Music and Musical Theater

Music and Musical Theater

Direction: 50.03.01 Arts and Humanities
Entrance tests (minimum points): foreign language (65), Russian (65), social studies (65)/history (65)
Form of study: full-time
Training: 4 years
Basis: contract
Issued documents: Bachelor's degree of MSSES

About the program

The programme prepares curators, researchers, and critics to work in the field of music and musical theater.

The programme graduates will receive specialized education in the field of classical and modern academic music and musical theater (opera, ballet, sound performance), get acquainted with new forms of performing practices and cultural and educational activities.

This is a programme for those who understand music not only as a "thing in itself", but as a three-dimensional phenomenon in a broad cultural context. Music here appears in interrelationship with other arts, and musicology enters into a dialogue with theater studies and other humanitarian disciplines.

The "Music and Musical Theater" Bachelor's programme is part of the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences and is based on the Liberal Arts & Sciences training model, in which students choose one of five directions from the second year and build their individual educational trajectory.

Each student`s curriculum consists of three blocks: compulsory disciplines (General Education), disciplines in the major direction (Major) and elective courses (Electives).

Main advantages of Liberal Arts & Sciences

  • Freedom of choice. Students have the opportunity to make a choice at each step - a teacher, an elective course, a major, a language - and even a model for writing a thesis. 
  • Individual approach. Classes are held in groups of no more than 20 people. 
  • Much attention is paid to the most important cognitive skills: reading and writing, regardless of the training profile. 
  • Interactive teaching methods. The student's voice in the classroom is just as important as the teacher's voice. 
  • During the elective courses, students will have the opportunity to meet with students from other programs and work together, which will allow them to create interdisciplinary projects and expand their professional horizons in the future. 
  • Academic tutor individual support. 
  • Learning foreign languages of your choice.
  • Chamber cozy intellectual atmosphere of collaboration.

Programme Managers

Vladislav Tarnopolsky is a musicologist and music curator, co-developer of the educational profiles "Music Criticism" at the Moscow Conservatory and "Sound Art and Sound Design" at the Higher School of Economics, chief editor of the first Russian-language media about new music - Research interests: modern musical theater, XX century music, sociology of culture.

He has supervised music projects in the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory, in the Garage, at the Moscow Biennale, the Kandinsky Prize, at the festivals "TERRITORY", "NET-New European Theater", Sound Up, "Moscow Forum", in the Russian-German Music Academy, Dmitry Brusnikin's Workshop, SounDrama Studio and a number of educational programs. Curator of interdisciplinary projects of the ensemble "Studio of New Music".

His works were published on the,,,, portals, in the "Musical Life", "Russian musician" issues, in the Journal of the Music Theory Society, the "Theater" magazine, etc.

Winner of the Award named after Peter Benisch (Germany) and "Crystal Arrow" (Russia).
Despite the obvious growth of interest in modern musical theater in Russia, this field of creativity is still largely terra incognita. There are no relevant educational programs yet: as a rule, theater and humanities universities form a very vague idea of new music, while music schools almost do not address the issues of modern theater. We will try to combine music and theater in one educational program for the first time on a serious theoretical level.
Vladislav Tarnopolsky, Programme Manager

Programme content

The programme gives the students:
  • fundamental academic liberal arts education; 
  • introduction to current methods of music and musical theater research; 
  • introduction to the latest composing and directing practices; 
  • knowledge of the history of music in the theater and theater in music through the prism of musicology, theater studies, culturology and culture studies.


The programme is taught by leading musicologists and theater experts with experience in curatorial and educational projects:
  • Kristina Aharonyan - musicologist, Manager of the HSE Center for Music Projects, editor of the project.
  • Tata Boeva - theater critic and dance critic, member of the Expert Council of the National Theater Award "Golden Mask".
  • Elena Dvoskina - musicologist, associate professor at the Moscow Conservatory, senior researcher at the State Institute of Art Studies.
  • Valery Zolotukhin - theater critic, a researcher at the School of Contemporary Humanitarian Studies at the RANEPA ISS.
  • Alexandra Lokteva - musicologist, researcher at the Center for Contemporary Music of the Moscow Conservatory, editor of the project.
  • Roman Nasonov - musicologist, associate professor of the Moscow Conservatory and Moscow State University, author of musical and educational projects.
  • Alexey Smirnov - director of opera performances and musical performances.

The "Methodology of the Production Process" and "Music-curatorial Practices" courses include a series of lectures-meetings with representatives of different theatrical professions and authors of successful curatorial projects. The speakers of the courses include the following professionals:
  • Alexander Titel - artistic director and chief director of the opera company of the Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Moscow Academic Musical Theater. 
  • Karina Abramyan - General Director of the Russian Union of Composers, Deputy Director of the "Melody" company. 
  • Marina Raku - head of the musical part of the "Pyotr Fomenko's Workshop" theater. 
  • Ekaterina Vasileva - head of the opera laboratory for young composers, playwrights, directors and artists "CoOPERAtion".


Compulsory profile courses (Major):

  • Introduction to the specialty (Great Books) 
  • History of opera reforms 
  • History and theory of entertainment culture 
  • Music-critical Writing: Format Lab 
  • Methodology of the staging process 
  • Music curatorial practices 
  • Contemporary opera and musical performance 
  • History of musical genres and forms 
  • Paradigms of modern opera directing 

Students must study a foreign language in the 1st year – English, German or French. If desired, they can continue to study a foreign language, but already as an elective in the following courses.

General Education:

  • Writing and Critical Thinking
  • 1-year workshop
  • Universal History
  • Foreign language
  • Mathematics and Computer Science
  • Physical Education and Sports
  • Life safety
  • Philosophy
  • Introduction to Philology
  • Introduction to the Social Sciences
  • Management
  • Long Life Learning, etc.

Elective courses:

  • History of New Music: from the Futurists to Music Performance 
  • Music in the Context of Spiritual Views: from Archaic to Electronic 
  • Structure of the musical language 
  • Avant-Garde in Sound: Non-Academic History of New Academic Music 
  • Sound Collage: Experimental music Making practices 
  • Acting Skills 
  • Beginnings of Musical Theory 
  • Musical Folklore 
  • French Musical Culture: from the Trouveurs to Olivier Messiaen and Edith Piaf 
  • Analysis of Ballet Performance and Modern Dance 
  • Brief history of Music before Bach 
  • Forum. Listen to and Discuss Music 
  • Music and Cinema 
  • Music in the Context of Socio-Political History 
  • Music and Art Criticism in Russia and Europe 
  • "Grain of the Voice" and Artistic and Speech Practices, etc.
The proposed set of courses will allow you to truly immerse yourself in the field of music and musical theater, to consider them from different aspects. If you want to practice, we will have an elective course in acting, if you want to try to play a musical instrument, you can optionally do it. In total, the faculty's program includes more than 50 electives, including 17 in music disciplines. With us, everyone can choose what they need.
Vladislav Tarnopolsky, Programme Manager

Programme benefits

  1. The focus is on the phenomena of modernity: works of new academic music, modern opera and sound performance, experimental directorial approaches and relevant aesthetic and theoretical texts. Historical disciplines can be studied in-depth on elective courses, but they are also given due attention in the basic course. 
  2. The history of music is considered not as a chronologically arranged series of events and opuses, but as a history of ideas. Here we teach not "History of Opera", but "History of Opera Reforms", not "Musical literature", but "History of musical genres and forms". 
  3. Most major courses have no analogs in other universities. So, the introductory course "Great Books. Music" immediately introduces the current approaches to music and paradigms of its analysis; "Methodology of the production process" reveals the theatre "anatomy" through the main theatrical professions; "Contemporary Opera and Musical Performance" provides an overview and conceptualization of the latest genres and trends. 
  4. The program combines theoretical (poetics, composition, technique) and historical (contextual and evolutionary) principles. 
  5. The teaching staff includes specialists from the best music and theater universities, curators of well-known music and theater projects, and critics from leading specialized publications. 
  6. Classes are mainly held in the form of seminars aimed at developing critical thinking. Students will read, write, listen to music and discuss a lot. 
  7. The program includes internships in leading specialized institutions (in media culture, concert and theater halls and curatorial venues), coordinated with the relevant disciplines by semesters. 
  8. A wide system of elective courses is built in such a way that each student can form their own educational trajectory, and students of different profiles and with different "professional optics" can intersect during the educational process. 
  9. Students are given the opportunity to attend concerts and performances of the program partners free of charge. 
  10. Additional optional vocal/musical instrument lessons are possible, as well as participation in a folklore expedition with students of a music university. 
  11. Tutor support for students is provided. 
  12. It is possible to change the program to another Liberal Arts & Sciences profile without losing a year and without additional exams in the course of training (after the first year). 
  13. Upon completion of the bachelor's degree, those who wish can continue their specialized training at MSSES by enrolling in the master's program "Curating Music Projects".


During the entire period of study, students will have 3 internships in leading specialized institutions – in cultural media, concert and theater halls, and curatorial venues.

In the 3rd and 4th year, students will choose a discipline for the semester - and the corresponding practice. For example, in parallel with the six-month course on music journalism and criticism, students will have an internship in one of the leading Russian cultural publications (by choice from the list), after the course on music curation they will work on a real curatorial project, and the course on theater professions is synchronized with the practice in the theater.

In the semester dedicated to the theater and production process, students will be offered the opportunity to practice in one of the leading Moscow theater and concert institutions as an assistant director, creative team assistant, production or laboratory coordinator.

Graduate career

Upon completion of the training, our graduates can:
  • become organizers of music and theater festivals, musical consultants of theaters, curators of concert programs of museums, music journalists, screenwriters and leaders of educational projects, researchers of music and theater culture;
  • conduct expert attribution and evaluation of music products;
  • work in leading cultural institutions or start their own business;
  • create new areas of activity, branches of the humanities or cultural markets.
In the modern world, there is no established register of professions once and for all, and, in general, the most important skill is the ability to adapt to an ever-changing situation and to form new areas of professional activity related to their competencies. Our graduates are specialists of a wide profile, but at the same time with deep knowledge in the field of music and musical theater. This area is now actively developing, and they will be able to find their own application in individual projects or in a team with their fellow students to create new creative platforms.
Vladislav Tarnopolsky, Programme Manager

The programme will be of interest to:

  • graduates of music schools and colleges who want to acquire new competencies and skills while remaining in the mainstream of the music profession, but not limited to it; 
  • graduates of theater schools who are interested in modern theater, experimental and interdisciplinary stage projects, opera and ballet; 
  • people without a musical education who want to enter the professional environment with dignity; 
  • humanitarians who seek to develop in a creative environment and explore the world through culture.

Where does the training take place?

Our students study on the campus of the Moscow School of Social and Economic Sciences in the very center of Moscow. A modern library, convenient co-working, open classrooms, a computer lab, a cafe and a space for relaxation and communication – everything you need for a pleasant and effective study.

Student life

There is a student activity board at MSSES, which regularly organizes various events: OASIS, Shalloween, New Year. Students participate in conferences, seminars, creative and intellectual competitions, and volunteer projects. You can follow the student life on Instagram or in the Telegram of the student activity board. Learn more about extracurricular life.

Contact Us

Deytseva Valeriya
+7 495 150 70 82

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