Contemporary Music

Our Division of Contemporary Music has three areas of study—degrees in both composition and electronic and computer music, as well as performance-based work in nationally-recognized contemporary music ensembles—giving students the opportunity to hone their technical skills while exploring an enormous range of contemporary and new music.


Our faculty comprises outstanding teachers, conductors, and composers who are devoted primarily to undergraduate education. They provide individual instruction, allowing opportunities for critique and performance, and spend generous amounts of time with their students via lessons, coaching, mentoring, and more.

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The Division of Contemporary Music features intensive coaching and faculty mentoring that encourages students to hone their musical skills and explore means of expression though exposure to a wide range of music genres.

Composition faculty work with aspiring young composers to broaden their skills to increase their facility in presenting their musical ideas with clarity through written notation. Composition students at Oberlin have ample opportunities with performers who present their pieces through formal and informal performances.

Technology in Music and Related Arts (TIMARA) is an important hub between the Conservatory and College of Arts and Sciences. Current TIMARA students work in richly diverse media, including live electronics, acoustic composition, multi-channel fixed media, video, music for dance, sound design for theater and film, research in acoustics and psychoacoustics, software development, hardware design, performance art, and soundscape composition. Many pursue interdisciplinary interests both within the major and as part of Oberlin’s double-degree program, through which TIMARA students study in fields such as computer science, physics, studio art, dance, environmental studies, philosophy, and cinema studies.

The performance of contemporary classical and new music is enthusiastically embraced at Oberlin. The school has served as a fertile training ground for scores of new music performers and groundbreaking ensembles, including the multiple Grammy Award-winning sextet Eighth Blackbird and the International Contemporary Ensemble. In performances throughout the academic year, the Contemporary Music Ensemble and Sinfonietta perform music genres, from minimalism to serialism, and from electronic to cross genre, mixed media, and beyond. 

Upcoming Contemporary Music Events

Contemporary Music News

Semester Ends with a Packed Performance Calendar

December 8, 2023

Oberlin Conservatory’s student and faculty performers have been filling most concert venues throughout the campus over the last week. During these final five bustling days before students head into reading period and then exams, this explosion of activity feels something akin to the thrilling finale of a fireworks display on New Year's Eve. So, join in—even from a distance. All of these concerts are free and open to the public, and all but one of them can be streamed live at concert time at
Musical Union with Oberlin Orchestra

Contemporary Music Facilities

Bibbins Hall

Oberlin Conservatory’s main teaching building has 40 studios and 10 classrooms. Private instruction, ensemble coaching, and classroom instruction take place here.
Bibbins Hall exterior under a bright sky.

Clonick Hall

Clonick Hall is a superior recording studio and performance space housed in the conservatory’s Bertram and Judith Kohl Building.
String and percussion ensemble in Clonick Hall recording studio

Conservatory Central Unit

The Central Unit is part of the Oberlin Conservatory’s main complex and includes classrooms, rehearsal rooms, studios, and more.
Conservatory Central Unit

Lily McGregor Skybar

The Lily Smith McGregor Skybar is a sleek, airy space for conservatory deans, faculty, and staff to meet informally or for small group sessions, workshops, and social functions.
Interior of Lily McGregor Skybar

TIMARA Performance Technology Lab

A classroom by day, the TIMARA Performance Technology Lab is regularly transformed by students creating sound art installations or presenting their junior or senior recital.
A person on a ladder works on a ceiling lighting rig.

TIMARA Studios

TIMARA (Technology in Music and the Related Arts) students have access to six studios, a networked lab of Macintosh computers, and an array of music software and gear. The spaces include: control room recording studio multichannel studio analog synth studio media production studio makerspace...
Mixing console in a control room.

Warner Concert Hall

This 496-seat hall adjoins the Conservatory of Music and is used for numerous student and faculty recitals, as well as recording sessions.
Warner Concert Hall