Music at Warren Wilson College

Warren Wilson College’s music program is designed for students with career ambitions in music as well as those who wish to incorporate music into their broader liberal arts experience. It emphasizes open and diverse understandings of music, the improvement of performance skills, and a strong foundation of musical knowledge. In addition to a conventional music minor, the Music Department also offers a unique concentration in Traditional Music.

The mission of the Music Department is to provide a creative and intellectual environment for all students to study, perform, create, and speak & write about music.

The goals of the Music Program are the following:

  • To help students develop musicianship.
  • To promote knowledge and understanding of music in its cultural and historical contexts.
  • To promote a critical and analytical understanding of music.


Philip Jamison, MA
Kevin Kehrberg, Ph.D. (on sabbatical 2016-17)
Steve Williams, DMA (Department Chair)

Part-time & Adjunct
Jane McCoy, MM
Parrish Ellis, BS
Ben Harvey, BA
John Miller, BS
Ben Nelson, BA

Special Facilities & Resources

The Music Resource Center

Located in the Kittredge Music Wing, the MRC is the college’s treasure chest of music-books, sheet music, and recordings archive. The quiet atmosphere makes it an ideal location for students to study, listen to rare recordings, and research music.

Practice Rooms

Located on the second floor of the Kittredge Music Wing, these rooms are well lit with large windows, and each one is equipped with its own piano. These are available for use by all Warren Wilson College students, faculty, and staff during normal building hours (students may be given access to practice rooms after normal hours with permission from music faculty).

Kittredge Recital Hall

The Recital Hall is the college’s smaller performance venue. The recently renovated hall features warm lighting and a small stage area perfect for recitals and more intimate performances. It is also frequently used as a rehearsal space for college ensembles.

The Fred Bartenstein Collection

Since 2010, hundreds of items (mostly CDs) have been cataloged and are available for check out from Ellison Library. This amazing collection of Bluegrass, Old-Time, and Early Country Music is a generous gift from Fred Bartenstein, a major figure within bluegrass music scholarship and literature since the late 1960s. It comprises over 1,500 CDs and over 2,000 LPs of bluegrass, old-time, and early country music recordings. The Music and Appalachian Studies programs at WWC are very excited about the resources that Fred’s gift brings to the college.  The LP collection will form a centerpiece of an eventual Traditional Music listening space in the Music Resource Center.

Music & Dance Events

Monday Lunchtime Old-Time Jam Session
Every Monday at lunchtime, students and faculty join together in the common area outside of the Gladfelter Building for an old-time music jam session.

Appalachian Music Concert Series at Sage Cafe
The monthly Appalachian Music Concert Series at Sage Cafe features traditional musicians from across the Appalachian Region and beyond.

Fiddles and Folklife Festival
Each April, traditional musicians and crafters from the region come to the Warren Wilson campus for the Fiddles and Folklife Festival. This event features an old-time music contest for fiddle, banjo, and string band, as well as music jams, food and craft vendors, folklife demonstrators, and cakewalks.

The Old Farmer’s Ball 
The Asheville dance community comes to Warren Wilson every Thursday for a weekly contra and square dance at Bryson Gym. This dance, founded in 1982, has helped make the Asheville area one of the most thriving contra dance scenes in the entire country. In addition to the numerous local musicians and callers from the Asheville region, it has become a popular stop for many nationally-known touring bands and dance callers. To learn more visit

The Swannanoa Gathering
Each summer since 1992, musicians and dancers from across the country and around the world have come to the campus of Warren Wilson College during the month of July for week-long sessions of traditional music and dance. The days are filled with classes taught by world-renowned instructors, and the evenings are filled with concerts, dances, and jam sessions that last long into the night. Programs include: Traditional Song Week, Celtic Week, Old-Time Music & Dance Week, Contemporary Folk Week, Guitar Week, Fiddle Week, and Banjo/Mandolin Week. For more information visit