Composition Program Description

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Composition Program Description


Students in the composition program participate in many enriching musical opportunities, including:


  1. Private lessons

    • Students receive one, one-hour lesson each week with CMU Pre-College Music composition faculty, specifically to prepare a college audition portfolio. The weekly “Composers Forum” provides the opportunity to hear guest lectures, participate in discussion, and present student works or works-in-progress.

  2. Reading/recording session with professional musicians

    • Composition students have their pieces read and recorded by professional musicians at the end of the program in a state-of-the-art recording studio.

  3. Elective conducting studies

    • Students may enroll in private conducting training to develop as a conductor and to establish leadership skills. Participants will have the opportunity to gain podium experience through conducting instrumental ensembles of program colleagues. For information about becoming a Conducting Scholar, click here.

  4. Elective instrumental ensembles

    • Composition students may audition for any summer instrumental ensemble to develop collaborative playing. Ensembles include the Millennium Symphony Orchestra, the Summer Wind Ensemble, the Jazz Ensemble, and others.

  5. CMU Music Pre-College courses

  • Students participate in the regular music course load of a first semester college student with courses that include music theory, solfѐge, and Dalcroze eurhythmics. Electives are available in minor studios, music technology, jazz studies, recording techniques, and more.


  1. Master classes and concerts

    • Students perform on several concerts culminating in Concert Week, which includes festival-style performances of chamber music, opera scenes, choir, jazz ensembles, and more.

    • Pittsburgh has a rich cultural life during the summer, and students are encouraged to attend the many performances happening throughout the city. In addition, Pre-College Music hosts professional concerts every week, free for all students. Participants may also observe rehearsals and attend performances by world-renowned Pittsburgh ensembles, such as the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, the Opera Theater of Pittsburgh, or the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble.


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