Composition Area


The CSU Department of Music offers two primary tracks for studying music composition.

The Bachelor of Music in Composition program is intended for students seeking to become professional composers or pursue graduate study in music composition or music theory. The program includes three years of formal composition lessons, the completion of two composition recitals (or equivalent public performances), and advanced courses in electronic music, music theory, counterpoint, and orchestration.

Non-music majors and “freshman” students are generally not eligible for private composition lessons unless the student demonstrates exceptional prior experience in composition. Graduate applied composition lessons or independent study can be taken for credit for any interested and qualified music graduate student. All composition students must pass Music Theory II (or an equivalent transfer course) AND complete an interview with the composition faculty before beginning lessons.

Student Composers Alliance
The composition studio formed an official student organization in 2008 that is dedicated to the promotion of contemporary art music at CSU and the greater Fort Collins community. The Alliance meets weekly in the Music Composition Lab where members present on various topics including contemporary trends in composition, leading composers from throughout the world, and their own music. The group also sponsors recitals of student compositions and will be an affiliated student chapter of the Society of Composers, Inc. in 2010.

Study With

James David

Associate Professor
Composition and Music Theory

(970) 491-4154

Composition Events

Composition News

April 2016 Faculty Notes


Last fall, Assistant Professor of Music History K. Dawn Grapes had her annotated bibliography/research guide to “John Dowland” recently published online by Oxford University Press in Oxford Bibliographies. In her introduction, Dr. Grapes describes Dowland (b. 1563–d. 1623) as an internationally known English musician of the late 16th and early 17th centuries. As the most […]

February 2016 Faculty Notes


Last fall, Music Education Professor Dr. Bonnie Jacobi, had her research published The Journal of Historical Research in Music Education. Her article titled “In Burst of Fresh Song” – William Churchill Hammond and His Christmas Caroling Choir at Mount Holyoke College explains how he not only helped to reinstate the musical celebration of Christmas after […]

CSU Presents 2013 Aries Composers Festival


Three-Day Music Extravaganza Welcomes Renowned Composers to the CSU Campus The Colorado State University Center for the Arts presents the 2013 Aries Composers Festival running from Sunday, Oct. 20 to Tuesday, Oct. 22 at the University Center for the Arts, located at 1400 Remington St. Some events are free for public observation. For ticketed concerts, […]

Lab and Related Facilities

The University Center for the Arts houses excellent resources for student composers. The Music Composition Lab features state-of-the-art Mac OSX workstations with industry standard digital audio software listed below:

  • Pro Tools
  • Logic and Digital Performer
  • Ableton Suite
  • Max/MSP
  • Finale and Sibelius
  • Reason + Record

Additionally, the Performing Arts Library and Computer Lab features Finale and Sibelius, the Naxos Music Library’s collection of over 45,000 recordings, a library of over 5,000 CD’s and LP’s, MIDI keyboard controllers, and portable digital recorders. This facility is open to all university students.