About the Composition Department
Peabody provides expert guidance and rigorous professional training to young composers in a congenial and supportive atmosphere. We feel that musicians can benefit best from an environment in which they are encouraged to discover and nurture their own expressive voices; one which is unique and personal, unencumbered by pressures toward one style or another.
We also believe that it is essential for students to have the opportunity to hear their music performed, and, as a department, we furnish a great deal of performance opportunities to our students. These include up to six departmental recitals annually, multiple readings with Peabody's top symphony orchestra throughout the year, and annual reading sessions with the wind ensemble and choir. Each year there are special performances in collaboration with Peabody's acclaimed individual instrumental departments. Additionally, the award-winning chamber music program selects a number of composition students to write works which are rehearsed by established Peabody chamber groups throughout the year. Many of the groups go on to professional careers.
Another remarkable opportunity which happens every two years, is the selection of a number of students to write complete opera scenes. These scenes are then rehearsed, staged and performed under the guidance of Peabody’s internationally recognized opera directors.
All recitals and readings are professionally recorded by the Peabody Recording Studios.
Additional opportunities for Peabody composition majors include an extraordinary ongoing reading session program with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra under Music Director Marin Alsop. For each of the past three years the Baltimore Symphony has read student works conducted by Maestra Alsop. On a regular basis we have also had readings and performances of student works by leading new music soloists and ensembles.
Composition majors pursue their studies in private weekly lessons with their individual teachers, supplemented by departmental seminars which include presentations by distinguished visiting composers, scholars, new music ensembles, and soloists.
Peabody has in place a Distinguished Composer-in-Residence program, in which a leading composer comes to the institute to give regular masterclasses throughout the year. The current holder of this position is Christopher Rouse.
The city of Baltimore boasts an ever-growing and diverse new music scene, and we encourage interaction between Peabody students and the cultural community at large. In addition to the hundreds of concerts at Peabody which composition majors have complete access to, the broader community offers a huge array of performances, exhibitions and shows. Not far from Peabody are the cities of Washington DC and Philadelphia, both of which have thriving cultural scenes of their own. The Peabody owns an extensive library of music both new and old, and students are encouraged to take advantage of this with regularity.