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Union College
The World Musics and Cultures Program


Type of Program and Degrees Offered

The World Musics and Cultures Program at Union College is an interdisciplinary program offering courses, concerts and performance opportunities that explore the diversity of the world’s people and the music that we make in a vibrant academic setting. Grounded in the Departments of Music and Anthropology, students can take a range of courses that reveal the intersection of music and cultural anthropology, develop skills in ethnographic methods, and encounter specific styles through both hands-on performance and academic study of the musics and cultures of Africa and the African Diaspora, Asia (Central, East, South and South East), Europe, Latin America, and North America. Through the study of music, students gain a unique understanding of culture.

Students can major in Music, but include a number of world music courses (we don’t offer an official ‘concentration’ in ethnomusicology within our Music curriculum), minor in the World Musics and Culture Program, or design their own major focusing on themes and methodologies of ethnomusicology.

Program Statement 

We are a small liberal arts college, but our program offers a surprising variety of content in both the classroom and co-curricular world music ensembles. I established this program in 2007 with the hopes of generating a major in the future.

For additional information please see our website: Union College.

Why Study Music and Culture at Union College? The study of music and culture reveals the importance of music in the everyday life of the people’s of the world. Students come to understand what is music both as a cultural practice and a system of organized sound. These concepts are then explored in diverse musics from around the world. Through discussion of reading and listening assignments, enhanced by hands-on exposure to different ways of making music, students increase their understanding of the connection between society and music and the ways in which musical elements come together from at times divergent sources to form unique styles. Students will ultimately gain the vocabulary and listening skills necessary to engage with music of the world as an integral component of culture.

Special Resources

Students may participate in the Union College Jazz ensemble, which performs a wide variety of styles from Bebop to Latin and regularly gigs on and off campus. Zakuro-Daiko, the Union College Japanese drumming ensemble, features not only Japanese musical styles, but also incorporates diverse musics from such varied areas as South Asia, the Caribbean, and Indonesia. In addition to these faculty-lead student ensembles, Union College regularly welcomes renowned global artists to perform on campus. Students may also pursue private study of world instruments.

Full-Time Faculty in Ethnomusicology

Jennifer Milioto Matsue. Associate Professor, Department of Music, Asian Studies and Anthropology. Director, World Musics and Cultures Program. Ph.D., University of Chicago (2003). Interests: Japan, popular music, Bali, equestrian sports and music.

Affiliated Faculty

Timothy Olsen, Associate Professor, Department of Music. D.M.A., Yale University (1995). Interests: Jazz, Latin America and Africa; Composition.

Further Information

Jennifer Milioto Matsue
Associate Professor
Director of the World Musics and Cultures Program
Union College
Department of Music
807 Union Street
Schenectady, NY 12308

Program Website


Related Websites

Union College Music Department Website:

 The content for Union College was last updated October 3, 2017.

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