Composition

Degrees Offered:

Bachelor of Music (B.M.)

Admission Requirements

In addition to the School of Music application process: Consideration for admission will be based on (1) a portfolio of compositions and (2) a recorded performance audition on an orchestral or band instrument, piano, voice or guitar.  Prospective composition majors are considered for fall admission only. All materials must be submitted by December 31. Admission decisions will be communicated in early March.

The portfolio of compositions should consist of:

  • Three scores of original compositions, for a variety of performance media, if possible: For example, music for solo instruments, for chamber ensembles, for orchestra, band, chorus, and/or electronic media.  At least one of these scores should be in the form of a photocopy of the applicant’s handwritten manuscript.
  • CD Recordings of as many of the portfolio compositions as possible.  Please submit — on a separate sheet of paper — a CD track list, including titles, dates of composition, performance media, and durations.  It is strongly recommended that, if possible,  at least one of the recordings be of a performance by traditional acoustic instruments — that is, not a MIDI realization.
  • A complete list of your compositions, including dates of composition, performance media, and durations, along with a list of any awards or honors in composition that you may have received.
  • A research paper that you have written in high school or college (music subject preferred). The paper should demonstrate the ability to think logically and communicate clearly and creatively.

The recorded performance audition should be submitted via CD recording(s) of 10 – 20 minutes of music composed by someone other than the applicant (preferably more than one composition; excerpts are acceptable). It should reflect and demonstrate, to the extent possible, the breadth and depth of the general musical performance ability of the applicant; the repertoire should be chosen by the applicant with that consideration in mind. This part of the application materials is especially helpful in the case of applicants who have little previous instruction or experience in composition.

Make sure to include a track list separate from the CD that includes title and composer for each track. Please note that individual performance instruction is not available to composition majors unless space is available in the studio of the performance instructor, and the instructor admits the student to the studio.

Master of Music (M.M.)

Admission Requirements

NOTE: When filling out the Graduate School application, apply for MM: Music Performance

Please see information on the School of Music Application Process

Composition candidates are required to submit 3-5 scores (PDF) with accompanying recordings (.mp3). The recordings should include at least one live performance. Please clearly label your files with the name of each piece.

Please note that while there is no formal audition or interview process for Composition applicants, you are always welcome to come visit the School of Music and meet privately with the Composition/Theory faculty.

Degree Requirements

Doctor of Musical Arts (D.M.A.)

Admission Requirements

NOTE: When filling out the Graduate School application, apply for DMA: Music Performance

Please see information on the School of Music Application Process

Composition candidates are required to submit 3-5 scores (PDF) with accompanying recordings (.mp3). The recordings should include at least one live performance. Please clearly label your files with the name of each piece.

Please note that while there is no formal audition or interview process for Composition applicants, you are always welcome to come visit the School of Music and meet privately with the Composition/Theory faculty.

Degree Requirements

Doctoral Minor – Required for all Doctoral programs

The purpose of the doctoral minor is to add breadth and depth to the D.M.A or Ph.D degree. To insure coherence a minor program must be approved by the appropriate department, a student’s advisor, or the Director of Graduate Studies, and must include courses at the 300-level or above. Typically, a minor requires 12 credits of work.

Students have a variety of options, including completing an internal minor within the School of Music (e.g., a D.M.A. conducting student who minors in ethnomusicology or a Ph.D. in music theory who minors in clarinet performance), completing a minor in a department outside the School of Music (e.g., a D.M.A. in horn performance who minors in Women’s Studies or a Ph.D. in ethnomusicology who minors in East Asian studies).

Students may, in consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies, devise a distributed minor that brings together courses from a variety of departments around a particular topic or area of interest. For example, a D.M.A. student in voice devises a minor in vocal health that includes courses in communicative disorders, or a Ph.D. student in musicology devises a minor in Medieval History that includes courses in art history, history, and languages.

ABOUT THE PROGRAM

The UW-Madison Mead Witter School of Music composition area offers multi faceted and comprehensive degrees in composition, with the opportunity to study with leading composers in the field. With multiple seminars in composition, including those offered on film music, text setting and ensemble writing, as well as intensive orchestration courses, highlighted by end of semester orchestral readings, there are many important and useful course offerings for composers.

In addition, there are a myriad of opportunities for student composers to hear their works, including but not limited to, guest artist readings, the UW-Madison Contemporary Chamber Ensemble (through the open call for student scores), composition area concerts, as well as area student recitals. Perhaps the most exciting opportunity available to student composers is the concerto competition, which affords the opportunity for one student composer, through a competitive process, to hear their work to rehearsed and performed on regular concert of the UW-Madison Symphony Orchestra. In addition, there are several Mead Witter prices for the student composer, such as the Mullen Prize for Sacred Music.

Many UW-Madison alumni have received honors such as Guggenheim Fellowships, Rome Prizes, and awards from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, and have gone on to important careers in composition and academia. A partial list, including their positions and awards, can be found here.

We hope you will consider recommending or applying to the composition program at the School of Music.

Laura Schwendinger, composition chair

lschwendinge@wisc.edu

MA, PhD, UC-Berkley; Berlin Prize ’00; Radcliffe Institute Fellow ’03, Guggenheim Fellow ’08; American Academy Arts & Letters Lieberson Fellow ’09

www.lauraschwendinger.com