Theory, History & Composition

The Theory, History, and Composition Department provides a comprehensive theory and musicianship program as well as a series of weekly music history courses (for adults only) designed to promote an understanding of musical styles and genres. While history classes are offered quarterly, theory and composition classes are offered based on student interest and availability. Email for theory and composition inquiries.

Year-long offerings

Music Theory for Adults

If you are interested in Music Theory individual lessons for adults, please contact Stephanie Purschell at or 626.683.3355.

Fall Quarter History Courses

Music for the Keyboard: Piano Chamber Music

Instructor: Dr. Sarkis Baltaian

Schedule: 10 Weeks | Fridays 9:30 a.m.-11:45 p.m. (Sept 8 – Nov 17)

This course examines and explores piano chamber music repertoire from the Classical period through the 20th century. Representative works include piano trios, quartets, and quintets by Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Schumann, Brahms, Dvorak, Faure, Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, Ravel, Bartok, and Shostakovich.

Irving Berlin, George Gershwin and Cole Porter: The Titans of the Great American Songbook

Instructor: Vatché Mankerian
Schedule: 5 Weeks| Wednesdays 10:00 a.m.-12:15 p.m. (Oct 4 – Nov 1)

The three great American composers of the early 20th century, Irving Berlin, George Gershwin, and Cole Porter, created some of the most memorable and influential American songs. These songs, many of which appeared in some of the greatest Hollywood movies and Broadway shows, have become recognized as classic songs of America. Indeed, some of these, which have endured the test of time have been elevated into the pantheon of the Great American Songbook.

Beyond Category: The Artistry of Nat King Cole and Sister Rosetta Tharpe

Instructor: Dr. Ray Briggs
Schedule: 10 Weeks| Fridays 1:00 p.m.-3:15 p.m. (Sept 8 – Nov 10)

This course is the latest installment of an ongoing series that explores unique American artists whose musical works defy simple categorization. Highlighted figures for the fall quarter will include jazz pianist-turned pop crooner Nat King Cole and gospel-based, rock and roll trailblazer Sister Rosetta Tharpe.

Visit the Fees page for more information about tuition and registration fees.