band is conducted by Professor Emeritus Mark DeTurk, Sean Meagher, band director at Epping High School, and Jon Ludwig, band director at Coe Brown Northwood Academy .  Rehearsals are Thursday evenings from 6:30 to 8:00 pm at the Paul Creative Arts Center at the University of New Hampshire.

Band members benefit from the resources and opportunities available on a college campus including excellent equipment, a beautiful concert hall, and assistance from college music students who work patiently with each student to help them perform sophisticated, age-appropriate music at a high level. Students who have enjoyed the SYMS (Summer Youth Music School) programs at UNH seem to really enjoy and benefit from the New Hampshire Youth Band experience.

NH Youth Band

UNH Youth Symphony Orchestra


UNH Youth Symphony Orchestra

The mission of the University of New Hampshire Youth Symphony Orchestra is to provide orchestral experiences of the highest possible caliber to string students in the seacoast region of New Hampshire, southern Maine, and northeastern Massachusetts. By providing quality musical instruction and high standards of rigor, the UNH-YSO seeks to help students develop in their technical capabilities and musical understanding.

Youth Symphony Orchestra



Choral Gala

The UNH Choral Gala is a one day choral music event for high school choruses in the New England Area. This event is held annually on the last Saturday of January in the Paul Creative Arts Center, UNH, Durham. The UNH Choral Gala offers a unique experience to other festivals in the area. High school choruses each perform 2-3 works for each other and receive feedback from a guest clinician in an engaging choral masterclass. Students also prepare three short choral works for performance together with university singers from UNH. Each choir is featured individually in the Gala concert and perform the final combined-choir pieces together

Choral Gala



UNH Violin Viola Day

A day of practice and performance for high school violinists and violists

UNH Violin/Viola Workshop



UNH Cello Festival

The  UNH Cello Festival is an event filled with masterclasses, cello ensembles, and instrument viewings with Carriage House Violins.  In 2022 we were very excited to welcome Rhonda Rider (Boston Conservatory) as our featured guest artist. The festival will concludes with a performance by the UNH Cello Ensemble, Dr. Jacques Lee Wood and Dr. Mathilde Handelsman (UNH piano faculty), and  special guest presenters.

Janet Polk with bassoon


All-State Audition Tips

Watch our video series that features UNH music faculty giving tips on how high school students can best prepare for the All-State audition process.

Watch All-State tips videos



Music Education Visit Day

UNH Music Education Day is designed for juniors and seniors in high school who are considering a career in music education working as an elementary music specialist, middle school/high school choir teacher, or middle school/high school band or orchestra teacher. This free event for registrants will include classes in conducting, elementary and secondary methods from UNH professors, sit in on ensemble rehearsals, meet with current students, and experience first-hand what it might be like to be a music education major in college.