Program Overview


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 composer works are performed on formal student recitals, by the conservatory's large ensembles, as well as in self-designed settings around campus.

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 Facts

Program Director

Stephen Hartke,
Professor of Composition


Jeanne Rosecrans, Administrative Assistant
(440) 775-8297
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.

Performance Ensembles

Composition News

Students, Faculty Participate in Detroit's Resonate Symposium

April 14, 2023

Two years in the making, Oberlin Conservatory students and faculty are in midtown Detroit, April 14-15, to participate and perform in the Resonate Chamber Music Symposium , held at The Carr Center —an organization dedicated to showcasing Black arts and artists.
Faculty composer Michael Frazier receives ovation for a performance in Finney Chapel.

The Cleveland Orchestra Releases Album of Compositions by George Walker ’41

November 3, 2022

On November 4, the orchestra releases a new album dedicated to the music of George Walker, Oberlin Conservatory class of 1941, and a trailblazing composer. Recorded between October 2020 and March 2022, the album spans 50 years of the composer’s impressive career. Its release falls shortly after the 100th anniversary of his birth.
George Walker and the album cover