The complete experience

Shenandoah University’s world-renowned Shenandoah Conservatory offers intense, specialized, professional training in music, theatre and dance. Students work with a faculty of active professionals as they develop artistically and intellectually for careers in the performing arts. Fully accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM), Shenandoah Conservatory offers more than 60 degrees at the baccalaureate, master’s, artist diploma and doctoral levels and produces nearly 400 performances each year. More than 700 students are currently enrolled.

Our Mission

Shenandoah Conservatory unites aspiring artists and scholars with distinguished and caring faculty in a community that prepares individuals for meaningful, satisfying careers in the arts.

What you will experience


SU Orchestra-wagner-violin

Perform at the highest level

Shenandoah’s music programs provide you with professional-level training for your career in the performing arts. Hone your performance skills in classes and lessons taught by distinguished artist faculty. Conservatory students enrolled in instrumental and vocal studies routinely gain acceptance into prestigious graduate schools throughout the country and abroad. They attend such respected programs as the Chautauqua Institute, Kneisel Hall, Aspen Music Festival, The Pierre Monteux School, Adamont and the Idyllwild Summer Program. Many of our graduates hold positions with national and international symphony orchestras and opera companies.

Shenandoah’s renowned composition faculty members specialize in new music, and their work is performed worldwide. Students’ original works are also performed in ensemble and solo settings.

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Develop your talents

Shenandoah’s rigorous theatre programs equip you for highly successful professional careers in the theatre business. Your talents are nurtured and challenged by our professional faculty and staff, whether your major is in performance or design and technical areas. Graduates from Shenandoah’s theatre programs work on Broadway, in regional theatres, on national and international tours, on cruise ships, as well as in film, television and commercials.

At Shenandoah, we engage you from the first day you arrive on campus. A robust season of musicals, plays, and youth theatre productions on two stages keeps you active and involved and helps you hone your skills in a practical setting. Hands-on attention from faculty and a belief in cultivating the individual artist–as opposed to the “cookie cutter” approach–prepares you to compete in the industry with the confidence that comes with knowing how to market your unique “brand.”

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Bring your all

Shenandoah’s dance programs provide the academic and professional preparation demanded by a wide variety of careers. The Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees are designed for you — the highly-motivated, pre-professional dancer who is seeking a career as a concert performer, choreographer or dance educator. The Bachelor of Arts program is designed for dancers who are interested in a broad general education while continuing their dance studies. All degree programs present the opportunity to develop creative and production skills while enriching philosophical and theoretical perspectives in close, mentoring relationships with the dance faculty.

You will be immersed in the art from the moment you arrive on campus. The intimate conservatory approach at Shenandoah provides a focused environment for study, while the supportive atmosphere encourages your individual growth and creativity.

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Upcoming Performances

  • 12/6

    “Sounds of the Season” Chimers Concert is begins at 2 p.m. in Goodson Chapel / Recital Hall. The special performance is a collaboration of Shenandoah University’s music therapy program and NW Works. FREE Read More

  • 12/6

    Unsilent Night, a Shenandoah New Music performance, begins at 8 p.m. on the Loudoun Street walking mall and Bright Box Theater in downtown Winchester. FREE Read More

  • 12/7

    Festival of Lessons & Carols begins at 7 p.m. at the Braddock Street United Methodist Church in downtown Winchester. FREE Read More

  • 12/14

    Duke Ellington’s Nutcracker Suite begins at 5 p.m. the Bright Box (15 N. Loudoun St., downtown Winchester). Jazz trumpet artist and Shenandoah University faculty member Craig Fraedrich leads a 10-piece ensemble, featuring Shenandoah students and some of the finest instrumentalists in the… Read More

  • 1/9

    37th International Saxophone Symposium, hosted by the United States Navy Band, is at Shenandoah University and the Patsy Cline Theater at John Handley High School. Visit http://www.navyband.navy.mil/Saxophone_Symposium.shtml Read More

Conservatory Life

Musical Theatre Programs
Dance rehearsal
Symphonic Wind Ensemble
Conservatory Choir
Shenandoah Conservatory Symphony Orchestra
Dancers in flight

International Opportunities

Follow your passion into another world

Shenandoah’s Conservatory students enjoy numerous opportunities to experience the world, perform in international venues and make a difference by participating in global community service. Through Shenandoah’s Global Citizenship Project (GCP), approximately 50 students, faculty and staff travel each spring break to international destinations, travel costs included, to help broaden their horizons. Conservatory faculty have led GCP trips to Germany, Singapore, Japan, Denmark, Sweden, Australia, China and Taiwan.

Shenandoah Conservatory is actively involved in building cultural and artistic partnerships around the globe. Recently, conservatory students and faculty collaborated with the Mayan Arts Program (MAP) in Guatemala, teaching arts and music to elementary and middle school-aged Guatemalan children.

Though a rich variety of study and performance abroad opportunities, you will gain a global perspective and valuable international performance experience. Study and performance abroad trips have included Spain, France, Ghana, Canada, Argentina, Lithuania, Denmark and India.

International Globe


  • Shenandoah Conservatory’s Pulitzer Prize…

    Shenandoah Conservatory presents the annual Pulitzer Prize Composer Festival featuring two days of works by award-winning composer Jennifer Higdon. Higdon, who received the 2010 Pulitzer Prize in Music for her “Violin Concerto,” will participate in a series of composer talks,… Read More

Going All-Steinway

Cultivate Excellence.

Great music stirs the heart and inspires the soul, and Steinway pianos are celebrated as the instruments used by renowned artists to cultivate their talent and produce great music. Similarly, uncompromising excellence in performing arts education sparks the imagination and inspires the future. Shenandoah Conservatory prepares aspiring artists to cultivate their passions, pursue artistic greatness and achieve their fullest potential in a supportive community that prepares them for meaningful, satisfying careers in the arts.

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Caring and Accomplished

Shenandoah Conservatory’s prestigious faculty is active, supportive and highly networked within the artistic community. They perform roles at the Metropolitan Opera, conduct Grammy Award-winning choirs, compose music and serve on international competition juries. They perform as soloists or guest artists in jazz or chamber ensembles and orchestras throughout the United States and abroad. They also spend summers teaching at such prestigious institutes as Chautauqua Institute, Kniesel Hall, Aspen Music Festival, the Pierre Monteux School, Interlochen and Adamont. They’re as passionate about performance as they are about the art of teaching.

Professor of Music/Flute Jonathan Snowden is an internationally renowned flautist with a rich and multifaceted background in orchestral playing. This English native has graced the principal chairs of top orchestras and soloed under the direction of gifted conductors. He has performed for royalty and pop stars and as a featured soloist on blockbuster movie soundtracks. Snowden’s major education goal is to build an international interest for Shenandoah Conservatory. He also aspires to provide first flute players to the top orchestras in the world, while continuing to attract the finest players from the United States and from countries across the globe.

Assistant Professor of Composition David T. Little, Ph.D., oversaw the launch of Shenandoah New Music, an initiative by Shenandoah Conservatory to bring the best artists from the world of contemporary art music to Winchester and the northern Virginia region. Shenandoah New Music features approximately 30 performances annually in five venues, with guest artists ranging from new music legends to young guns, and including regular performances by two new in-house ensembles. With his ensemble, Newspeak, Dr. Little has performed concerts in New York City and Washington, D.C., receiving acclaim in reviews in the New York Times and the Washington Post. He has also completed new compositions for the Kronos Quartet and new vocal works for the upcoming 21c. Liederbend at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

Director of Acting and Assistant Professor of Theatre J.J. Ruscella, M.F.A., directed the feature film, “The Karaoke King,” which won Best Picture for the Skyline Indie Film Festival. Professor Ruscella also directed two “American Values Investments” commercials and the pilot short series, “Chips Off the Butchers Block.” He also served as spokesperson for the new investment fund, American Heroes, and he has acted in an American Heroes industrial commercial.