As Predicted, TIMARA and Composition Unite
The student composers concert scheduled next Thursday, Nov. 15, may seem a little different to people who have attended such concerts in the past. While previously there have been student concerts sponsored by the composition department and other student concerts sponsored by the Technology in Music and Related Arts Department, this year the departments are presenting joint concerts. In October, one of the first concerts showed that the change meant an even mix of pieces for acoustic instruments and pieces for electronics (both pre-recorded on CD playback and with live audio processing). Presumably, next week’s concert will be similar.
Crossover between the two departments is nothing new. Many students elect to pursue a double major in both composition and TIMARA, and pieces utilizing electronics have been no strangers to past composition department concerts, just as pieces utilizing live instruments have been no strangers to past TIMARA Department concerts. This year’s change was all but inevitable.
The joint concerts are just one of many changes aimed at bringing the composition and TIMARA departments closer together. The requirements of both majors have been updated in the last year. The composition modules, a set of group classes that composition students were required to take for their first two years before entering a private teacher’s studio, have been condensed to a single year. First-year TIMARA majors are now also required to take the modules. Similarly, first-year composition majors now have to take Tech 200 and Tech 201, the first year of core TIMARA courses (previously, Tech 100 and Tech 150, more simplified electronic courses, were required for Composition majors).
Another crucial change is that students can now elect to study privately with a professor from the other department — composition majors can study with TIMARA professors and vice versa. Composition and TIMARA double majors also have more flexibility in splitting their time between the departments.
If the aim of the departments is to equip students with as many tools as possible to compose the music they want to compose, the new changes are a step in the right direction. If right now the delineations between the departments still seem quite clear cut, perhaps in the future we will see more integration in student works of live instruments and electronics.