Composition

The Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music offers one of Australia’s most innovative and comprehensive music composition programs, embracing many of today’s approaches to music-making: studio-based composition, chamber composition, community composition, jazz composition, composition for film and television, experimental composition and sound art. Our composition students are part of a lively, creative community that investigates music through traditional approaches and new technologies.

Opportunities for our composers include performance residencies with leading local and international performers as well as the Monash New Music Ensemble under the direction of Tristram Williams. Our composition students develop their original work under the guidance of active and well-established composers. Visiting practitioners of new music present their approaches and methods in weekly composition seminars.

Music composition is a specialisation in our Bachelor of Music and related double degrees. At the graduate level the School offers a Research Masters and a Doctor of Philosophy in music composition. The School conceives of music composition as an art form embracing any musical style, and as a form of research characterised by exploration and reflective practice.

Our Creative Community

A vibrant and creative composing community has evolved in the School that includes composers working in many areas of music. This highlights our approach that allows for expression and exploration in a wide range of musical styles and genres. Staff and students in the composition program are involved in many projects, and present their work in the wider community. Types of works created and performed in the School include:

  1. notated compositions for solo instruments, chamber groups and large ensembles
  2. electronic works for spatialised sound
  3. computer-generated compositions (including the creation of software with Max/MSP and Pd)
  4. music for film, dance and drama productions
  5. improvisation-based works
  6. sound installations
  7. works that combine the above

Activities of composition students include the collaboration with performance ensembles and individual performers within the School. The School aims at the integration of composition, music studies and performance, and encourages a high level of creative interaction among students and staff.

Find out about our Bachelor of Music, and about studying a music major