The Department of Composition comprises a distinguished faculty of internationally-known composers who empower, guide, and encourage students to develop their individual voices and to realize their creative goals. Composition students at the University of Michigan work at the highest technical and artistic levels, creating pieces that explore a wide range of media and styles. Alumni of the program are active as composers-in-residence with major symphony orchestras, as professors at leading academic institutions around the globe, and as film and opera composers. Ample performance opportunities, a lively performer-composer collaborative environment, outstanding facilities, and an innovative career-training program contribute to the University of Michigan’s reputation as one of the country’s premier centers for the training of composers.

As part of U-M’s School of Music, Theatre & Dance (SMTD), composition students regularly collaborate with their performer colleagues. Composers in both undergraduate and graduate programs receive premieres of their works at a variety of venues, including the “write HEAR / right NOW” Concert Series, the Midwest Composers Symposium (a forum for student composers from four schools), and concerts by U-M ensembles. Each term, The William Bolcom Residency in Composition hosts renowned guest artists who spend a week on campus, interacting with students and faculty through lessons, workshops, meals, lectures, and performances.

Composition students work in state-of-the-art facilities, including the Earl V. Moore Building, which recently received a $29.5 million expansion and renovation. Students utilize extensive technological resources, including the Duderstadt Audio Studio and the brand new Music Technology Lab in the Moore Building, which provides the highest quality documentation of their creative work. Additionally, students enjoy the rich environment of Ann Arbor, a cultural hub and home to the University Musical Society (UMS), one of the largest University-based concert presenters in the country.

Our student composers also benefit from SMTD’s EXCEL program (Excellence in Entrepreneurship Career Empowerment & Leadership), which provides entrepreneurship training and career services, with the goal of enabling all students to forge a career based on the full range of their talents and skills.

The University of Michigan combines the focus and rigor of a conservatory with the academic breadth and depth of a major public research university. A U-M composition education is a transformative experience. Composition students receive intense professional training in an environment that also allows the pursuit academic interests, and fosters aesthetic diversity and the inclusion of multiple viewpoints. Our graduates excel as artists, scholars, educators, entrepreneurs, technologists, designers, and arts administrators, and also as fully-engaged citizens eager to make a difference in their field and communities.

Michigan, for me, was incredible. I worked with everyone. There are many schools that have great teachers but few where you can work with them intensively. I was not shy about approaching them, but there was something about Michigan that made me feel that I could.

Derek Bermel (DMA '97, MM '93, composition)

Academics & Opportunities

Explore the academic options and resources offered through the Department of Composition.


More Composition events


For over a century, Department of Composition alumni have been making their mark in the field as top composers and respected educators throughout North America and the world. Learn more about the achievements and recent activities of our successful graduates.

NINA SHEKHAR (BM ’18, composition) Flutist, with dual degrees in Composition and Electrical Engineering; Piece Quirked to be featured in upcoming PBS documentary; 2015 ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Award; Upcoming premieres with members of Eighth Blackbird and Third Angle New Music; Upcoming events at Carnegie Hall and National Sawdust

Here are just a few of our celebrated alumni:







More alumni

Ways To Connect


734.764.0593 (SMTD Admissions)
734.763.5461 (Events Line)
734.764.2538 (SMTD/UMS Ticket Office)



Department of Composition
Earl V. Moore Building
1100 Baits Drive
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2075