The conservatory’s composition program presents a balanced curriculum designed to prepare students of composition for contemporary life in the field, along with imparting a keen awareness of the timeless qualities of great music. The curriculum includes four years of individual lessons in composition; class studies in theory, solfège, keyboard studies, counterpoint, orchestration, analysis, and timbre synthesis; and seminars with other composers. There are ample opportunities for students to have works performed and recorded in the program’s concerts and recitals. In addition, juniors, seniors, and graduate students annually present recitals of their works. For students interested in electronic music, the well-equipped studios in the conservatory provide an excellent opportunity to explore in depth this vital aspect of music, using the latest computer technology. Students interested in composing for film, dance, or theatre are encouraged to form interactive relationships with students majoring in those disciplines.
Each composition student is expected and encouraged to make significant progress in composing for all conventional genres and to master composition skills for all the orchestral instruments, piano, and vocal music, as well as unconventional combinations and mixed media. In addition, students are encouraged to develop an original compositional voice and to think seriously along new theoretical lines.