November 13, 2017

Bienen School offers new PhD in Music Composition

A new Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) specialization at the Bienen School of Music is providing improved resources and opportunities to music composition students at Northwestern.

The Bienen School previously offered a Doctor of Musical Arts in music composition but converted the degree to a PhD this year, bringing all music studies PhD students under the administration of The Graduate School. Other music PhD specializations at Northwestern include music education, music theory and cognition, and musicology.

The new PhD in composition and music technology will afford students even greater scholarly and financial resources similar to Northwestern’s peer institutions. During each of the five years of enrollment, PhD students receive a full-tuition scholarship, a living stipend, and a subsidy for health insurance.

Combining the benefits of a music conservatory and a major research university, the Bienen School’s Composition and Music Technology program offers many competitive advantages. Student composers regularly collaborate with the School’s performance programs and special guest artists, offering ample opportunities for the experimentation and performance of new works.

Founded in 2012, the Institute for New Music serves as a physical, intellectual, and performance hub for 20th- and 21st-century music at Northwestern. The Institute organizes an array of major cultural and educational events each year and has established the Bienen School as an epicenter for new music in the United States.

In addition, the Bienen School’s Michael Ludwig Nemmers Prize in Music Composition has brought several world-renowned composers to campus. The prize honors classical composers of outstanding achievement and includes a $100,000 award, a performance by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and a residency of 2-3 non-consecutive weeks at the Bienen School of Music. Previous winners of the prestigious prize include John Adams, Oliver Knussen, Kaija Saariaho, John Luther Adams, Aaron Jay Kernis, Esa-Pekka Salonen, and Steve Reich.

Another major area of strength is the Bienen School’s internationally renowned Composition and Music Technology faculty, which includes associate professor and program coordinator Jay Alan Yim, associate professor and director of the Institute for New Music Hans Thomalla, assistant professor Alex Mincek, and lecturer Christopher Alan Mercer.

Learn more about the Bienen School’s Composition and Music Technology program.