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 selective program investigates areas that are vital to young composers developing their craft in today’s world.

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. Numerous artists-in-residence visit our campus each year, allowing for additional readings, performances, and recordings of graduate composers’ works. 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, as well as participating in highly competitive workshops and summer courses, such as June in Buffalo, Wellesley Composers Conference, Norfolk Music Festival, Aspen Music Festival, and the highScore Festival.

The biannual UC Davis Symphony Orchestra Composition Readings 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 biannual music festival and composition workshop, which offer additional performance opportunities for our graduate composers.

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

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