Skip to main content
Skip to main content

MUSIC THEORY & COMPOSITION

With equal emphasis on research, pedagogy and creativity, our music theory and composition faculty educate the next generation of scholars, teachers and composers. Students work closely with faculty and visiting guest artists to hone their skills.

The Programs

Theory

Our theory students engage in interdisciplinary coursework and make connections across campus, such as with musicology and ethnomusicology in the School of Music and with the School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies in our building. They also partner with philosophy, psychology, linguistics and other fields across campus.

Essential theory coursework includes offerings in Schenkerian Analysis, post-tonal music analysis, theory and philosophy of music analysis and music theory pedagogy. Recent innovative seminars have included “Critical Concepts in Music Theory” and “Musical Movement and Music Analysis.”

We offer graduate student teaching assistantships that provide opportunities to work with music majors and non-majors in lecture settings, aural skills labs and on music technology.

Composition

Our composition students participate in annual opportunities for composition readings by major artists. Recent years have brought readings by Ensemble dal Niente, Invoke, JACK String Quartet, St. Laurence String Quartet, Spektral String Quartet, Telegraph Quartet and yMusic. Our biennial in-house Walsum Composition Competition has featured a wide range of media including chamber choir, Pierrot ensemble, piano trio, string quartet, symphony orchestra and wind orchestra. Both the undergraduate and graduate levels of our orchestration course conclude with readings by our UMD Symphony Orchestra. 

Our location in the D.C. and Baltimore metro area provides our students with easy access to a wide range of musical events, including new music, world music and free or modestly-priced concerts at Millennium Stage at the Kennedy Center, the Library of Congress, the National Gallery of Art and the Phillips Collection, as well as networking with members of the District New Music Coalition, organized by two alumni of our composition program. This is in addition to the plethora of concerts available here at The Clarice including our School of Music performances and visiting artists brought in through the Artist Partner Programs.  

Our graduate students have access to a range of academic offerings, including in music theory, musicology and ethnomusicology. We also offer teaching assistantships that provide opportunities to work to work with music majors and non-music majors in lecture settings, aural skills labs and on music technology.

Our Faculty

Thomas DeLio

Professor, Music Theory & Composition

1110C The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center
College Park MD, 20742

(301) 405-5534

William Evans

Lecturer & Director of the Music Technology Lab, Music Theory & Composition

3145 The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center
College Park MD, 20742

(301) 405-6039

David Froom

Lecturer, Music Theory & Composition

2110 The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center
College Park MD, 20742

(301) 405-5549

Robert Gibson

Professor, Music Theory & Composition

1110B The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center
College Park MD, 20742

(301) 405-5531

Dora Hanninen

Professor & Division Coordinator, Music Theory & Composition

1110F The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center
College Park MD, 20742

(301) 405-5467

Richard Layton

Lecturer, Music Theory & Composition

1110H The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center
College Park MD, 20742

(301) 405-7307

Mark Wilson

Associate Professor, Music Theory & Composition

1110E The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center
College Park MD, 20742

(301) 405-5518

Daniel Zimmerman

Lecturer, Music Theory & Composition

1110H The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center
College Park MD, 20742

(301) 405-5533

Curriculum

B.M. (Theory)

Course Duration Credits
Lessons 5 semesters 10
Large Ensembles 5 semesters 5
Class Piano 2 semesters 4
Music Theory 13 courses 41
Music History 5 courses 15 
Conducting 1 course 2
Music Electives 1
General Education 43

B.M. (Composition)

Course Duration Credits
Composition Lessons 8 semesters 18
Applied Lessons 4 semesters 8
Large Ensembles 8 semesters 8
Class Piano 2 semesters 4
Music Theory 9 courses 29
Music History 4 courses 12
Conducting 1 semester 2
General Education 40

M.A. (Theory)

Course Duration Credits
Seminars 4 courses 12
Theory Electives 1 course 3
Introduction to Musicology 1 course 3
Music History Electives 1 course 3
Electives 1 course 3
Thesis Research 2 semesters 6

M.M. (Composition)

Course Duration Credits
Lessons & Project 4 semesters 10
Orchestration & Conducting 1 course 3
Tonal Analysis 1 course 3
Contemporary Analysis 1 course 3
Theory Electives 2 courses 6
Research Methods 1 course 3
Electives 1 course 3

D.M.A. (Composition)

Course Duration Credits
Lessons 4 semesters 8
Orchestration & Conducting 1 course 3
Contemporary Analysis 1 course 3
Theory Electives 2 courses 6
Electives 1 course 3
Research Methods 1 course 3
Pedagogy 1 course 3
Dissertation Research 2 semesters 12

Ph.D. (Theory)

Course Duration Credits
Seminars 5 courses 15
Theory Elective 1 course 3
Introduction to Musicology 1 course 3
Music History Elective 1 course 3
Elective 4
Dissertation Research 2 semesters 12