Welcome to composition at the University of Colorado Boulder College of Music!
Our composition department is a uniquely welcoming place to create music and sound making of all kinds. We support creatives of all sound mediums who would benefit from working in a supportive, collaborative environment with mentors across numerous disciplines and aesthetics. Faculty artists you could work with include Carter Pann, Michael Theodore, Annika Socolofsky, Grace Leslie, John Drumheller and Jeffrey Nytch whose expertises span the ranges of concert music, opera, interactive kinetic installation, electronic music and coding, music cognition and brain computer interfaces, film music, songwriting and hybridized composer-performer identities.
Our faculty is highly active in the music world, and we strive to support our students with rigorous creative training and real-world insights.

We seek artists who are looking to expand their knowledge and experiences in sound, regardless of whether they have a music degree or formal education in music—including:

  • songwriters, commercial musicians, producers and interdisciplinary artists seeking to expand their craft in new and innovative directions;
  • concert music composers and performers seeking to expand their expression in new directions;
  • electronic musicians seeking new tools and pathways for expression; and
  • musicians who may not have written for live instruments, but who want to develop that skill.

We support these artists through:

  • access to instrumental and electronic resources including orchestras, professional guest ensembles in residence, BLOrk (Boulder Laptop Orchestra), Boulder Altitude Directive ensemble, wind ensembles, choirs, jazz musicians and more;
  • close collaboration with the ATLAS Institute, an interdisciplinary institute for radical creativity and invention;
  • coursework in Electronic Music Production, Max/MSP, Supercollider, Orchestration, Electronic and Acoustic Instrument Design, Brain-Body Music Interfaces, Theory, Musicology, Deep Listening, Recording and music-related topics across campus including theatre, dance, filmmaking, etc.;
  • access to performance and recording spaces such as the B2 Center for Media, Arts & Performance and numerous in-house concert venues;
  • access to non-Western music ensembles including our West African Highlife Ensemble, Japanese Ensemble, Latin American Ensemble and Gamelan Ensemble;
  • the composition department’s very own contemporary music concert series—CU Boulder SoundWorks
  • paid commissions for students to create new works for various performing ensembles;
  • opportunities to write fully-staged scenes for the CU New Opera Workshop (CU NOW); and
  • a supportive, creative environment of students and faculty making their own unique music and projects in a gorgeous setting.

Degree programs

BM Composition
BA Music
MM Composition
MM Composition (Music Technology emphasis)
DMA Composition (spots currently unavailable for degrees beginning fall 2024)