Undergraduate Composition

Undergraduate Composition

The Undergraduate Composition degree program at University of North Carolina School of the Arts is dedicated to giving you the tools and opportunities you need to develop your language. Nestled in a community that values a vibrant arts culture and on a campus where the focus is nothing but the arts, UNCSA is a haven for creative innovation.

Program Features

  • UNCSA Symphony Orchestra performs a concert of student compositions annually.
  • Winston-Salem Symphony chooses one student work annually for professional premiere.
  • Annual recording sessions with guest ensembles. Recent ensembles include eighth blackbird, Sandbox Percussion, Prism Saxophone Quartet, yMusic and Borromeo String Quartet.
  • Performance faculty sponsor annual competitions for student composers for professional premieres.
  • Frequent performances by UNCSA Wind Ensemble, nu ensemble, etc.
  • Opportunity to collaborate with artists in all disciplines – Dance, Design and Production, Drama and Filmmaking.
  • Individualized instruction stemming from an outstanding student-to-teacher ratio.

Bachelor of Music

This is a great time to be a composer. More and more performing musicians are including new works on their programs, and the standard of playing has improved dramatically over the last few decades. New innovations in technology are extending our understanding and capabilities in composition. Composers are collaborating with dancers, actors, filmmakers and designers to create innovative artistic events. The range of viable styles of new music has never been broader, from the most intimate songs to the most complex multimedia productions.

Where do you fit in? At UNCSA, you are engaged in answering this question on a daily basis – honing your craft, expanding your horizons, engaging in constant creative inquiry – under the guidance of established, experienced mentors. Our Composition Seminars are lively opportunities for you to gather, sometimes with special guests, to discuss some of the most important issues facing all of us. With professional training schools in dance, design, drama and filmmaking, in addition to music, UNCSA provides a special environment for collaboration and artistic exploration.

First–Second Years

In your first two years of study in the undergraduate composition program, you will begin private lessons and monthly seminars, while studying the foundations of music theory, aural and keyboard skills and musical styles. Courses also include Orchestration and Counterpoint. You will pursue liberal arts courses in English, math or science and the humanities. Twice a year during each of your four years, you will present your work to the composition faculty for feedback and commentary. In your freshman through junior years, you are also required to attend a weekly Performance Hour, where you will hear your peers perform music from throughout the ages — including works by student composers.

Third–Fourth Years

Your undergraduate music composition degree studies will continue in your third and fourth years with additional liberal arts courses, career development, conducting and film composition. Music Technology courses in your junior year focus on synthesis and multimedia, digital audio and recording. In your senior year, as a graduation requirement, you will also produce a recital of your works.

Meet the Composition Studio

Related Programs


Composition Faculty
Dedicated to creating artists, entrepreneurs and leaders.