The composition major at Chapman University places an emphasis on creativity and the study of modern approaches and techniques of music making within an academic model. Under the guidance of Chapman’s internationally renowned composition faculty, who teach all composition courses, students compose in a wide variety of performance media, are guided through previously unexplored avenues of aesthetic and technical awareness, and work toward developing individual stylistic points of view. This instruction is enhanced by workshops and lectures by guest composers, including George Crumb, Chinary Ung, Terry Riley, Ben Johnston, John Adams, and many others.
Students may declare an intention to major in composition at entrance and begin studying composition from week one. Formal admission to the Bachelor of Music in Composition degree program will be granted prior to the junior year, after competence levels in theoretical work, compositional skills, and demonstrated potential have been evaluated. At that time the composition faculty will determine the appropriateness of the degree objective. Students accepted into the program must demonstrate an acceptable level of proficiency on a major instrument or voice. A senior recital must be completed with approval of, and while enrolled for study with, the student’s major professor of composition.
Composition majors participate in the preparation and performance of new student works through the New Music Ensemble, Percussion Ensemble, Ensemble-in-Residence Program (including the Da Capo Chamber Players, Penderecki String Quartet, Firebird Ensemble, Moscow Contemporary Music Ensemble, etc.), and works written for the many other ensembles on campus. All works written by students are read and/or performed, and recorded. Through this active participation, students begin to develop an intuitive understanding of musical performance and a sense of professionalism when rehearsing and presenting their work.
Graduates of the program have had their works performed professionally throughout the United States and abroad, continued their studies in composition at top institutions at the graduate level, and received fellowships, commissions and awards for their compositions.