The Master of Music Composition (M.M.) degree at UofL is a two-year program of study designed to further the expertise and experience of students who have already completed an undergraduate degree in music composition (or its equivalent). The program requires a thesis composition, which is typically a work for large ensemble (usually orchestra, but other ensembles will be considered). Bomhard Fellows are required to produce a thesis composition that features voice(s), which may be a work for soloist or soloists with large ensemble or a dramatic work such as a one-act opera or its equivalent. The finished thesis composition is submitted near the end of the final semester of study (usually near the end of the second year of study). For more information about the thesis composition and the Graduate Oral Exam, please see below.

Students without an undergraduate degree in music composition may be accepted in the M.M. composition program if they (1) demonstrate compositional skills and experience approximately equivalent to an undergraduate degree in composition, and (2) hold an undergraduate degree or its equivalent, preferably (but not necessarily) in some area of music.

View the Graduate Catalog for Program Information & Degree Requirements

School of Music Graduate Degree Information

Application Portfolio and Curriculum Vitae To be admitted as a composition major, students must submit a portfolio of compositions. This portfolio is the audition for the composition major. The portfolio should contain three or four samples of original compositions, along with recordings for the same works, if possible. Evidence of experience using various instrumental and/or vocal combinations is very important. Students who have questions about what to submit in the portfolio should feel free to ask questions before submitting. The goal should be to submit the best possible audition portfolio, because a strong audition portfolio could result in an offer of financial support.  Students should also submit a curriculum vitae detailing education, any relevant work or teaching experience, and achievements, especially with regard to their compositional work.  Excellent performance skills may also be valuable in obtaining financial support, through scholarships for performance in School of Music ensembles. For more information, please visit the School of Music financial aid information page.

Admissions Counselor
School of Music
University ofLouisville
Louisville KY 40292.

Portfolios should be received by Feb. 15 for full consideration.

Performance Opportunities for Compositions There are many opportunities for performances of new compositions, and students will be encouraged to present their work regularly.  There is at least one, and often two or more, student composer recitals each semester.  There are also other UofL sponsored opportunities for performances. Frequently, students will have works performed on recitals of performance majors, at school-wide assemblies (called Convocations), or on concerts of student or faculty ensembles. Student pieces are selected by competitive submission for inclusion on the annual New Music Festival.  There are often other opportunities for performances in the broader Louisville community.

Graduate Music Theory Entrance Exam During the first days of the first semester of study, graduate students take both a Graduate Music Theory Entrance Exam and a Music History Entrance Exam. The topics of the Graduate Theory Exam include: instrumentation, written harmonic analysis, both written and aural structural analysis, written harmonization of a melody, and the aural skills of melodic and harmonic error detection. The exam is divided into Aural and Written components, each of which is assigned a separate grade. Students whose test scores reflect either "rustiness" or a lack of preparation will be required to register for Graduate Theory Review, a course that is designed with one goal: passing the Graduate Theory Exam. Please note that all M.M. students are required to pass both the Aural and Written components of the exam before graduation. (For information about the materials, topics, and expectations of the Music History Entrance Exam.

Thesis Review and Graduate Oral Exam The thesis composition is reviewed and must be approved by the student's three-person thesis committee of two composition faculty (one of whom is the student's composition teacher) and one other School of Music faculty member from outside the Theory/Composition Department. Members of the student's thesis committee must also be members of the UofL Graduate Faculty.

After approval by the thesis committee of the thesis composition, each student meets for about 30 minutes with the Graduate Committee of the School of Music, a six person committee that includes a representative of each School of Music department. This meeting, called the Graduate Oral Exam, is a free-ranging question and answer session in which the student is given the opportunity to demonstrate a broad base of knowledge about music. There may be some degree of focus on the following: orchestration, music history and literature (particularly as these relate to the thesis composition), and the subject matter of any music course taken while a M.M. student at UofL.

Thesis Guidelines PDF Document

For More Information If you have questions or would like to talk about anything related to music composition at UofL, please contact Dr. Steve Rouse:

(502) 852-0871 UofL office phone; with answering service.

(502) 852-6907 School of Music office phone; a brief message will be forwarded.