Composition - Theory

Recognized internationally for its innovation, instruction and performance in contemporary music, the Composition-Theory area is one of the nation’s largest composition programs, offering degrees in the Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Music, Master of Music, and Doctor of Musical Arts. Students develop active careers as composers, participating in workshops, summer programs and other performance and study opportunities around the world. Alumni are now composition faculty at other prestigious schools, including Princeton University, American University, and University of Florida among many others.

Samuel Adler Coaches Chamber Ensemble

Composition-Theory prepares students for careers as composers and educators, as well as graduate study in composition or music theory. We offer comprehensive course work in composition and music theory, with specialized courses in orchestration, analysis, music informatics, recording, experimental and electro-acoustic music, and computer music. Please visit our course explorer or the university's academic catalog for more information.

As a student, you will have a wide variety of opportunities to hear your music: the New Opera Initiative focuses on new work by students and visiting composers; the 21st Century Piano Commission Award pairs student composers and pianists, presenting a concert annually in the Great Hall of the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts; and there are other opportunities with orchestras, bands, choruses, etc. The Illinois Modern Ensemble is a chamber orchestra of 17 musicians which regularly plays work by students, faculty and visiting guest composers, including the winners of the annual Salvatore Martirano Memorial Award, an international composition contest.