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.

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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 Professor Christopher Kies, a member of the piano faculty at UNH. He 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 Mark DeTurk, Coordinator of Music Education at UNH, and Eric Kobb, Band Director at the Cooperative Middle School in Stratham, NH.  Rehearsals are Wednesday 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

Bassoonists and Oboists playing at double reed day


Double Reed Day

The University of New Hampshire’s Double Reed Day (UNH DR DAY) is a day-long event held each January for double-reed players of all ages and skill levels. Over 100 participants come each year sometimes braving snow storms, ice storms, power outages and floods both outside AND inside. More often than not, however, the sun does shine on this day. Janet Polk, UNH bassoon instructor and Margaret Herlehy, UNH oboe instructor organize this event with the able assistance of the music service fraternity, Kappa Kappa Psi.

Double Reed Day

Choral Gala

The Choral Gala is organized and directed by Dr Alex T. Favazza Jr., director of Choral Activities at UNH.

Choral Clinics: Choirs get to work with guest university conductors individually
High School and Middle School choirs perform for the guest clinicians and receive specialized instruction. Those individual choirs are then featured in the Gala Concert performance later that night.

Gala Honor Choirs
Students sing dynamic choral repertoire in a mass honor choirs conducted by the guest clinicians. There are two Gala Honor Choirs: The Middle School Gala Honor Choir and the High School Gala Honor Choir. Students come together from schools from around the region in this group choral experience. Students learn the Gala Honor Choir music on the day of the event, so teachers do not have to prepare the music ahead of time.

Choral Gala