Dr. Heim leads the New Music Ensemble in Crean Orchestral Recital Hall
Hall-Musco Conservatory of Music

» BM in Composition

Chapman Composition Faculty - Sean Heim, Vera Ivanova, Dominique Schafer and Jeffrey HolmesThe 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.

  • Student Achievements
  • Artists In Residence
  • Guests
  • Michael Fleming '16 attended Composing in the Wilderness in Denali National Park, Alaska, and had his work performed at the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival.

    Headshot of Adam BoreckiHeadshot for Colin HorrocksColin Horrocks '14 and Adam Borecki '12 are both prior Assistant Directors of the Tuesdays at Monk Space concert series in Los Angeles.




    Headshot of Nathan CampbellNathan Campbell '12  won the Highsmith Award, the San Francisco Conservatory's prize in orchestral composition.  The San Francisco Conservatory Orchestra premiered his work Lunar Prelude at its opening concert fall of 2014.





    Headshot for Adam BoreckiHeadshot for Patrick GutmanAdam Borecki '12 and Patrick Gutman '12 attended the 2013 Cortona Summer Sessions for Contemporary Music, in Cortona Italy.



    Adam Borecki '12 worked as a recording engineer at the 2014 Aspen Music Festival.

  • Marco Fusi

    Nicholas Isherwood

    Vicki Ray

    Christophe Desjardins

    Liam Viney

    Joseph Wytko

    Stacey Fraser

    Mark Robson

    Anna Grinberg

    Mark Menzies

    Phillip Greenlief

    Susan Ung

    Marty Walker

    Scot Ray & Bill Barrett

    Art Jarvinen & Louis Keller (Baghdad Batteries)

    Joseph Wytko

    Dzovig Markonian

  • Guest Ensembles

    Da Capo Chamber Players

    Penderecki String Quartet

    Firebird Ensemble

    California Ear Unit

    Brightwork New Music

    Del Sol String Quartet

    Ensemble Green

    Moscow Contemporary Music Ensemble

    Duo Solo



    Duo Solo

    Ray/Kallay Duo

    Guest Composers

    George Crumb

    Ben Johnston

    Terry Riley

    Chinary Ung

    John Adams

    Ken Ueno

    Philippe Manoury

    Paul Chihara

    Yann Orlarey

    Art Jarvinen

    Lei Liang

    Koji Nakano

    Harold Oliver

    Ron George

    Liviu Marinescu

    David Means

    Mark Robson

+ - Program Learning Outcomes

PLO1: Musicianship
The student will demonstrate fluent musicianship skills, including an understanding of music theory, proficiency with aural skills and sight reading, proficiency as a soloist on his or her main instrument, knowledge of different musical styles and historical eras, a demonstration of basic piano skills, and the ability to rehearse and perform collaboratively and contribute to an ensemble.

PLO2: Composition and Performance
The student will generate a portfolio of original compositions for various ensembles/media and present them publicly. 

PLO3: Professional Work
The student will experience the professional work of a composer by communicating musical ideas and concepts to professionals and audiences in rehearsal, performance, oral communication, and writing; by learning business skills; and by observing the professional work of others.

PLO4: Composition Skills
The student will demonstrate skills related to the practice of composition including pedagogical techniques and skills in composition, basic improvisation techniques, and effective work with music engraving, synthesis and recording software.

Contact Us

Dr. Sean Heim
Director of Music Theory/Composition
(714) 744-7829

Dr. Jeffrey Holmes
Music Theory/Composition
(714) 744-2159

Dr. Vera Ivanova
Music Theory/Composition
(714) 997-6679

Dr. Dominique Schafer
Director of Electroacoustic Music
(714) 744-7669