Marc Dicciani, Dean
Nick Embree, Associate Dean
In our College, art and performance are broadly defined through a commitment to both traditional and emerging art forms. Studio and theory intersect and are practiced in partnership with rigorous intellectual study and reflection. Together we discover, imagine, create, and shape experience that builds futures.
Introduction to the College
Dedicated to nurturing the creative thinker for the 21st century, the College of Performing Arts (CPA) is unique in that the School of Dance, the School of Music, and the Ira Brind School of Theater Arts are under a single college umbrella. CPA is poised to enable and encourage students who have a wide range of interests and talents. To support interdisciplinary study and collaboration among UArts students, we offer cross-college electives in every program allowing students to choose courses that reflect their educational interests and career goals.
While each school affords students the opportunity for rigorous, major focused training and study; there are opportunities to minor across schools – even across colleges if the visual arts are also a passion of yours. Importantly, the University of the Arts requires that our conservatory style training is completed by study and training in the Liberal Arts. Each UArts artist will graduate with the ability to express themselves not only by their artistic accomplishments, but also through written and spoken word.
It is the goal of The University of the Arts and The College of Performing Arts that each and every individual who matriculates at this institution is trained to the highest standards in their chosen major and/or minor. And, who will go forward with the utmost capacity for successful integration of their creative intellect into the entirety of their lives – both professionally and personally.
History of the College
The College of Performing Arts (CPA) is comprised of the School of Dance, School of Music, and the Ira Brind School of Theater Arts. Founded in 1870 as the Philadelphia Musical Academy and merged with the Philadelphia Conservatory of Music in 1962. In 1976, the institution was renamed the Philadelphia College of the Performing Arts, thereby signaling its intention to expand its program to include all three of the performing arts disciplines – Music, Dance, and Theater.
In 1977, The Philadelphia Dance Academy joined the College to become the School of Dance. Founded in 1947, The Philadelphia Dance Academy was one of the foremost conservatories of dance in the nation and one of the first institutions in the country to grant a degree in dance. The School of Theater was initiated in 1983.
The College of Performing Arts thus became Pennsylvania’s first and only independent college dedicated exclusively to the performing arts and one of the first of its kind in the United States. Its philosophy is founded on the principle that there is a common bond among artists, whatever their discipline, and that artists should interact with each other for their inspiration and growth. Indeed, many of the College’s students have developed interdisciplinary careers that require familiarity with all the performing arts, as well as the visual and media arts.