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A World of Music in the Heart of the City


From state-of-the-art performance venues to internationally-recognized professors who are innovative musicians, scholars, and composers, the Department of Music at MSU Denver will elevate your musicianship so you can turn your passion into a successful career. Whether you choose to pursue performance, composition, or music education, our diverse curriculum flows through classical, jazz, commercial, and world music to help you navigate the broad range of opportunities that exist for the 21st-century musician. 

You’ll enjpy extensive performance opportunities with over 20 different ensembles ranging from choir and orchestra, to big band and mariachi. Our 200+ concerts per year, including our Visiting Artist Series, will inspire and enrich your musical experience.

Music varies from place to place and culture to culture, but we see it as a universal language. We invite you to learn that language, and learn how to share that language, at the most accessible, affordable, and diverse university in Colorado.

News & Announcements

Image of Fred HessIn Memoriam: Dr. Fred Hess (1944-2018)

We are deeply saddened by the passing of Dr. Fred Hess, Associate Professor of Theory and Composition, on Saturday, October 27th. 

Born in Abington, Pennsylvania, Dr. Fred Hess grew up in New Jersey, attending Trenton State College before moving to Colorado in 1981. He graduated with a doctorate in music composition from the University of Colorado, Boulder in 1991. Among his many accomplishments and contributions to the music community, he founded the Boulder Creative Music Ensemble, was the founding director of Denver’s Creative Music Works Orchestra, led the Fred Hess Quartet, and was a member of drummer Ginger Baker’s Denver Jazz Quintet.

In his 20 years of service to Metropolitan State University of Denver, Dr. Hess was beloved by his students and colleagues and will be sincerely missed. The Department of Music has established a memorial scholarship in honor of this cherished artist, mentor, and friend. Those wishing to donate to the Dr. Fred Hess Memorial Scholarship may do so at

Our hearts go out to his family, friends, and the broader musical community whom he inspired, challenged, and enriched so greatly.

Degree Options

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Bachelor of Music

Music Performance

Explore our degree paths in Instrumental Performance, Jazz and American Improvised Music Performance, and Vocal Performance.
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Bachelor of Music


The Bachelor of Music with a concentration in Composition provides students the tools and techniques to confidently express their music.
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Bachelor of Music Education

With Licensure in K-12 Music Education

One of the leading programs in the State of Colorado for education and career placement of music teachers in K-12 music programs.
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Bachelor of Arts

Music and Music Theory Concentrations

The B.A. in Music and extended B.A. in Music Theory are available to students interested in a variety of music career paths.