The Music Composition program encourages students to develop creative musical thought and expression in all media, including electroacoustic and visual music, through studies of innovation, craft, research and expressive effect. Students become knowledgeable about contemporary practices, theories, and techniques through the study of post-romantic music literature. Creativity, the development of personal expression through music, and assessment of music’s viability in twentieth century societal context are focal points for composition majors.
At the completion of the program, both undergraduate and graduate students are expected to present a portfolio of compositions demonstrating notational fluency and the ability to compose convincing and intelligible music. Regular concerts of new student compositions provide the essential experience of hearing their works performed, and allows them to gauge their own progress in relation to that of their peers. Works of established twentieth-century composers are performed by the New Music Ensemble and the Contemporary Music Ensemble.
The graduate program stresses advanced work in computer synthesis of music, collaborative work with film makers and dancers, varied degrees of exploratory work, and compositional efforts in larger forms.