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History of the School of Music

A selective outline of the History of the School of Music by Margaret Vardell Sandresky

Now in its third century of existence, the Salem College School of Music continues to be a leader in the education of young musicians, from the opening of its doors in 1804 to now, well into the 21st century. Below you will find selected historic moments of our illustrious past.


1804

The School of Music opens

1815

The first “Fortepiano exams” are played

1824

Stringed instruments and a grand piano are purchased

1866

The Boarding School is incorporated and named Salem Female Academy

1877

The Music Department is formally established under President Zorn

1890

President Clewell awards the first A.B. degrees to seven graduates

1923-1951

Charles G. Vardell, Jr., Head of piano department; Dean, School of Music

1933

Salem College becomes a member of the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM)

1952-1986 

Clemens Sandresky, Dean, School of Music

1965

Fine Arts Center is constructed. Flentrop organ (Shirley Recital Hall) and Holtkamp organ (Hanes Auditorium) are installed

1986

Barbara Lister-Sink, first woman Dean, School of Music

1986

Founding of Friends of Music

1986

Steinway “D” Concert grand piano given by anonymous donor for Hanes Auditorium

1992

Dean Lister-Sink resigns as Dean to become Artist-in-Residence

1995

Professors of Organ, John and Margaret Mueller, retire

2003

Voice professor, Joan Jacobowsky, retires after 53 years of service

2003-2008  

Fine Arts Center renovation including refurbishing Shirley Recital Hall and Hanes Auditorium

2009

Professional Certificate Program in Injury-Preventive Keyboard Technique is established (first of its kind in the U.S.); Directed by Barbara Lister-Sink

2012-2013

1965 Flentrop Organ in Shirley Recital Hall renovated