College of Fine & Performing Arts

Music Composition

Composition

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.

Opportunities

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.

Events

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. 

Electroacoustic Studio

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. 

Highlights

Additional visiting artists. ​

  • Joseph Schwantner
  • David Maslanka
  • Michael Daugherty
  • Samuel Adler

Additional Opportunities

  • 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

Major Information 

Students should visit the University Catalog for more information regarding requirements and auditions. 

a person connects plugs to a switchboard-like machinefancy touch screen computer connected to electric keyboard

if you composed music in the Bat Cave, this is what it would look like

Faculty

Music Composition

Name Title Phone E-Mail Location
Jon
Bash

Instructor

(360) 650-4091

Jon.Bash@wwu.edu

Charles
Halka

Assistant Professor, Composition

(360) 650-3868

Charles.Halka@wwu.edu

PA 141
Bruce
Hamilton

Professor, Theory, Composition, Electroacoustic Music

(360) 650-3711

Bruce.Hamilton@wwu.edu

PA 133
Jonathon
McCullough
BM

Instructor, Electroacoustic Music / Studio Technician

(360) 650-3130

mccullj6@wwu.edu

PA 166
Todd
Smith

Instructor, Composition, Popular Music History

(360) 650-7138

Todd.Smith@wwu.edu

High Street Hall 18
Lesley
Sommer

Associate Professor, Theory, Composition

(360) 650-7382

Lesley.Sommer@wwu.edu

PA 147
Jordan
Watson

Instructor, Composition and Music Technology

Jordan.Watson@wwu.edu

PA 173