The composition program at UCSB is recognized internationally for its innovation, fine instruction, and performance resources in contemporary art music. It maintains high standards for the composition and performance of new music and offers to students excellent opportunities for pursuing research. The diverse backgrounds of the composers in the Department contribute to a lively atmosphere. The result is a cosmopolitan perspective on the current international scene.
Music production, research, and teaching activities within the Center for Research in Electronic Art Technologies (CREATE
) have earned UCSB an international reputation as a leader in multimedia and electronic music. Today, CREATE
has three designed studios for sound generation, processing, and recording, including an octophonic recording and playback facility.
The Ensemble for Contemporary Music
is a student and faculty ensemble dedicated to the performance of new music. It introduces participants to innovative composition and performance. Its repertoire includes works by well-known composers as well as representatives of a host of contemporary trends. Student compositions are played regularly.
In order to provide a fertile ground for creativity and learning, the Department sponsors new music concerts featuring works by students, faculty, and guests from around the world of music. A regular Composition Forum
encourages students to exchange ideas with other students, performers, and guest composers.
(note: students are admitted to the composition program at the end of the sophomore year, after their portfolio is reviewed by faculty)
On January 17, 2007 a series was brought to life called the "Composition Forum". Replacing the previous "Composers Forum", it takes place every other week in the Winter and Spring quarters on a Wednesday from 6:30-8:00 p.m. Coordinated by an appointed group of graduate composition students, the Composition Forum involves (almost) exclusively the music of UCSB composition students. Works are presented from tape or if possible in live performance. After a maximum of one hour of music, all told, a half-hour of discussion follows.
Corwin Concert and Lecture Series
At irregular intervals, at about 12-15 events a year, external guests – composers, performers (individuals and ensembles), visual artists and music software developers – are invited by the Corwin Chair to speak to and play for the students. Some of them also do readings and/or performances of composition students' works. These events frequently take place in collaboration with CREATE, the Media Arts and Technology Program, and the Primavera Festival.
The annual Dorothy and Sherrill C. Corwin Awards are for Excellence in Music Composition. They are open to all UCSB undergraduate and graduate student music majors in the Music Department, the College of Creative Studies, and the Media Arts and Technology Program. Five categories are listed: Work for Large Ensemble, Solo or Chamber Ensemble Work, Electronic/Electronic-Acoustic Work, Vocal Work, and Percussion Work. Every year, three external judges are nominated by the Corwin Chair to evaluate student scores and recordings digitally sent to them, and to name winners in three prize categories linked to monetary rewards.