The Music Composition Program at Eastern Washington University is designed to give students the opportunity to experiment and grow as composers. This is done through private instruction in composition, group seminars, quarterly concerts, special interdisciplinary projects, technological resources from the Computer Music Studio, guest lectures and colloquia from regional or nationally recognized composers. The Composition Program places emphasis on performance practice, theory, counterpoint, computer music, orchestration and arranging. There are also unique opportunities for film scoring and writing for theatre in collaboration with faculty from respective departments.
All student composers are expected to participate in activities sponsored by the Eastern Washington University Composers Forum. This student-run organization plans concerts and hosts guest performers and composers. The Composers Forum is eligible for Associated Students of EWU funding on an annual basis.
Many EWU composers seek admission to graduate schools where there are opportunities to work as teaching assistants. Graduate studies are recommended because composers take longer to develop than performers.
With more than a hundred student performers in our department, there are ample opportunities to compose for a variety of instruments and ensembles. Our standard ensembles include: Contemporary Ensemble, Percussion Ensemble, Wind Ensemble, Jazz Groups, Concert Band, Jazz Ensembles, Chamber Choir, Symphonic Choir and Orchestra.
The computer music lab has Pro Tools stations and a variety of music notation software on iMacs. There is accesss to an ARP 2600 synthesizer and a Theremin.
Since 1999, the composition program has hosted guest composers of international, national and regional reputation. Past composers and performers include: Frederic Rzewski, William Kraft, Gunther Schuller, Kenjee Bunch (Flux Quartet), Roger Briggs, William Doppmann, David Maslanka, Ben Boretz, Janice Giteck, Donivan Johnson, Libby Larsen, Chris Chafe and Wayne Horvitz. Recent collaborative efforts with the Spokane Symphony have provided master classes with Michael Daugherty and Philip Glass.
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