Music Composition at Lawrence University is a comprehensive and collaborative pre-professional training program in composition and theory that emphasizes frequent performances of students' instrumental and vocal chamber music.

Develop a deep theoretical foundation along with core musicianship in a curriculum that will accelerate your growth as a composer. Private lessons, courses in orchestration, counterpoint, analysis and contemporary compositional techniques—along with exceptional opportunities for large ensemble readings—will prepare you to go confidently into your life after Lawrence.

Showcase your creations.

One of the great strengths of the program is our emphasis on performance. You will compose a large variety of instrumental and vocal chamber music and present frequent public performances of your music during Composition Studio Recitals and you may be selected to compose a work for performance by one of the conservatory’s large ensembles.

Distinguish yourself with fellowships and awards.

Majors have received accolades from a variety of organizations including the Watson Fellowship, the prestigious Akademie Schloss Solitude International Masterclass in Germany, DownBeat Magazine and the Emmy Awards. A recent graduate received the 2017 DownBeat Student Music Award for “Outstanding Original Composition” in the undergraduate category for his large ensemble composition.

Find your own path, with thoughtful guidance.

The mark of a great teacher is that their students all turn out very differently. This will be your experience of the Lawrence faculty. They care deeply about the individuality of their students. With their mentorship, your peers can accomplish everything from composing and recording a string quartet or electronic composition to writing music for Balinese gamelan instruments.

Meet world-class musicians on campus.

Lawrence was the proud host of the 2017 International Double Reed Society convention. Some of the most prolific musicians in the world were under Lawrence’s roof for one week of workshops, master classes and performances. A recent composition major even had the opportunity to commission a mass double reed ensemble piece for the convention.

Components of the Major

Music and Analysis (5 terms)

Aural Skills (5 terms)

Sight Singing (5 terms)

Keyboard skills (or demonstrated proficiency)

Western Music History I & II

One advanced musicology course

Applied music individual instruction

Ensemble participation every term in Appleton

Fundamentals of Composition

Nine terms of composition courses
 Techniques of the Contemporary Composer

Topics in Electronic Music
One course in counterpoint

One upper-level course in theory and analysis


Conducting Principles

Course descriptions and more courses

The Chandler Senior Experience

The Senior Experience in composition consists of a recital (approx. 60 minutes) of original compositions and a portfolio of scores and recordings of works composed while at Lawrence. You will get to show variety in musical style, compositional technique, and artistic conception.

Recent Senior Experiences include:

• Recitals and portfolios of original music compositions