Susan and Ford Schumann Center for Composition Studies Back To Programs of Study
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the full 2020 session of the Aspen Music Festival and School is canceled. 2021 application information will be posted to our website by mid-August.
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 chamber music commission. Instrumentation is as follows: The full Aspen Contemporary Ensemble (8), conducted, or a subset there of, with a minimum of 5 members: Flute (doubling Piccolo and Alto Flute), Clarinet (doubling E-flat Clarinet and Bass Clarinet), Percussion, Piano, Violin (2), Viola, and Cello. Works will be performed at Harris Hall and professionally recorded.
Students are strongly encouraged to submit an orchestral piece up to seven minutes in length for reading by the Aspen Conducting Academy Orchestra. Available instrumentation is as follows: 3-3-3-3 4-3-3-1 Timp 3perc Harp Piano/Celesta Strings (6/5/4/3/2 stands). The standard wind doublings are available: 1 Piccolo, 1 Alto Flute, 1 English Horn, 1 Eb Clarinet, 1 Bass Clarinet, 1 Contrabassoon. Doublings should be limited to one doubling per player. New works are encouraged and must be purely for orchestra, not concertos or works with soloists. Works will be read at Harris Hall and professionally recorded.
All Fellows have the option to compose while at the festival EITHER a song/short cycle of songs, no longer than 10 minutes in length, for voice and piano OR a choral work, no longer than 8 minutes, to be read in an open workshop by the singers of the Seraphic Fire Professional Choral Institute, with up to 5 instrumentalists from the Aspen Contemporary Ensemble complement.
Click here for percussion availability for orchestra and chamber commissions as well as the specific configuration to which fellows must tailor their chamber compositions.
Note that fellows will complete a survey upon enrollment that will require them to request their instrumentation for the chamber music commission and to express whether they intend to submit an orchestral work. Chamber instrumentations will be reviewed and approved/denied within one week of request. An electronic PDF score of the chamber music commission will be due by June 1 as well as simply the instrumentation and percussion requirements for the orchestral work. Printed scores of the chamber commission are due in Aspen by June 24. Printed scores (4) of the orchestra work are due in Aspen by June 28. Full details and restrictions for compositions will be provided at the time of enrollment.
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 receives a six-week residency at the Hermitage along with a $1,000 stipend. For more information on the Hermitage and the Prize, please visit the website at www.HermitageArtistRetreat.org.
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.
Award recipients are selected by a panel of AMFS composition faculty and administrators who are familiar with each of the students and their work.
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.
How to Apply
APPLICATIONS FOR THE 2020 SEASON WILL BE ACCEPTED BEGINNING SEPTEMBER 4
- Resume required
- Two recent works with PDF scores along with their corresponding AUDIO recordings required