Composition

The School of Music, Theatre, and Dance offers a range of coursework, opportunities, and facilities for the study of music composition. Applied lessons in composition are available to undergraduate and graduate music majors as well as additional course offerings in arranging, orchestration, electronic music, and music analysis.

Study With

James David

Associate Professor of Music; Composition, Music Theory

James.David@colostate.edu

(970) 491-4154

Facilities

The Music Composition Laboratory (inside the University Center for the Arts) boasts state-of-the-art hardware and software for both composition and audio production.  This lab is specifically dedicated for use by composition students only who have 24-hour secure access to the space.  It also provides students with access to high-quality laser printers and binding machines for the creation of professional quality scores. The following software programs are currently available:

Notation Software:

  • Finale
  • Sibelius

Digital Audio:

  • Ableton Live Suite
  • Max/MSP
  • Pro Tools HD
  • Logic Pro X
  • MOTU Digital Performer
  • Reason
  • East-West Symphonic Libraries
  • Tapspace Percussion Library

New Music at CSU: Aries Composers Festival

The Aries Composers Festival is a three-day event that welcomes renowned composers from throughout the United States and abroad to the campus of Colorado State University.  Originally known as the Rocky Mountain Contemporary Music Festival, many world famous composers have visited and worked with CSU students in rehearsals, concerts, lectures, and masterclasses including most recently Michael Colgrass, Michael Daugherty, and Libby Larsen.

The festival brings multiple guest composers, as well as music theorists, musicologists, and other researchers interested in new music, to CSU. Festival events include concerts - with forces ranging from a full symphony orchestra to electroacoustic media - along with lectures, paper presentations, receptions, and panel discussions.

The next festival is planned for Spring 2020. Details coming: ariescomposersfestival.org 

Student Achievement

Student composers at CSU have been accepted to numerous prestigious graduate music programs throughout the nation and abroad. Some of the more notable programs are listed below:

  • Brandeis University
  • Royal Northern College of Music (UK)
  • University of Texas – Austin
  • University of Kansas
  • University of Missouri – Kansas City
  • University of Missouri – Columbia
  • University of Massachusetts – Amherst
  • University of Southern California
  • Arizona State University
  • Florida State University
  • University of Colorado – Boulder
  • University of North Texas
  • University of Northern Colorado

Additionally, student composers have participated in prominent new music festivals and composition workshops including the following:

  • Cortona New Music Sessions (Italy)
  • Valencia International Performance Academy & Festival (Spain)
  • University of Cincinnati Film Scoring Workshop
  • University of Missouri Summer Composers Workshop
  • College Music Society Regional Conferences

Composition Events

Composition News

Harmony Outreach Competition and Concert

March 28, 2020 at 2:00 PM
CSU’s Harmony Outreach Competition is a new way for music students to work together to create innovative programs aimed towards specific audiences in the community. This year, the competition will consist of multiple groups presenting music in an interactive presentation meant for children. At the competition, groups of CSU student musicians will audition for a [...]
Music composition major, Derek Summers, works in Finale on the first movement his original composition, a violin, clarinet, and piano trio called "Arcs."

The Sound of Technology

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The University Center for the Arts is alive with the sound of music, most of which was created with technology. From music and technology courses to music composition degrees to significant hardware and software technological upgrades, CSU students and UCA patrons are benefitting from the continued investment in music technology by the School of Music, […]

April 2016 Faculty Notes

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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 […]