Performing & Visual Arts Courses

(For the most up-to-date information, visit the online catalog.)

Courses under this heading cover the instructional content of a range of extracurricular activities and work in the fine arts and elsewhere. These courses will appear on the student's transcript, and will be graded pass/fail only. The units count toward the total unit requirement for graduation, but they do not count toward the 108-unit requirement in humanities and social sciences.

PVA 30 abc. Guitar. 3 units (0-3-0); first, second, third terms. Offered on three levels: beginning (no previous experience required), intermediate, and advanced. Instruction emphasizes a strong classical technique, including an exploration of various styles of guitar-classical, flamenco, folk, and popular. Instructor: Elgart.

PVA 31 abc. Chamber Music. 3 units (0-3-0); first, second, third terms. Study and performance of music for instrumental ensembles of two to eight members, for piano duet and two pianos. Literature ranges from the 16th to 21st centuries. Open to students who play string, woodwind, brass instruments, guitar, piano, or harpsichord.  After auditioning, pianists will be placed in sections by the instructors. Section 1: Mixed ensembles. Section 2: Piano four-hands. Section 3: Guitar ensemble. Instructors: Jasper White, Ward, Elgart.

PVA 32 abc. Symphony Orchestra. 3 units (0-3-0); first, second, third terms. Study and performance of music written for full symphony orchestra and chamber orchestra. The orchestra performs both the standard symphonic repertoire and contemporary music. Two and a half hours of rehearsal per week. Instructor: Price.

PVA 33 abc. Wind Orchestra. 3 units (0-3-0); first, second, third terms. The Caltech Wind Orchestra is comprised of students, faculty, staff, and alumni from Caltech. The ensemble rehearses Thursday nights from 7:30-9:45 pm. and performs three programs per year (one per term) at Ramo Auditorium. Repertoire is comprised of traditional and contemporary music encompassing a wide variety of styles, and regularly features renowned guest artists. Open to students of all levels of previous experience. Instructor: Price

PVA 34 abc. Jazz Band/Jazz Improvisation. 3 units (0-3-0); first, second, third terms. Study and performance of all styles of big-band jazz from Duke Ellington to Maria Schneider, with additional opportunity for the study of improvisation. Class meets one evening per week.Instructor: Catlin

PVA 35 abc. Glee Club. 3 units (0-3-0); first, second, third terms. Preparation and performance of choral repertoire spanning a range of historical periods and musical styles. Includes occasional collaborative performances with the orchestra. No previous experience required. Three hours a week. Instructor: Sulahian.

PVA 37 abc. Chamber Singers. 3 units (0-3-0); first, second, third terms. Advanced study and performance of SATB choral music. Emphasis is placed on more difficult choral repertoire, both a capella and accompanied. Includes performances with the Glee Clubs as well as at other on-campus events. Audition required. Participation in Glee Clubs required. Instructor: Sulahian.

PVA 40 abc. Theater Production. 3 units (2-0-1); first, second, third terms. This class is a hands-on, practical immersion in the making of a new production with instruction and application in all phases of theatrical production. Students learn and practice stage combat, costume construction, scenic arts, light/sound/set design, acting, directing, stage management, and set construction. With an emphasis on understanding dramatic structure, production values, and problem solving, the academic value of this material is drawn from 3,000 years of worldwide dramatic literature. Instructors: Brophy.

PVA 41 abc. Storytelling for Scientists. 3 units (2-0-1); first, second, third terms. To be effective leaders and communicators, scientists need to explain/perform their science. Through a series of writing exercises, performance/vocal techniques with new media, students explore/write and perform new narratives for the ever-changing 21st century global landscape. The final class culminates in original stories recorded in front of a live audience. May be repeated for credit. Instructors: Brophy.

PVA 42 abc. Improvisation for Scientists. 3 units (2-0-1); first, second, third terms. This class is taught sequentially over the academic year and begins with rudimentary improvisation techniques, and continues in the winter/spring with professional improvisation guidance, long form improvisation, and advanced techniques with monthly public performances. Instructors: Brophy.

PVA 61 abc. Silkscreen and Silk Painting. 3 units (0-3-0); first, second, third terms. Instruction in silkscreening techniques, primarily for T-shirts. Progressive development of silk painting skills for fine art. Instructor: Barry.

PVA 62 abc. Drawing and Painting. 3 units (0-3-0); first, second, third terms. Instruction in techniques of painting in acrylics and watercolor and life drawing of models. Emphasis on student-chosen subject with a large reference library. Instructor: Barry.

PVA 63 abc. Ceramics. 3 units (0-3-0); first, second, third terms. Instruction in the techniques of creating ceramics, including the slab roller and potter's wheel, and glazing methods. Instructor: Plunkett