The Administration Building (left) on the edge of the Bowl in the 1930s

In 1931 the University of Saskatchewan Department of Music was the first institution in Western Canada to offer a B.Mus. degree, making 2021 its 90th Anniversary. In 1934 Margorie Wilson then became the first graduate from the department. Ensemble activity at that time was scant and a string orchestra, later named the Saskatoon Symphony, began on campus in 1931 conducted by the first Department Head, Aurther Collingwood. The Department of Music became a College of Music in 1936 and then back to a department in the College of Arts and Science in 1952. In 1962 it enrolled its first graduate student (M.Ed. in music). In 1969 the B.Mus. was revised and a B.Mus.Mus.Ed. program was launched, along with B.A. and B.Ed. programs in music. In 1978 the M.A. in music was added, and the M.Mus. in 1988. In 1989-90 it also offered a Ph.D. Prior to 1975, the department was located in the basement of the historic Administration Building (now known as the Peter MacKinnon Building) with adjunct classrooms located in Kirk Hall. In 1975 the department relocated to its present quarters on the first floor of the Education Building (Crighton, Wults, & Mills, 1992, p. 1345). 

Today the Department of Music continues to offer an abundance of Undergraduate (B.Mus. Performance Honours, B.Mus. Individualized, B.Mus.Mus.Ed., B.A. 3-year and 4-year, and a Jazz Certificate) and Graduate (M.Mus. Performance, M.Mus. in Conducting, M.Mus.Ed., and M.A.) degree programs to meet the needs of the students and community at large. Since 1934, the department has led the way in graduating multiple students who have made a significant impact locally and around the world in teaching, performing, conducting, and academia. The department continues to be connected to Saskatoon and the wider community including the Saskatoon Symphony. It sponsors various concert series in addition to faculty and student recitals, and a Fine Arts Research Lecture Series. Each year it offers well-over 100 events such as recitals, concerts, workshops, clinics, conferences, and lecture forums to the public. Faculty continue to be engaged in academic, teaching, and performative ways locally, nationally, and internationally. Intramural performing ensembles include the Greystone Singers, University Chorus, Wind Orchestra, Concert Band, Jazz Ensemble, Music Theatre, USask Symphony Orchestra, Chamber Ensemble, Amati Strings, Saskatoon Youth Orchestra, and various brass, woodwind, percussion, and string ensembles. 


Crighton, A., Wults, P. M., & Mills, I. M.  (1992) University of Saskatchewan in Encyclopedia of Music in Canada, 2nd ed.  Kallmann, H. & Potvin, G.  Toronto:  University of Toronto Press.

For more information about the USASK Department of Music's history, please visit our webpage, Of Note, which highlights our most notable alumni by decade!