The Hartt School

Music Composition

Music Composition offers degree programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels, as well as a minor. The program provides students the guidance they need to express their individuality through their music.

About the Program

Diverse areas of expertise and interests represented among the faculty allow students to find the guidance they need to express their individuality through their music. Through studies in traditional concert music, film music, music for the theatre, improvisation, and advanced modern compositional techniques, students are exposed to an ever-changing array of music.

The composition department is a community that fosters cooperation between its students and faculty. Through once-a-week composition seminars, students and faculty members have the opportunity to discuss each other's music and to hear music by visiting composers. Students take an introductory composition course during their first two semesters and then have three years of individual lessons with faculty composers. This assures a regular, disciplined course of study.

Degree Offerings

Below are the programs available in music composition. See a complete list of degree requirements in the Course Catalog for each program:

Bachelor of Music

Composition Minor

Master of Music

Graduate Professional Diploma

Doctor of Musical Arts

Artist Diploma

Hartt Alum and Broadway Music Orchestrator John Clancy '96 talks about Opportunities at The Hartt School

Bachelor of Music

Admission and Audition Requirements

Undergraduate applicants must submit two or three examples of your work with the application. These will be reviewed ahead of your scheduled audition day by the composition faculty. They will use these compositions as the basis for the conversation that develops during your interview. 

In addition to an interview with composition faculty, all undergraduate composition applicants are required to perform an instrumental or vocal audition in one of 4 distinct categories: Classical Instruments or Voice, Jazz, Commercial Music, Open-genre; each having its own specific guidelines. The audition ensures that the applicant is at a level sufficient to fulfill the performing ensemble requirement of Hartt's composition curriculum.

Composition Minor

This 18 credit minor is open to all Hartt bachelor of music students who wish to deepen their musical creative experience and enhance their knowledge of compositional techniques and aesthetics.

Learn more about the degree requirements for the composition minor.

Graduate Programs in Composition

Composers’ Seminar

All composition majors attend the weekly seminar, in conjunction with the Institute of Contemporary American Music (ICAM), which features lecture presentations and recitals by guest composers, performers, and others who are active in the contemporary music field. Historic figures such as Copeland and Hindemith have presented at the seminar.

Through regular one-on-one instruction and seminar courses with their peers, graduate students continue to develop their compositional voices through the free exchange and application of ideas.

Admission and Audition Requirements

Graduate applicants must submit two or three examples of your work with the application.  These will be reviewed ahead of your scheduled audition/interview day by the composition faculty. They will use these compositions as the basis for the conversation that develops during your interview.

All new, incoming graduate students will take placement exams during the week of orientation to determine the appropriate course of study and whether subject review courses are necessary.

Shuying Li

Bachelor of Music, 2013

Shuying Li is currently on the faculty at Shanghai Conservatory, and director/conductor/ composer for the Four Corners Ensemble.  In addition, Ms. Li has had her work performed by Foot in the Door, Hartt's contemporary music ensemble and the Hartt Wind Ensemble.  Learn more about Ms. Li.

Hartt was my first home when I first came to the United States. The tremendous support and great opportunities I received from the most important mentors of my life shaped me greatly as an artist and as a human being.

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