The Department of Music Theory, History and Composition is committed to providing the finest instruction in music theory, history, composition and musicianship to all students in the School of Music. We support a wide variety of degrees, including a Bachelor of Music with concentrations in Theory and Composition or in History, Bachelor of Music with Elective Studies in an Outside Field, Music History Minor, Music Minor, and a Master of Music in History and Literature, or Theory and Composition.
Our students study with an approachable and experienced faculty of nationally-recognized professional composers, theorists, historians, performers, and music educators. They encourage students to find their own voice in their compositions and research interests. Student composers write in a wide variety of styles and are given a great amount of personal attention in one-on-one lessons. Senior projects in music history are guided through individual advising by scholars who are experts in their respective fields.
Elective course offerings allow students to customize a program that fits their needs and interests. Topics in music theory have ranged from The Psychology of Music to Interactive Computer Music. The weekly seminar in Composition features performances of students' works and presentations by guest composers. Past guest speakers have included Jennifer Higdon, Daniel Asia, Robert Carl, Barbara White, Jay Reise, Anna Weesner, Thomas Whitman, Daniel Dorff, James Freeman, Tina Davidson, David Conte, Haskell Small, Curt Caccioppo, and Jennifer Barker.
Having your compositions performed provides valuable insight into your work. We hold reading/recording sessions of student compositions by professional ensembles every year, featuring such ensembles as The Colorado String Quartet, Network for New Music, Orchestra 2001, and Strata. Readings are also available through the local chapter of the American Composers Forum, including sessions with The Choral Arts Society of Philadelphia, Relache, Orchestra 2001, and Network for New Music. The department coordinates concerts of new music each semester, featuring new compositions by student and faculty composers, performed by the New Music Ensemble (a collection of student and faculty performers). In addition, students have the opportunity to work with the University Theatre program. The Wilkinson Lecture Series provides frequent exposure to research by leading scholars of music history and theory from other major research universities.
The low tuition and housing costs are a bargain, in some cases a tenth the cost of other music programs. West Chester's proximity to Philadelphia allows students to take in the rich and diverse culture of this world-class city. We enjoy superior facilities, including a multitude of air-conditioned practice rooms, resonant large spaces for recording sessions and concerts - Madeleine Wing Adler Theatre, Gates Recital Hall, and the Philips Library-and an excellent music library.
Graduates from our program have gone on to graduate study in composition, music history and music theory at Cincinnati College-Conservatory, Eastman Conservatory of Music, Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University (Bloomington), Hartt School of Music, Peabody Conservatory of Music, University of Illinois/Champaign-Urbana, University of Oregon, University of Texas/Austin, University of Pennsylvania, Temple University, University of Southern California, California State University Northridge, SUNY/Pottsdam, The Curtis Institute of Music and to successful careers as freelance composers and arrangers.
Dr. Robert Maggio, Chair
Department of Music Theory, History, and Composition