8. Asheville, NC
Asheville is somewhat of a tourist-based economy, but as a music student this is actually a benefit, particularly since this type of economy powerfully boosts the local live music scene.
With a strong tradition in outdoor music, Asheville’s warm climate hosts several festivals that can suit nearly any musician’s tastes. Shindig On the Green is a prime example of the city’s embrace of outdoor music, a weekly event held in July and August on the County Plaza featuring dance and bluegrass music.
Indoors we find an annual festival going strong for the last decade known as The Warren Haynes Christmas Jam, which takes places at the 7,700 seat multipurpose theatre known as the US Cellular Center.
Some of the very notable names to have played this show include The Allman Brothers Band, Led Zeppelin co-songwriter John Paul Jones, progressive rock band Umphrey’s McGee, Sheryl Crow, and the Avett Brothers, just to name a few.
For those with a taste for the classical, the city is home to the Asheville Symphony Orchestra as well as the Asheville Lyric Opera.
Notable Colleges for Music In Asheville: UNC-Asheville
7. Tucson, AZ
Tucson is an utterly outstanding hub of cultural activity replete with arts and music events for music majors to delve into.
Let’s start with the festivals. The city hosts a very prominent folk music festival, aptly named the Tucson Folk Festival. In fact, the festival is one of the largest free music festivals in the US.
100s of musicians perform for tens of thousands of audience goers across five stages throughout Tuscon’s active El Presidio Park.
In fact, the Tucson Folk Festival is governed by a non-profit music organization of 300+ members known as the Tucson Kitchen Musicians Association.
Home to a well-regarded professional-level orchestra, the Tucson Symphony Orchestra is a cultural staple beloved by the city. The orchestra programs not only traditional classical music, but also jazz & big-band music, bluegrass, and mariachi music.
Yes…mariachi music. Why does the orchestra play mariachi music?
Because Tucson is widely considered one of the epicenters for mariachi and Mexican music in America. Tucson is also home to a festival dedicated to Norteno music, another prominent Mexican music genre.
The Fred Fox School of Music, based in Tucson’s University of Arizona, is among the finest institutions in the country for studying classical music at the collegiate level.
Particularly known for its excellent in woodwinds, brass, and even harp performance, music students are never without a myriad of high-level ensembles to perform in.
Some of these ensembles include standard yet high-quality fare such as concert bands, orchestras, choir, and an opera theatre.
Additionally, the school hosts some exceptionally creative ensembles, including HarpFusion, which is, according to its own website, “the largest touring concert harp ensemble in the world.”
Of course, taking pride in the roots of the city, the school acknowledges its vast history of embracing ethnic music with its, yes, very own mariachi ensemble.
Notable Colleges for Music In Tucson: The University of Arizona Fred Fox College of Music