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Department of Composition


A distinguished faculty of internationally known composers provides students with guidance and encouragement in the search for the student's individual voice, without imposing stylistic regimentation.

Composers in undergraduate and graduate programs enjoy premiere performances of their work in the Composers Forum concert series, through annual participation in the Midwest Composers Symposium (a forum for student composers from four schools) and in concerts by University of Michigan ensembles. Students also have access to the incredible resources of the School, including the Audio Studio and the Electronic Music Studios.

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Faculty, students, and alumni of the Department of Composition continue to win an extraordinary number of national and international awards, receiving virtually every prize and award available to American composers.

All of these factors combine to make the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance one of the country's important centers for the training of young composers.



guest composers & past faculty

In addition to the regular faculty, students have the opportunity to work with a variety of eminent composers each semester.


image for John Luther Adams visits SMTD as speaker and mentor
John Luther Adams visits SMTD as speaker and mentor

Composer John Luther Adams, "one of the most original musical thinkers of the century," will be in residence and USO will perform his Pulitzer and Grammy-winning Become Ocean. more

image for NY Philharmonic Residency Details Announced
NY Philharmonic Residency Details Announced

SMTD, UMS, and the New York Philharmonic announce the full details of the upcoming New York Philharmonic Residency in October.  more

See more department news

Moore Building's new Brehm Pavilion (photo: Michigan Photography, Eric Bronson)
E.V. Moore Building reopens following $29.5 million renovation and expansion

SMTD's Earl V. Moore Building reopens, introduces brand new Brehm Pavilion. more

William and Delores Brehm (photo by Mark Mastropietro)
SMTD Receives $1 Million Gift for Pianos From William and Delores Brehm

Lead donors to the Moore Building renovation and expansion make additional gift to outfit the building with new pianos.  more

SMTD logo for newsSMTD Receives Quick Win/Discovery Grant for Cultural Entrepreneurship Project

University grant will support program to help performing arts students develop entrepreneurial skills in the transformed cultural landscape of the 21st century. more




Monday, October 12 - 7:00pm
Museum of Art
Free - no tickets required

SMTD logo for eventU-M Student Composers’ Recital

Tuesday, October 13 - 8:00pm
Earl V. Moore Building, Britton Recital Hall
Free - no tickets required

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image for William Bolcom Residency in Composition Guest Lecture: John Luther AdamsWilliam Bolcom Residency in Composition Guest Lecture: John Luther Adams

Thursday, October 15 - 5:00pm
Michigan Theater
Free - no tickets required

Michael Daugherty, Professor of Composition
Evan Chambers, Professor and Chair of CompositionKristin Kuster, professor of compositionErik Santos, Associate Professor of Composition and Director, Electronic Music Studio Paul Schoenfield, Professor of Composition Bright Sheng, Leonard Bernstein Distinguished University Professor of Composition
"Michigan, for me, was incredible. I worked with everyone..... There are many schools that have great teachers but few where you can work with them intensively. I was not shy about approaching them, but there was something about Michigan that made me feel that I could."
Derek Bermel, MM Composition 1993 & DMA Composition 1997

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Photography Credits:

U-M Photo Services

Joe Welsh

Peter Smith

David Smith

Glen Behring

Tom Bower