The Herb Alpert School of Music at CalArts
Degree Programs: BFA, MFA
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Long noted for its important contributions to contemporary musical innovation, the institute's Composition Program allows each student to develop his or her own artistic voice through the exploration and study of a broad range of theories, techniques and creative tools. In recognition of the enormous expansion in the stylistic breadth of contemporary music during the last century and now at the beginning of the 21st century, students are not expected to follow any particular stylistic pathway or school of composition. Instead, the curriculum and pedagogical methods support the acquisition of tools and engagement with ideas that make it possible for each student to build and sustain his or her own profile as an innovative creative artist. Composition students also expand their knowledge of historical and current practices so that they are better able to contextualize their work and build successful careers. To support these goals, the Composition Program offers an impressive array of courses, exposure to the work of many prominent guest composers, and continuous assessment and critique of each student's work as it develops. All students are required to compile a professional-quality portfolio of work by the end of their residencies.
Student composers frequently write for various student and faculty performers, as well as many types of ensembles and chamber groups, including the New Century Players, the school's resident professional ensemble. They also collaborate regularly with a wide range of performing, visual and literary artists throughout the CalArts community.