Shenandoah Conservatory boasts one of the most exciting and active composition programs in the Capital Region.
The Master of Music in Composition features world-class faculty, extensive performance opportunities with two new music ensembles, orchestra and wind ensemble, and regular guest artists including one Pulitzer Prize winning composer each year.
The creation and performance of contemporary art music is at the core of the Master of Music in Composition curriculum. Through the use of state-of-the-art technology, students advance their music presentation skills in professional and competitive venues.
The Master of Music in Composition curriculum is designed to enhance your skills as a composer of serious art music, preparing you for professional work in composition or for continued study. Your creative skills are guided and developed through intense study in and the practical application of 20th century art music (excluding popular idioms and jazz).
The Master of Music in Composition degree at Shenandoah University is unlike any in the region, focusing on equal parts craft and real-world practical know-how crucial for survival and success in the field, either inside or outside of academia.
You’ll work with exceptionally gifted and professionally active faculty in an innovative, inspiring and invigorating environment. We provide a supportive community where you can develop your craft while honestly assessing your artistic purpose.
Composition programs at Shenandoah Conservatory are grounded in a commitment to the creation and performance of new music in a variety of contemporary idioms. Creative skills are guided and developed through intense study in, and the practical application of, 21st century art music which focuses solely on classical idioms. The undergraduate curriculum is constructed around core foundation skills that are further developed at the graduate level, which constitutes the minimum standard of professional success in this rigorously competitive field.
You Will Learn:
- A variety of techniques in the composition of original music
- Wide-ranging, in-depth knowledge of both music theory and music history
- How to effectively employ technology to enhance your music composition
- The ability to research topics efficiently and write as a viable communicative tool
The creation and performance of contemporary art music is at the core of the Master of Music in Composition. Through the use of state-of-the-art technology, composers advance their skills in the presentation of their music in professional and competitive venues.
Performance Opportunities and Ensembles
Shenandoah offers an immersive new music performance series, extensive performance opportunities and recordings of your works. And through the use of state-of-the-art technology, you will advance your music presentation skills in both professional and competitive venues.
I am excited about the opportunities the student composers have. There are annual orchestra and wind ensemble readings, public performances of competition winners, recitals, and workshops/readings with guest ensembles. There's also an active student-run new music collective, which produces its own shows. This year alone my students will have works read by Newspeak, perform a collective studio show in the Spring, and collaborate with student choreographers. In addition, students take on their own projects, and work throughout the Conservatory. I have one Master's student doing the music for a Theater production. Another is planning an outdoor flash-mob-like performance of a horn duo. There is much room available in the classroom schedule of the graduate students to facilitate serious composition work. Shenandoah New Music also includes the EDGE Ensemble, which performs contemporary works throughout the year. EDGE performs one student work every Spring.”
—Jonathan Newman, Director of Composition; Coordinator of New Music
Shenandoah Conservatory produces more than 400 performances each year. Enroll in a dynamic curriculum and start preparing for a meaningful career in the arts. You will practice your craft in front of audiences and develop a plan for your professional launch into the industry that focuses on your personal desires and aspirations.
Embrace extensive performance opportunities with top-tier facilities from theatres, concert halls and dance studios. Unite with fellow artists and join an alumni family that takes center stage from Broadway to the concert halls of Europe.
Shenandoah Conservatory is home to more than 20 instrumental, vocal, and dance ensembles that present numerous performances every year. These performances take place throughout Shenandoah University’s vibrant campus on its various stages, including a concert hall, recital hall, proscenium stage, black box studio, outdoor amphitheater and more, to venues and performance spaces in the Northern Shenandoah Valley and around the world. Ensembles constantly engage with Shenandoah’s dynamic faculty and an array of distinguished guest artists through residencies, workshops and unique performance opportunities.
Shenandoah Conservatory’s prestigious faculty is dynamic, creative, and passionately committed to the highest levels of artistic excellence. A deeply caring community, they mentor students with a wealth of professional expertise, balancing rigorous expectations with compassion and wisdom. At Shenandoah, you will study with, and perform for, award-winning composers, Metropolitan Opera singers, Grammy Award winning conductors and international competition winners. You will learn from leading scholars in music and premiere works created by accomplished dance artists and cutting-edge directors. Shenandoah Conservatory’s faculty embodies the highest levels of professional accomplishment and the deepest commitment to furthering the artistic growth and creative aspirations of students in every discipline.
Director of Composition; Coordinator of New MusicFull Biography
David T. Little
Distinguished Guest Composer; Senior Lecturer, New MusicFull Biography
Application and Audition Information
Admission to Shenandoah Conservatory graduate programs is highly competitive and the audition schedule fills rapidly. Early application and audition registration is recommended.