Aspen Music Festival And School

Susan and Ford Schumann Center for Composition StudiesBack To Programs of Study

Important Information
  • Note: Individuals who have previously participated in the Susan and Ford Schumann Center for Composition Studies after 2012 may not reapply.
  • Program offered full-session only
  • All students receive fellowships
  • Audio audition recordings and scores are required
Fees & Deadlines
Deadline: November 15, 2016
Applications will be accepted beginning September 15, 2016

Application Fee

$25 if you apply by October 1, 2016
$60 if you apply between October 2 and November 15, 2016
2017 Teaching Faculty

Half Session I

Half Session II

Stephen Hartke, composer-in-residence
Christopher Theofanidis, 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 faculty have included such international figures as Stephen Hartke, Christopher Theofanidis, William Bolcom, Kaija Saariaho, John Corigliano, Leonard Slatkin, John Harbison, Matthias Pintscher, Anders Hillborg, Marc-André Dalbavie, James MacMillan, Joan Tower, Steven Mackey, Shulamit Ran, Poul Ruders, Augusta Read Thomas, and Brett Dean. Past artist-faculty and composers-in-residence include the late Steven Stucky, Christopher Rouse, Jacob Druckman, Bernard Rands, and dating back to the historic and important longtime residency of Darius Milhaud.

Student works will be performed by students of the AMFS in a variety of mixed ensemble configurations including the Aspen Contemporary Ensemble and the Aspen Conducting Academy Orchestra. Additional performance opportunities are scheduled on a public composition showcase mentored by AMFS artist-faculty and guests.

All students attend on fellowships. One student will be awarded the ASCAP fellowship generously supported by the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers.

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 $1000 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 scores required, along with two AUDIO recordings of the same scores


Robert Spano, Music Director

Alan Fletcher, President and CEO