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The Master 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.

Grounded in its commitment to the creation and performance of new music in a variety of contemporary idioms, The Master of Music in Composition at Shenandoah Conservatory is designed to prepare students for professional work in composition, or for continued graduate study. 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.

Featuring world-class faculty, extensive performance opportunities through Shenandoah’s two new music ensembles, orchestra and wind ensemble, and regular guest artists (including one Pulitzer Prize winning composer each year), Shenandoah boasts one of the most exciting and active composition programs the Capital Region. The creation and performance of contemporary art music is at the core of the Master of Music in Composition. Through the use of state-of-the-art technology, composers advance their skills in the presentation of their music in professional and competitive venues.

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

Applicants should submit:

• Graduate Application along with a $30 non-refundable application fee.
• Official transcript(s) from all institutions of higher education previously attended.
• Composition Portfolio, including scores and recordings for three recent compositions, showing skill in writing for diverse instruments, voices and/or electronic media.  At least one of these works should be for large forces: orchestra, wind ensemble or other large ensemble. All scores and recordings must be complete and bound in a manner consistent with professional practices. (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 prescreening by December 15, 2014 (priority deadline), and not later than January 15th, 2015.  After initial review, finalists will be invited for interviews on February 7 or February 16, 2015.  

Apply now!