Cali at 10: School Celebrates 10 Years of Educating Leaders in Music

Cali School faculty and students celebrated the School’s 10th anniversary with Kaleidoscope, a 90-minute, nonstop musical extravaganza.


With its annual Kaleidoscope presentation in October, the John J. Cali School of Music marked the 10th anniversary since becoming the first school of music at a university in New Jersey.

“Over the span of a single decade, the John J. Cali School of Music has distinguished itself as a locus of musical excellence, earning a reputation that extends beyond the State of New Jersey to across the country and around the globe,” says College of the Arts Dean Daniel Gurskis.

“The School’s strength is in the quality of our world-class faculty of leading musicians and scholars,” says John J. Cali School of Music Director Robert Cart. Today its nearly 500 undergraduate and graduate students pursue degrees in performance, composition, jazz studies, music education and music therapy.

“Over the next 10 years, the reach and impact of the School will continue to grow, as its graduates emerge as leaders in education, performance, composition, scholarship and arts therapy,” predicts Gurskis.

Each year, the School presents more than 300 performances and master classes by students, faculty and guest artists, and students also regularly perform at prestigious off-campus venues, such as NJPAC (with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra), Lincoln Center and the Guggenheim, and tour in the U.S. and Europe.

While the Cali School’s 10th anniversary is a clear cause for celebration, the future looks even brighter. Says Cart: “Our goal is to rank among the top schools of music in the nation during the next decade.” 

A Kaleidoscope of Sound

  • Scene from Kaleidoscope, a 90-minute, nonstop musical extravaganza.
  • Cali School faculty and students celebrated the School’s 10th anniversary with Kaleidoscope, a 90-minute, nonstop musical extravaganza. The October 15 concert was followed by a reception.
  • The celebration will continue throughout the academic year, with a fully staged performance of Ravel’s opera L’Enfant et les sortilèges and a special Director’s Series of lectures and performances.
  • Established in 2006, the School is named for the late John J. Cali, a prominent real estate developer and longtime Montclair resident, who worked his way through college by playing the saxophone.
  • 2006

    Scholarships Applaud Student Talent
    Seeded by a million gift from the John J. Cali family and his foundation, students are considered for a growing range of Cali School scholarships after successfully auditioning for admission.

    Shanghai Quartet Collaboration
    As artists-in-residence and core faculty of the Cali School’s strings program, members of the renowned Shanghai Quartet teach, coach, and perform on and off campus.


    MSU Chorale Performs Verdi’s Requiem with NJSO
    The University’s partnership with New Jersey Symphony Orchestra began in 2004, and includes memorable performances by the MSU Chorale The Lord of the Rings Symphony (2004); Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 (2006); and Verdi’s Requiem (2010, 2014) and the University Singers’ performances of Mozart’s Requiem (2013) and Handel’s Messiah (2014, 2015, 2016).

    Official Opening of Cali School’s New Home
    The new state-of-the-art home of the John J. Cali School of Music holds its Opening Celebration Concert in the 240-seat Jed Leshowitz Recital Hall, named in honor of the son of alumnus Edward Leshowitz ’36, ’96 HON.


    Cali School Celebrates New Status as an “All-Steinway” School
    Students and faculty perform at Manhattan’s famed Steinway Hall as the University joins a prestigious group of national institutions of higher learning that prepare students exclusively on Steinway & Sons pianos.


    Vocal Accord Tours Europe
    The 24-voice chamber choir performs in Austria and Italy during summer 2012. The group traveled to London in 2015 to perform for the Richard Alston Dance Company 20th Anniversary Season Opening at Sadler’s Wells. Students have also participated in international choral festivals.


    Graduate Exchange Program Established with East China Normal University (ECNU)
    The Cali School enjoyed productive performance exchanges with ECNU. In 2013, ECNU student musicians visited campus, and in 2015, Cali students and faculty members performed with the ECNU Orchestra in Shanghai. Since 2015, ECNU MFA in Music students have been able to spend their second year at Montclair State, where they will receive an International Artists’ Diploma. ECNU student musicians rehearsing.


    Graduate String Residency Program Established
    The Cali School’s first graduate-level performing ensemble-in-residence, the Julius Quartet, made its Carnegie Hall debut in March 2015. The program invites preprofessional, graduate-level string quartets to mentor with the Shanghai Quartet and serve as principal members of the University’s Symphony Orchestra.


    Cali School Hosts Conference for Teachers and Students of Voice
    The 2016 Eastern Region Conference and Student Auditions of the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) awarded prizes to 20 Cali School students. More than 200 students competed in auditions or competitions adjudicated by NATS members. Three women at the 2016 Eastern Region Conference and Student Auditions of the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS).

    Unique Advanced Certificate of Music Education Offered
    The first graduate program of its kind in the region, the Advanced Certificate’s hybrid and online courses let music teachers enhance their qualifications without pursuing a full-time master’s degree. 


    Read the full article at Montclair State University's Seasonal Magazine here.