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The Bachelor of Music in Composition

The Composition degrees at Shenandoah University are unique in their class, focusing on equal parts craft and real world practical know-how crucial for survival and success in the field, either inside or outside of academic environments. Shenandoah offers extensive performance opportunities, and a supportive community, where the composer can develop their craft, while honestly assessing their artistic purpose. Offering focused study with world-class faculty—each active equally as educators and working professionals in the field—an immersive new music performance series, opportunities for the performance, and recording of student works, the program at Shenandoah is unlike any in the region.

The Bachelor of Music in Composition at Shenandoah Conservatory is grounded in its commitment to the creation and performance of new music in a variety of contemporary idioms.  Students’ creative skills are guided and developed through intense study in and the practical application of 21st century art music; the curriculum does not include work in popular idioms or jazz.
Students work with exceptionally gifted and professionally active faculty in an innovative, inspiring and invigorating environment, participating in weekly, hour-long private lessons and studio classes.. Through Shenandoah’s EDGE New Music Series, world class composers and performers specializing in contemporary music are brought to campus, where they participate in master classes, private lessons and clinics. Students may find performance opportunities through venues such at the Performance Forum, the student-run Society of Composers and Songwriters, and the university’s two new music ensembles.

Prospective students must be aware of the rigorous competition in the field, and should realize that continued study at the graduate level constitutes the minimum standard of professional success. The undergraduate curriculum is constructed around the development of core foundation skills that most students will further develop at the graduate level.

Admission to these programs is competitive, and based primarily on a demonstrated ability in composition, assessed through submitted scores and recordings.

Applicants should submit:

• Composition Portfolio, including scores and recordings for three recent compositions, showing skill in writing for diverse instruments, voices and/or electronic media.  (MIDI is acceptable. Arrangements and in-progress works will not be accepted.)
• A 100 word artist statement.
• Two letters of recommendation from professionals in the field familiar with the applicant’s work.

All composition applicants should submit their portfolios for pre-screening by December 15, 2014 (priority deadline), and not later than January 15th, 2015.  After initial review, finalists will be invited for interviews on January 24 or February 7, 2015.  For more information on how to apply to the Shenandoah Conservatory program in Music Composition, please visit our Admissions website.