The school of music’s highly competitive graduate-level composition program welcomes students who demonstrate extraordinary intellectual curiosity and whose primary goal is to communicate with others on a profoundly human level. Above all, our faculty of renowned composers seek students whose personal voice is clearly discernible.
Students in the M.A. and Ph.D programs can specialize in Composition or in Composition for Visual Media. The cross-pollination between the specializations distinguishes the program. All students are expected to acquire and master advanced skills, which involves continued intensive study of music theory, counterpoint, orchestration, analysis, technology, performance, the traditional Western canon and its history, in tandem with the study of popular, jazz, rock, folk, and non-Western traditions.
Both the M.A. and Ph.D programs emphasize the collaborative relationship between composers and performers in such a way that a simulated professional experience is achieved. Composition students have the opportunity to take film music courses and world music for film. Film music composers have the opportunity to broaden their horizons by being part of a true composition program, and this gives composers stylistic depth and breadth.
By the end of the M.A., students will be thoroughly prepared to enter the professional arena, graduating with the tools they need to compose music for multiple purposes, be if for a concert piece, a film, or an opera. The Ph.D. program is designed in a two-fold manner: graduate composers are trained to become both practicing artists in their field and to become mentors for the next generations of artist-scholars.