The Harvard University Wind Ensemble is an organization of up to fifty talented musicians. It was founded in the 1960’s by conductor James Walker to offer musicians of the Harvard community the opportunity to study and perform original literature for winds and percussion. Much of the repertoire for winds includes music for chamber ensemble (Mozart’s Serenades), brass ensemble (Gabrieli’s Canzoni), and percussion ensemble (Chavez’s Toccata). The Wind Ensemble is directed by Mark Olson.
Jazz programs at Harvard were initiated in 1971 by Director of Bands Thomas G. Everett and have developed in conjunction with the Office for the Arts at Harvard since 1976. Programs currently include two eighteen-piece undergraduate jazz ensembles, with opportunities for improvisational and combo experience, and an annual Jazz Master in Residency in which artists work and perform with undergraduates. In addition to playing local jazz festivals, concerts, and dances on campus, band students study the history, styles, and literature of jazz and develop listening and improvisation skills. The Harvard Jazz Bands are led by Directors Mark Olson and Yosvany Terry.
The Office for the Arts at Harvard (OFA) supports student engagement in the arts and integrates the arts into University life. Through its programs and services, the OFA teaches and mentors, fosters student art making, connects students to accomplished artists, commissions new work, and partners with local, national, and international constituencies. By supporting the development of students as artists and cultural stewards, the OFA works to enrich society and shape communities in which the arts are a vital part of life.
The Music Department offers both an undergraduate and a graduate program. Undergraduates receive an A.B. with a concentration in music. Graduate students complete a PhD program in historical musicology, ethnomusicology, theory, composition, or cross-disciplinary music studies. There is also a small A.M. program in performance practice.
Founded by director emeritus Tom Everett in 1972, the Harvard Summer Pops Band (HSPB) is open without audition to all brass, woodwind, and percussion players from Cambridge, Harvard, and the Greater Boston area, regardless of age or experience. It is a great way to keep playing during the summer, or to start playing again if you haven't touched your instrument in a number of years. Each season of the HSPB concludes with two concerts at the end of July, one in Harvard Yard and one at the Hatch Shell on the Charles River Esplanade.