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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.


Art Gottschalk, second from left, with production team for Requiem For The Living
From the Shelf to St. Petersburg

Arthur Gottschalk’s unexpected journey to becoming an award-winning composer has now brought him to Russia for a major recording project. more

image for SMTD Receives $2.5 Million Gift for Music Technology Innovation Suite
SMTD Receives $2.5 Million Gift for Music Technology Innovation Suite

Major gift from William K. and Delores S. Brehm will create a multi-functional technology center to provide innovative multimedia tech space for instruction, recording, composition and much more. more

See more department news

Bob James
U-M Homecoming Features Star-Studded Free Events

Homecoming weekend (Oct. 30-Nov. 2) to feature free concerts and events with celebrated SMTD alums. more

SMTD logo for newsNaxos releases CD of Milhaud's "Oresteia of Aeschylus" performed by U-M student ensembles & UMS Choral Union

A collaboration of SMTD and UMS, CD is first-ever recording of epic operatic trilogy, features 120-piece USO, 320-voice choir, 9 vocal soloists. more



SMTD logo for eventSMTD@UMMA

Saturday, February 21 - 7:00pm
Museum of Art
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