Note: The College of Performing Arts is currently conducting a national search for a new dean. Inquiries may be directed to the assistant dean.
Kirk E. Pillow
Assistant to the Dean
Office of the Dean
Terra Building Room 700 | 215-717-6125 | CPA Website
Schools within the College
Introduction to the College
The College of Performing Arts comprises three schools; the School of Dance, the School of Music, and the Ira Brind School of Theater Arts offering undergraduate and graduate programs in a range of performing arts programs. The curricula that make up the several areas of the college focus on different forms of specialized knowledge and practice that enable performers and artists to create particular kinds of expressive artifacts. Its curricula combine the performance emphasis of the traditional conservatory, stressing individualized training, practice, and discipline with a liberal arts education.
In addition to educating students and preparing them for professional success and leadership in their fields, the College of Performing Arts produces performers and artists who have the capacity to be creatively self-sustaining and self critical. Graduates from these programs are able to generate and evaluate new challenges for themselves and willing to take chances, to fail, and to start over again. These values and capabilities will enable our graduates not only to succeed as artists but to become engaged, intelligent, creative individuals and citizens.
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, the College has long been regarded as one of America’s foremost professional schools of higher education. 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 three 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 must 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.