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. 

Contemporary Music News

A large chior rehearses outside.

This Week in Photos: Unlikely Spaces and Familiar Places

October 2, 2020
Latinx Heritage Month, TGIF, and the first presidential debate find a home in Wilder Bowl; concerts by TIMARA and jazz students are livestreamed in the Cat in the Cream Coffeehouse; the patio of Mudd Center welcomes the Oberlin College Choir; Clark Bandstand in Tappan Square becomes a stage for jazz forums; and familiar places in between.
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.

Contemporary Music Facilities

Bibbins Hall exterior under a bright sky

Bibbins Hall

The Oberlin Conservatory’s main teaching building has 40 studios and 10 classrooms. Private instruction, ensemble coaching, and classroom instruction take place here.
String and percussion ensemble in Clonick Hall recording studio

Clonick Hall

Clonick Hall is a superior recording studio and performance space housed in the conservatory’s Bertram and Judith Kohl Building.
Conservatory Central Unit

Conservatory Central Unit

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

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.
Photo of TIMARA Studios

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.
Warner Concert Hall

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.