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Department of Composition


A distinguished faculty of internationally known composers empowers students with guidance and encouragement in the search of the student's individual voice and creative goals. Our students achieve at the highest level by creating cutting-edge work that explores a wide range of creative media and styles. Alumni continue our tradition of artistic excellence, holding teaching positions across the globe, performing and composing at the top of the field, and contributing in a meaningful way to a diverse range of communities.

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Composers in undergraduate and graduate programs enjoy premiere performances of their work through our recently revamped write HEAR / right NOW concert series, annual participation in the Midwest Composers Symposium (a forum for student composers from four schools), and concerts by University of Michigan ensembles. Students also have access to the incredible technological resources of the School, including the Duderstadt Audio Studio and the brand new Music Technology Lab.

Our composers benefit from the EXCEL Program, which provides entrepreneurship training and career services with the goal of enabling all students to forge a viable career by exploring, developing and leveraging their talents, training, skills, and ambitions.

All of these factors combine to make the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance one of the country's most 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



SMTD logo for eventGuest Recital: Suburban Piano Quartet

Saturday, December 12 - 5:30pm
Earl V. Moore Building, Blanche Anderson Moore Hall
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