As a Composition major, hearing your music performed is an essential part of your development as a composer. At Lamont, you have many opportunities to hear your works performed on a regular basis. These include:

  • Lamont Composers Concert Series (LCCS): a quarterly concert featuring music by our Composition majors and minors.
  • Lamont Symphony Orchestra New Music Recording Session: an annual recording session of students' works for orchestra.
  • Modern Music Ensemble: an innovative chamber ensemble in which composers work with an ensemble every week in the development of a new composition, culminating in an end-of-the-quarter performance.
  • Visiting Professional Ensembles: in the recent past, influential ensembles like NOW EnsemblePlayground Ensemble, and many others, have performed and recorded new works by our student composers.
  • Composer-Singer Collaboration: a biannual collaboration between the Composition and Opera departments in which composers collaborate with M.M. Voice majors on a new work for voice and piano, culminating in a concert of these new works.
  • Orchestration Readings: A recorded reading session with the Lamont Symphony Orchestra is the final activity in our Orchestration course, offered annually.
  • Other Lamont ensembles: our composers frequently write new pieces for the various Lamont ensembles they perform in, such as Steel Drum Ensemble.

Our world-class and stylistically diverse faculty have expertise in all corners of the classical music world, including: orchestral and chamber music, opera, electronics, installations, performance art, wind ensemble, and more. Sean Friar, winner of the Rome Prize and Chair of the Composition Department, has had commissions that run the gamut from works for orchestra and string quartet to a junk car percussion concerto, music for laptop orchestra, and a microtonal piano duo. His music has been performed at major venues throughout the world and he has received commissions from ensembles including the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Berlin Philharmonic Scharoun Ensemble, the American Composers Orchestra, the Cabrillo Festival, Alarm Will Sound, Ensemble Modern, and many more. Award-winning composer Leanna Kirchoff brings decades of experience to the composition studio. Her music has been performed at Carnegie Hall and included in the Ernest Bloch and 9th New London Wind Festivals. Composer and artist Nathan Hall has been called "a try-anything aural dreamer with the skills and programming genius to mount ideas both intriguing and outrageous." A recipient of the Fulbright Fellowship to Iceland, his works have been performed and exhibited in 14 countries and 12 US States by ensembles including the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, the String Orchestra of Brooklyn, and the Gay/Lesbian Chorus of San Francisco.

As a Composition major, you will have weekly lessons with one of our faculty; over the course of your time as a student, you'll have an opportunity to study with each teacher. 

Portfolio Requirements

Undergraduate (BM and BA) and Graduate (MM)

  • Submit a portfolio of 2-3 compositions, represented by scores and/or recordings. Applicants should submit works that best represent their artistic interests and creative abilities. It is recommended that your application include at least one notated score; if some or all of your work is for electronics, improvisation, or other media for which notated scores are not standard, you may submit only audio or video recordings, as appropriate.
  • Recordings of notated works are optional but strongly encouraged. Live recordings or MIDI/electronic mockups are acceptable.
  • If you also compose in other genres (jazz, songwriting, folk, etc.) and would like to include examples of this in your application, you may submit them as supplemental materials (scores and/or recordings) in addition to your main portfolio of works.
  • Submit a résumé that includes:
    • Music education (e.g., teachers, degree programs, coursework, festivals)
    • Other musical activities (e.g., performances of your works, performance activity, teaching, research)
    • List of compositions (include instrumentation/medium, duration, year composed)

Note: Classical composition applicants are encouraged, but not required, to provide evidence of proficiency on a musical instrument by uploading a video through the online application system.

View Jazz Composition Requirements

Undergraduate (Minor)

  • Submit a portfolio of at least one composition.
  • Recordings are optional but encouraged.



Graduate Applicants interested in a Music Theory GTA

If you would like to be considered for a Graduate Teaching Assistantship (GTA) in Music Theory, please also include the following materials:

  • An analytic essay or research paper that engages a music-theoretic issue. If applicants do not have a research paper from their undergraduate years, they may substitute significant counterpoint exercises, analytic graphs or tonal compositions, along with a narrative paragraph describing the work.
  • Syllabi from your undergraduate theory courses.
  • Ask your recommenders to comment on your teaching abilities, or potential.
  • Note that we may ask candidates for GTA positions to take a keyboard and sight-reading test via Skype.


Applicants who advance in the application process will then have an interview, either in person or over Zoom.

If you are selected to move forward in the application process, you will be interviewed by the composition faculty. The 20-minute interview will focus on the Composition faculty getting to learn about you, your compositional interests and musical background. For example, we may ask you about the works submitted in your portfolio, other composers or compositions that have influenced or inspired you, and what you would like to accomplish as a Composition major. We will also save a few minutes at the end for you to ask us any questions. This interview can happen either on Zoom or in person on a live audition day.

Click here to view the current year’s audition/interview dates. Please note, composition applicants who elect to interview in person are encouraged to interview on February 4. 


Sean Friar

Sean Rogers Friar

Assistant Professor

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Leanna Kirchoff

Leanna K. Kirchoff

Adjunct Faculty

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Nathan Hall (photo by Lewis Neeff)

Nathan Alan Hall

Adjunct Faculty

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