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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.


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

image for U-M selects Sphinx’s founder as new dean of School of Music, Theatre & Dance
U-M selects Sphinx’s founder as new dean of School of Music, Theatre & Dance

Aaron Dworkin, recognized internationally for his leadership and advocacy of diversity in the performing arts, will serve as dean of the SMTD beginning July 20, 2015.  more

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