College of Music

University of Colorado Boulder


Welcome to Composition at CU-Boulder! We offer undergraduate and graduate degrees, with many of our students commissioned to create works for faculty and local musicians. For more information on our degree programs, see below.

Our faculty bring with them years of experience as award-winning, active composers. In addition, each year we host an impressive variety of guest composers and performers. Recent guests have included George Crumb, William Bolcam, Leslie Bassett, John Harbison, Joan Tower, Judith Bettina, Skin & Bones, Michael Daugherty, Roger Reynolds and many others.

Pendulum New Music

Student compositions are regularly performed on the Pendulum New Music series. Pendulum presents the best of new music with CU faculty and students and first-class guest artists. Monthly concerts take place on Wednesdays in Grusin Music Hall, with special events in the ATLAS Blackbox Theater and other venues. Read more here.

Boulder Laptop Orchestra (BLOrk)

The Boulder Laptop Orchestra (BLOrk) integrates technology with improvisers in an ensemble setting providing live interaction between the two. Compositions by students and faculty explore the application of traditional sound processing technology as well as the integration of powerful programming languages such as MAX, Jitter and Super Collider. Read more here.

Students have a variety of other opportunities to compose or arrange music, from small chamber groups to faculty-conducted large ensembles. For more information about these groups, please visit the Ensembles page.

Still have unanswered questions about Composition at the University of Colorado Boulder? Visit our FAQ page for more information.

Department Faculty

Daniel Kellogg
Chair, Composition Studies
Associate Professor of Composition
Erismann Faculty Fellow

Jeffrey Nytch
Director, Entrepreneurship Center for Music
Assistant Professor of Composition

Carter Pann
Associate Professor of Composition

Michael Theodore
Associate Professor of Composition

John Drumheller
Instructor, Composition and Music Technology

Hsing-ay Hsu
Director, Pendulum New Music Series

More Information on the Composition Department

Undergraduate composition majors begin their studies immediately with individual private lessons and weekly attendance at composition seminars. The program aims to build a solid technical and musical foundation while faculty guide each student in exploring his or her unique creative voice. Composition majors also take courses in music history and literature, analysis, counterpoint and orchestration, as well as participate in ensemble performance. Our students also enroll in a broad range of music technology courses, including courses in film scoring and multi-media performance.

Undergraduate Degrees >>

  • Bachelor of Music in Composition

MM and DMA graduate degrees in composition are available. Graduate composers are often commissioned to create works for faculty and local artists and ensembles, and their compositions have won recognition at prestigious international competitions. In addition to private studies with the faculty, majors interact in the weekly graduate composition seminar. Familiarity with current technology is also an essential component of the degree plan. Students also have access to the rich artistic and intellectual resources of a major research university. Graduate assistantships and other financial support are available on a competitive basis. Additionally, four DMA students per year are awarded the Arts and Technology Fellowship in Music Composition with the ATLAS Institute. Find more information here.

For more information about the Masters and DMA programs in Composition, contact Daniel Kellogg.

Graduate Degrees >>

  • Master of Music in Composition
  • Master of Music in Composition with Music Technology Emphasis
  • Doctor of Musical Arts in Composition

A number of award, grant and exchange opportunities are available for composers during the 2015-16 academic year.

View all opportunities for 2015 >>

Upcoming Events

Loading Events...