Music Composition

Develop your composing skills within a supportive environment and hear performances of your original music.

Training as a composer at Stetson includes a unique mix of classes not available at any other university in the country, with private lessons in composition during all four years of study and upper-division courses in counterpoint, orchestration and technology. As a Music Composition major, you will focus on creating music in a wide array of musical forms.

Program Overview

  • Bachelor of Music

Stetson's Music Composition classes introduce a vast range of contemporary music almost every semester, encouraging you to analyze, create and perform new music. Your coursework for the Music Composition degree culminates with a 25-minute recital of your original compositions performed in concert.

Stetson composers have the opportunity to study individually with Sydney Hodkinson, Ph.D., Almand Chair of Composition, and Manuel de Murga, Ph.D., Director of Composition. The School of Music is a collegial setting that provides opportunities for you to hear your works performed by excellent musicians, featuring reading sessions with Stetson ensembles.

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Our program in music composition will provide you with the necessary advising to excel in the field of composition and open the doors you seek to a fulfilling and rewarding career.

Program Benefits

As a Composition student, you are enrolled in private composition lessons beginning with your first semester at Stetson University. After one semester of study, Music Composition majors have a work performed every semester as part of the weekly student recital hour. In addition, the First Glimpse concerts feature the music of student composers.

During the Composition Forum, you will hear visiting composers talk about their music as well as experience presentations by fellow students on significant compositions of the last 100 years.

Many internationally renowned visiting composers have shared their music at Stetson including David Amram, Natasha Barrett, Derek Bermel, William Bolcom, Martin Bresnick, John Harbison, Hannah Lash, David Lang, Augusta Read Thomas, Joan Tower and Yehudi Wyner.

Stetson's Sounds New series features outstanding performances of new music by visiting artists such as the Amernet Quartet, Tony Arnold, the Jupiter Quartet, Blair McMillen and Michael Norsworthy.

Studies in technology are also part of the Music Composition degree. The Digital Arts recording studio contains a digital audio workstation capable of recording 10 audio channels simultaneously and mixing projects for 5.1 surround sound. The workstation is complemented by a 10-foot by 12-foot isolation booth that provides a quiet space for audio recording.


Career Significance

The Music Composition degree prepares you for a professional career as a composer. Some Options include going on for graduate work in composition, film and game scoring, orchestration and arranging. Our graduates have pursued advanced degrees at prestigious institutions such as the Eastman School of Music, Indiana University, Yale University, Peabody Conservatory, New York University and many others.

Success Stories

Justin Weber '14

Music Composition major Justin Weber (2014) served as Musical Assistant for NBC’s 2018 broadcast of "Jesus Christ Superstar Live."

Wesley Whatley

Wesley was a J. Ollie Edmunds Scholar and won an Emmy for his work on the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Wesley writes: "That night at the Emmys was the culmination of years of learning. I'm so grateful to the Stetson University community."