Music composition at three schools (or others)

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Discus: College Search and Selection: March 2004 Archive: Music composition at three schools (or others)
By Fidel5soc (Fidel5soc) on Tuesday, March 23, 2004 - 12:33 am: Edit

I've been composing music since a young age, and have been obssesively looking at music composition programs around the country. My music is tonal but not exessively so. I try to shy away from rock influences. I would describe my music as accessible yet intellectual in nature. I have come up with the following list.

University of California Santa Barbara (College of Creative Studies)
University of Oregon

Officially, I am going to apply to Oberlin, but am turned off by their apparent atonal "style". Does anyone have anything to say about the music comp. departments on my list? Or any further suggestions?

By Marcyr (Marcyr) on Friday, March 26, 2004 - 04:33 pm: Edit

Fidel, I wouldn't rule out any school because you've heard that they have a particular "style". Any good composition professor is going to make you learn to write in a variety of styles - don't count on writing tonal music because that's what you've written so far and are comfortable with. Get used to the idea that, if you major in composition, you WILL write atonal music, like it or not. A good prof. will make you stretch beyond your comfort level and learn how to write all kinds of music. Once you're out of school, you can write whatever you want, but while you're a student you'll write what your prof. tells you to write. My son is a junior at Peabody Conservatory, and before he started there he wrote what I always called "pretty music." You know, tonal and flowing and hum-able. Now he's writing all kinds of stuff, much of which I don't particularly understand or like but which is, nonetheless, winning all kinds of composition contests. His most successful piece is a 12-tone composition which gives me a headache but which the music experts seem to love (shows you what my opinion is worth). The best thing you can do is visit the schools that you think you're interested in, and try to meet with the head of the composition dept. or at least a prof. or two. They'll be able to give you a good idea of what you'll be required to do as a comp. major, and that should help you determine if you're interested in their program, not rumor or heresay about "style".

By Sac (Sac) on Friday, March 26, 2004 - 04:46 pm: Edit

check out UCSD and USC

By Mini (Mini) on Friday, March 26, 2004 - 04:58 pm: Edit

My daughter is a composer. This one isn't even close.

University of Oregon

It is the largest group of composers to be found anywhere in the United States. Robert Kyr and David Crumb lead a stellar staff. Kyr is closely aligned with Yale, and virtually all the Yale composers make it out to UofO sooner or later (the theorists too.) The International Composers Symposium, held jointly with the Oregon Bach Festival, brings 20 composers from all over the world to study and work together for three weeks (my daughter is one of them). This year, the featured composers in residence are Krystof Penderecki and George Crumb. Two years ago it was Tan-Dun.

AND, because of the large numbers of instrumentalists and singers, student works actually get performed.

There is plenty not to like about UofO. But for composers, it is pretty close to paradise.

Other places to check out (carefully) are Bard (Joan Tower leads a stellar faculty, and the Colorado String Quartet is in permanent residence), Williams (led by David Kechley), the Claremont system (Peter Boyer is at the graduate school, and there are bunches of folks in the combined colleges), Yale of course (though it is hard to actually get to work with the famous names, as most are working with the graduate students), Indiana U.

By Fidel5soc (Fidel5soc) on Sunday, March 28, 2004 - 04:11 pm: Edit

Thank you Mini. That info about Oregon was greatly appreciated, and I will be checking into some of the others you mentioned.

Marcyr: I feel very strongly about this tonal/atonal topic, and feel differently. But thank you for replying.

Sac: My only problem with UCSD is that its apparently a very conservative place? Also, unforuantey, I've heard very nasty things about USC.

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