With so many opportunities for performance at Lamont, composition majors have their work performed publicly on a regular basis. The Lamont Symphony Orchestra and the student group Modern Hue Ensemble regularly rehearse and record student works. Additionally, we present new pieces by our composition students on the quarterly Lamont Composers Concert Series.

Sean Friar, the newest member of the composition faculty, has had recent 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 throughout the world by ensembles including the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Berlin Philharmonic Scharoun Ensemble (Germany), the American Composers Orchestra, the Cabrillo Festival Orchestra, Alarm Will Sound 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.

Zoom Interviews

After you submit your composition portfolio, we will contact you to set up a Zoom interview.

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.

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.


Sean Friar

Sean Friar

Chair, Composition

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Leanna Kirchoff

Leanna Kirchoff

Adjunct Faculty

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Nathan Hall (photo by Lewis Neeff)

Nathan Hall

Adjunct Faculty

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