Music Composition

Students with a variety of backgrounds, musical interests, and talents comprise the UNC Music Composition section. Students are encouraged to find and develop their own creative voices as composers. Faculty members in the composition section have received performances at festivals and concerts all over the U.S., Europe, South Africa, Australia, and Asia.

Excellence in Performance and Education

The College of Performing and Visual Arts offers undergraduate and graduate degrees for students studying music.

Learn more about Undergraduate and Graduate Music Degrees at UNC.

Classes in the Music Composition program may include:

  • Music Theory
  • Instrumentation
  • Digital Composition
  • Acoustics of Music
  • Recording Techniques

Career options for graduates of the Music Composition program include:

  • Composer
  • Performer
  • Music Educator
  • Graduate School

Once accepted into a School of Music Performance Studio, contact
Paul Elwood to meet and disccuss admission into the Music Composition degree program.

How to Apply

For more information or to schedule a visit to the School of Music, contact Melanie Poston at (970) 351-1921 or email

View Music Composition Faculty and Staff

The UNC School of Music is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music and designated a Program of Excellence by the Colorado Commission on Higher Education.

Student Opportunities

It is a practice of the composition area to offer regular opportunities for students to hear their compositions through readings and in performance; readings are the lab experience for composers to find out what works and what doesn't.

The composition section offers two recitals at the end of each semester on the final two Thursdays at 4:40 pm in which students are required to produce at least one recently-composed work in live performance.

Once a year other performance ensembles such as the UNC Symphony Orchestra, the Prima Voce Singers, or the UNC Concert Band give readings of compositions by students. Visiting ensembles such as the Bent Frequency Duo Project and the Callithumpian Consort of the New England Conservatory also have offered readings with recordings for study purposes for the students.

Throughout the year other guest composers and performers speak to and work with our students. In the spring of 2016 Famoudou Don Moye, percussionist and composer with the legendary Art Ensemble of Chicago is a UNC Schulze Interdisciplinary Speaker sponsored by the composition section. Other guest musicians have included composers Jonathan McNair, Aleks Sternfield-Dunn, Daniel Racer, Paul Osterfield, and percussionist Patti Cudd, among others.

Faculty & Staff

Eric Alexander

Instructor of Music

Ludek Drizhal

Digital Media Composition
Music Theory
Assistant Professor of Music

Paul Elwood

Associate Professor of Music

Music Composition at the UNC School of Music

Music Composition Class



UNC Music Composition



Open Space Festival of New Music

Each year the Composition Section sponsors the Open Space Festival of New Music. In the past we have featured composers Christian Wolff, Alvin Lucier, Gabriela Ortiz, Jean-Claude Risset, Kyle Gann, and Paul Rudy. Interpreters have included the Callithumpian Consort, the Jake Schepps Quintet featuring mandolinist Matt Flinner, pianist Stephen Drury, French electric guitarist Jean-Marc Montera and saxophonist Raphael Imbert. Open Space 2016 features guest composer Sean Friar, Rome Prize Fellow for 2011-12.