Aspen Music Festival And School

Susan and Ford Schumann Center for Composition Studies Back To Programs of Study

Important Information
  • Note: Individuals who have participated previously in the Susan and Ford Schumann Center for Composition Studies may not reapply
  • Program offered full-session only
  • All students receive fellowships
  • Audio audition recordings and scores are required
Fees & Deadlines
Deadline: November 18, 2019
Applications will be accepted beginning September 4, 2019

Application Fee

$25 if you apply by Monday, September 16, 2019
$60 if you apply between Tuesday, September 17 and Monday, November 18, 2019
Teaching Faculty

Half Session I

Half Session II

Christopher Theofanidis, composer-in-residence
Stephen Hartke, composer-in-residence

The Aspen Music Festival and School offers an unparalleled opportunity for an exchange of ideas with some of the world’s foremost composers and performers of new music. The Susan and Ford Schumann Center for Composition Studies provides eight to ten students a variety of perspectives and teaching styles in an intensive full-session program. Students work intimately with AMFS composition faculty, composers-in-residence, and guest composers, as well as Aspen’s own Music Director Robert Spano and President and CEO Alan Fletcher, both active composers.

Master classes, lectures, and individual study will be given by some of today’s most highly regarded and frequently performed living composers. In recent years, guest and artist-faculty have included such international figures as Kati Agocs, Krists Auznieks, William Bolcom, Christopher Cerrone, Timothy Collins, John Corigliano, Marc-André Dalbavie, Brett Dean, Jacob Druckman, Sebastian Fagerlund, Gabriela Len Frank, Helen Grime, John Harbison, Anders Hillborg, Daniel Kellogg, Hannah Lash, Jonathan Leshnoff, Steven Mackey, James MacMillan, Darius Milhaud, Andrew Norman, Matthias Pintscher, Shulamit Ran, Bernard Rands, Augusta Read Thomas, Matthew Ricketts, Christopher Rouse, Poul Ruders, Kaija Saariaho, Judith Shatin, Robert Sirota, Leonard Slatkin, Steven Stucky, Joan Tower, and Yuko Uebayashi.

Students will be tasked with a commission for flute/piccolo/alto flute, clarinet/e-flat clarinet/bass clarinet, violin, viola, cello, piano, and percussion as well as a commission for orchestra. Exact instrument availability will be described upon offer of admission. Additional performance opportunities are scheduled on a public composition showcase mentored by AMFS artist-faculty and guests.

The program is rigorous and, thus, composers are expected to stay focused on their core curriculum and not engage in extracurricular activities, such as concerto competitions.

All students attend on fellowships. 

The AMFS will again award the Hermitage Prize to a composition student, honoring their summer accomplishments at our School, as well as faith in their future work. This program began in 2013 as a partnership with the Hermitage Artist Retreat, an invitation-only residency extended to mid-career artists from around the world. The recipient of the award is selected by a distinguished panel of AMFS composition faculty and administrators who are familiar with each of the students and their work, and receives a six-week residency at the Hermitage along with $1,000 stipend. For more information on the Hermitage and the Prize, please visit the website at

Following each season, the Jacob Druckman Prize, in memory of the great American composer, who taught at Aspen from 1976 to 1995, is conferred on one student composer, in the form of a commission for an orchestral work to be premiered during the subsequent Festival season.

How to Apply


  • Resume required
  • Two recent works with PDF scores along with their corresponding AUDIO recordings required


Robert Spano, Music Director

Alan Fletcher, President and CEO