Western boasts a composition program which is extraordinary in its resources and level of student participation, offering undergraduate and graduate composition degrees and general composition study for music majors.
The program consists of weekly private lessons and seminars, quarterly student composer concerts, annual large ensemble performances of student works and regular visits by guest composers. In addition to an outstanding and internationally recognized faculty, students benefit from a state-of-the-art electroacoustic music studio (WWEAMS) and an excellent library of contemporary scores and recordings. Furthermore, the contemporary ensemble, "NowHearThis!", provides an invaluable resource in the concert performance of works of, principally, living composers.
Guest Artists and Composers
Recent guest composers have included William Bolcom, Eve Beglarian, Ken Ueno, Roshanne Etezady, Wayne Horvitz, Bright Sheng, Sharon Farber, Frederic Rzewski and Morton Subotnik. Guest performing ensembles interacting with our students have included Granny winner Gloria Cheng, Eighth Blackbird, and Roomful of Teeth; as well as Brave New Works, the Friction Quartet, Sapphire Winds, and Ensemble Proton Bern.
Large contemporary music events such as the Bellingham Electronic Arts Festival and the Sound Culture Adventures Festival bring together disparate varieties of music creativity, with students showcased alongside local, national, and international artists spanning several genres.
Western's electroacoustic studio (WWEAMS) provides a unique creative space for composers exploring technology, combining rate vintage synthesizers with the latest professional hardware and specialty software. WWEAMS students have the opportunities to work in collaboration with choreographers and visual artists and present their musical work in annual showcases, composition area and degree recitals, InterExchange concerts with other schools, and other contemporary art events.
Additional visiting artists.
- Joseph Schwantner
- David Maslanka
- Michael Daugherty
- Samuel Adler
- Quarterly student Composers of Western (C.O.W.) concerts
- Large ensemble readings and performances of student works
- Regular visits by guest composers and performers of contemporary music
- Music Instruction Technology Lab (MIT)
- Biennial adventurous music festivals
- Excellent library of contemporary scores and recordings
Students should visit the University Catalog for more information regarding requirements and auditions.