The Bachelor of Music Composition (B.M.) degree at UofL is a four--year program of study designed to develop a high level of expertise in music composition and related skills. In addition, the program encourages and promotes the development of each student's individual compositional "voice" or personality.
To be admitted as a composition major, students must submit a portfolio of compositions. This portfolio is the audition for the composition major. Although each student must play or sing a performance audition for the School of Music, composition majors also audition by submitting a portfolio. The portfolio should contain three or four samples of original compositions. Recordings of the compositions (including computer realizations) are suggested, but not required. Evidence of experience using various instrumental and/or vocal combinations is helpful. 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 a scholarship.
The formal requirement of six semesters of private study begins in the second year, but most composition majors begin private study in the first year. Students will compose for a variety of different instrumental and vocal genres, as well as taking courses in electronic and computer music. They will be encouraged to expand their musical language through study of 20th- and 21st-Century styles and techniques of composition, as well as study of contemporary repertory. A number of music theory courses, including analysis and counterpoint, will support this work in composition.
School of Music
Louisville KY 40292.
Portfolios should be received by Feb. 15 for full consideration.
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.
During the last semester of study each student presents a Senior Recital of 45-60 minutes of music written while studying at UofL. Since most students usually have written more music than this by then, and since they have been presenting it regularly during their four years of study, the Senior Recital is typically a high point of great satisfaction and personal accomplishment. It's a big undertaking, and there's a lot to organize, but the composition teachers guide the process, and it's always an enjoyable, exciting event.
The University of Louisville School of Music has a longstanding commitment to contemporary music. There is a New Music Festival every fall semester, with 4-5 concerts featuring an invited guest composer, who also gives private lessons and masterclasses. Student pieces are performed at each new music festival, as mentioned above.
The School is home to the Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition, generally considered the most prestigious award for composers in the world. The winning composer spends a week on campus in the spring semester, giving lessons and masterclasses, and also interacting in less formal settings with student composers. Frequently there will be other guest composers on campus during the school year, as well as outstanding performers specializing in contemporary music.
Grawemeyer Award winners, New Music Festival guest composers, and other visiting composers have included John Adams, Thomas Adès, Louis Andriessen, Simon Bainbridge, Leslie Bassett, Pierre Boulez, Chen Yi, Unsuk Chin, John Corigliano, Sebastian Currier, Brett Dean, Tan Dun, Donald Erb, Arthur Gottschalk, John Harbison, Sidney Hodkinson, York Höller, Karel Husa, Aaron Jay Kernis, György Kurtág, Libby Larsen, Peter Lieberson, Per Nørgård, Shulamit Ran, Kaija Saariaho, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Steven Stucky, Augusta Read Thomas, Joan Tower, Chinary Ung, Michel van der Aa, and Ellen Taaffe Zwilich.
UofL composition graduates have gone on to graduate work at the Eastman School of Music, Indiana University, the University of Michigan, the Royal Academy of Music in London, Cornell University, The Curtis Institute, the Peabody Institute, the University of Illinois, the University of Texas, The University of North Texas, the University of California—San Diego, Brandeis University, Arizona State University, the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and others, usually with significant fellowships, assistantships or other financial awards. They are active in the field as composers, teachers, and performing musicians all over the US and abroad. See the list of alumni achievements for details.