Professor points at text on a whiteboard
Professor and Chair of Composition Stephen Hartke discusses his piece "Meanwhile," for which he won a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Classical Composition in 2013. Photo credit: Yvette Chen ’16
Program Overview


Program Type: Major, Minor
  • Bachelor of Music (BM)
Division: Contemporary Music

Our Composition Program trains aspiring composers to hone their skills at presenting their musical ideas as clearly and efficiently as possible through written notation, and to expand their creativity by examining a wide variety of music and embracing all eras. Student composers present and perform their works through formal student recitals as well as informal gigs in student venues around campus.

student concert
The conservatory provides opportunities for composition majors like Matthew Chamberlain ’13, MM ’14 to present their original works with a performance ensemble. Photo credit: Yevhen Gulenko

Student Composers Concerts

Composition students have many opportunities to share their original works via competitions, recitals, student composers concerts, and with such student ensembles as the Oberlin Chamber Orchestra. Some students may even take the baton, guiding a performance ensemble through one of their original compositions.

Sample Courses

  • COMP 201 - Composition Class I 2
  • COMP 332 - Survey of Compositional Forms and Structures 4
  • COMP 421 - Counterpoint II 4

Composition News

man performing at the piano.

Not So Slight Return

November 6, 2020
Liam Kaplan ’20 attempts to complete exclusive Piano Honors Program with November 14 recital.
double degree student Rania Adamczyk.

Those Who Can, Teach

May 20, 2020
Rania Adamczyk ’20 plots a course for India through a Fulbright teaching assistantship.