Dr. Daniel Perttu

Assistant Professor of Music

Teaches in the following areas:

Music Theory, Applied Composition

Academic Background:

BA, Williams College

MM, Kent State University

MA, Kent State University

DMA, Ohio State University

Dr. Daniel Perttu

Dr. Daniel Perttu teaches courses in the 2-year music theory sequence, Form and Analysis, Counterpoint, Seminar in Music Theory, and individual composition lessons.  A strong advocate of the liberal-arts philosophy, he also teaches interdisciplinary courses on the psychology of music and Romanticism in music and literature. 

Philosophically, Dr. Perttu believes that the purpose of education in music is two-fold:  it balances the utilitarian aspects of professional training and the more philosophical perspectives of the liberal arts.  Professional musicians must not only be performers, but critical thinkers, not only about music and the arts in general, but about all fields.  If musicians are to communicate anything substantive through their art, they need to be fully engaged with the thoughts, behaviors, and societies of those both within and outside of the arts.

As a teacher of composition, Dr. Perttu welcomes students of all creative perspectives and trains them to recognize quality despite aesthetic orientation.  To do so, he incorporates perspectives from music psychology to demonstrate how different compositional techniques affect the responses of listeners in terms of neuropsychology as well as emotional, cognitive, and social psychology.  These perspectives are critical in guiding students because they provide necessary limitations on compositional practice, as such limitations are essential to the production of even the most inspired music.  Ultimately, studying these perspectives is as essential to the composer of music as studying the laws of physics is critical to the aeronautical engineer.

In addition to teaching music majors, Dr. Perttu also teaches non-majors both music courses and interdisciplinary courses.  As a passionate advocate of the liberal-arts philosophy, he believes that studies in the arts and humanities, particularly when creative thinking is nurtured and honed, enable students to become more inspired and effective in their chosen fields. 

With respect to his own creative and scholarly activity, four of Dr. Perttu’s compositions and three of his articles have recently been published.  In addition, his piece for solo violin, Valediction, will be released on violinist Kia-Hui Tan’s debut solo CD in 2009.  His music has been performed in 17 of the 50 states, spanning from Maine to Arizona, as well as in China.  These performances have occurred in arts festivals (6), new music festivals (4), Society of Composers Conferences (9), solo recitals (6), and other conferences (4).

Dr. Perttu joined the Westminster faculty in Fall, 2008.


Contact Information

Campus Address:
Department of Music, New Wilmington, PA 16172

Studio E, Patterson Hall, Westminster College



email: pertude@westminster.edu