Composition, Music Theory and Musicology
The division of Composition, Music Theory and Musicology includes three interconnected yet distinctive areas within the Conservatory whose faculty and students excel in scholarship, awards, publications, and performances.
The Composition program is one of the leading programs in North America. We accept about 10 students each year who are creating the music of a new century. Our four full-time faculty members have distinguished careers as composers and teachers. Highlights include: Guggenheim Fellowship winners (all four faculty); Fromm Foundation and Koussevitzky Commissions (Chen Yi, Mobberley, Zhou Long); Charles Ives Living Award; member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (Chen Yi); Rome Prize Fellowship (Mobberley); Bourges Prize and ems Prize (Rudy); BBC Masterprize and 2011 Pulitzer Prize in Music (Zhou Long).
The four faculty members have worked together for more than ten years, and have developed distinct elements for the program. These include: faculty and students work together in a supportive atmosphere; students study with faculty members via a per semester rotation system; faculty provide a combination of group classes and private lessons; mentorship program (graduate students assist undergraduate students); Composers in the Schools; state-of-the-art computer music facilities that are continuously accessible to composers; extensive performance opportunities for students' music; annual reading opportunities for orchestra, wind ensemble, jazz ensemble, and other groups; minimum of four visits annually by guest composers and new music performers; competitive scholarships and financial assistance; support for summer workshop attendance; and excellent placement record for graduates in employment and top-level graduate programs. Composition students regularly win national and international awards and have their music performed across the globe.
Because of the emphasis upon practical music making, the MM in Theory is ideal as a second degree for performers, conductors, and composers in MM, DMA programs or students in additional PhD programs. All undergraduates take a four-semester core in harmony and voice leading, taught with complementary sight-singing and keyboard-skills classes. Upper-division undergraduates continue with courses in form and analysis and in contemporary and traditional contrapuntal techniques.
Select graduate-level courses are available to interested undergraduates. Music theory undergraduates can research a project they choose which is the capstone for the degree and is invaluable for students who pursue music theory graduate study. A supervised thesis is the final requirement for the MM in Theory. Research and the high quality of performance achievement required especially at the graduate level distinguishes the program from others.
Musicology faculty and students regularly present at regional, national, and international conferences. Our faculty members have published articles in American Music, Choral Journal, The Hymn, Musical Quarterly, Opera Quarterly, and other prestigious journals. They have authored books with Cambridge University Press, Yale University Press, Routledge, Harmonie Park Press, the University of Illinois Press, and have held offices in the College Music Society and the Society for American Music.
Our graduate students have presented present their research in professional forums, and have appeared on the programs of the Society for American Music, Renaissance Society of America, and American Conference for Irish Studies, among others.
MM program students pursue more in-depth studies in the history of music in a performance-focused environment. We offer a wide range of courses, including period survey classes and seminars on topics such as Music in Asia, Russian Vocal Music, Film Music, Musical Theatre, Music in Latin America, and Minimalism, taught by some of the leading scholars in the field including William Everett, Olga Dolskaya-Ackerly, Andrew Granade, and Sarah Tyrrell.