Why was ICIT started?

Until 2007, our department offered two different graduate emphases that focus on contemporary forms of composition. One was “Composition and Technology,” directed by Prof. Chris Dobrian and erstwhile Prof. Bernard Gilmore, and the other was “Jazz Studies,” directed by Prof. Kei Akagi. With the addition of Prof. Michael Dessen to the department in fall of 2006, there came an opportunity to revise these two graduate areas to better reflect the faculty’s specializations and also to offer something we felt was needed in the field. We observed that there are very few graduate music programs which are not based upon a long-standing classical/jazz binary, and also few that do not separate technology into its own area. In our view, this arrangement does not correspond to contemporary music practices outside of academia, where integrating different traditions and approaches has long been common. We envision ICIT as a new exploration in graduate music study that will prepare students to confront and contribute to current developments in multiple, overlapping fields. Though we certainly respect traditional graduate music programs, we see no need to offer yet another variation on one. The University of California has strongly supported our vision, allowing us to hire additional core ICIT faculty members, Professor Kojiro Umezaki, who joined us in Fall 2008, Professor Nicole Mitchell, who joined us in 2011, Professor Lukas Ligeti, who joined us in 2015, and Professor Mari Kimura, who joined us in 2017. (For more on the program’s philosophy and goals, go to the “About ICIT” page.)