Music PhD in Composition

Overview

Composition and Theory

The Graduate Composition and Theory Program at the University of California, Davis, provides an invigorating and liberating approach to the art of music composition. Our highly selective program investigates many of the areas vital to young composers developing their craft in today’s world of endless choice and options.

Each year, the UC Davis Graduate Composition and Theory Program sponsors performances of the graduate composers’ works by the Empyrean Ensemble, the Department of Music’s new music ensemble-in-residence. Additionally, numerous artists-in-residence visit our campus each year, allowing for additional readings, performances, and recordings of graduate composers’ works. Many of these events take place in the magnificent Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts. Our graduate composers have collaborated with the Lyris and Calder Quartets, Alarm Will Sound, Firebird Ensemble, Yarn/Wire, Wet Ink Ensemble, Tony Arnold, and Paul Hillier, among other distinguished artists. Our graduate composers regularly participate in highly competitive workshops and summer courses, such as June in Buffalo, Wellesley Composers Conference, Norfolk Music Festival, Aspen Music Festival, highScore Festival, to name a few.

The annual UC Davis Symphony Orchestra Composition Reading gives our graduate composers the chance to learn how to write for orchestra. The UC Davis Department of Music and the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts also sponsor a bi-annual music festival and composition workshop, which offers additional performance opportunities for our graduate composers.

Our Ph.D. candidates typically finish the program in 5 years, during which time they usually receive regular financial support from the University of California. Our graduate composers also gain valuable teaching experience by serving as TAs for a number of undergraduate courses.

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