Historical Performance

The Historical Performance program at Boston University provides a training ground for students pursuing performance and teaching careers either as instrumentalists on period instruments or as singers specializing in music of the 17th and 18th centuries. Through performance practice seminars, instruction in period performance and thoroughbass realization, coached chamber music ensemble participation, and various performance opportunities both within and outside of the School, students develop a sensibility and repertoire of techniques that enable them to marry historical information with musical intuition.

Degrees Offered

  • Master of Music (MM)
  • Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)

Unique Opportunities

The city of Boston, long a world center for early music performance, serves as a supportive backdrop in developing student careers. Boston University’s resources—its libraries, facilities, and faculty—offer students rich support in the pursuit of their studies. Additionally, candidates enjoy professional-level performance opportunities in many local groups as well as mounting their own public performance projects.

Notable Alumni

Faculty Members


Other Information

DMA Policies

Course Selection

Every student must satisfactorily complete a minimum of 48 graduate credits. Of these, 18 must be in the field of the applied major instrument, and 18 will be completed in approved electives. Every student must take at least 12 credits in music history and music theory, Music Research Technique, and Doctoral Proseminar in Theory.

Qualifying Examinations

The qualifying examinations, written and oral, include two sections: (1) performance, and (2) history, theory, and literature of music.

Students must complete successfully all written requirements before proceeding to the oral examination.


All candidates for the DMA in Historical Performance must present three public recitals consisting of at least one hour of performance time each.

Document and Lecture-Recital

While enrolled in Research and Directed Study in Musicology, the candidate must write a scholarly document demonstrating the ability to accomplish independent research. This document should stress source materials, comparative editions, score analysis, and performance praxis. The candidate must give a lecture-recital based on this document and use the medium of performance to illustrate it.