Area of Study: Composition

Composition at YSM

With an internationally acclaimed faculty and diverse performance opportunities across the Yale campus, the composition program at the School of Music attracts students from around the world. 

Composition students’ pieces are showcased frequently by fellow YSM students in recitals, in chamber groups on the New Music New Haven series, in orchestral performances by the Yale Philharmonia, in interdisciplinary settings at Yale's Center for Collaborative Arts and Media, and beyond. Distinguished guest composers visit the School regularly to meet with students in the composition seminar. 

In recent years, School of Music alumni have won Pulitzer Prizes and Grammy and Grawemeyer awards, and have served as composers-in-residence with a variety of orchestras, festivals, and other organizations. 

Faculty Spotlight

Chris Theofanidis
Professor in the Practice of Composition

Christopher Theofanidis

Faculty composer Christopher Theofanidis’s works have been programmed by celebrated orchestras, operas, and ballet companies.

Degrees + Programs

Master of Music

The two-year master of music (M.M.) degree program is open to students who hold a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent in any major.

Master of Musical Arts

The performance-oriented master of musical arts (M.M.A.) program is designed for students who want to further their education beyond an M.M. degree.

Doctor of Musical Arts

The intensive doctor of musical arts (D.M.A) program is comprised of a two-year residency followed by a three-year period in which candidates launch their professional careers.

Composition seminars

2023-2024 Seminars

Seminars that are open to the public are indicated with an asterisk. All open seminars are at 2:30 pm in room 106, Stoeckel Hall.

Please direct any questions to Martin Bresnick, Charles T. Wilson Professor in the Practice of Composition.

9/14 YSM new students

9/21 YSM new and returning students

9/28 YSM returning students

* 10/5 YSM Katie Balch

10/12 YSM post-concert

* 10/19 YSM Armando Bayolo (not open to public)

* 10/26 Katie Balch & David Lang

* 11/2 Natacha Diels 

11/9 YSM post concert

* 11/16 Viet Cuong

* 11/30 Fernando Buide

12/7 YSM (orchestra seminar) (NMNH 3)

12/14 YSM post concert

1/18 YSM post concert

* 1/25 Chris Theofanidis & Aaron J. Kernis

2/1 Open

* 2/8 Kathryn Alexander, Konrad Kaczmarek 

2/15 YSM post concert

2/22 YSM Auditions, no seminar

* 2/29 Erin Gee

* 3/7 David Sanford 

3/28 YSM post-concert

4/4 Open

* 4/11 David Lang & Martin Bresnick

4/18 Open (NMNH 6) - YSM alumni return, Pre-concert at Mory’s*2

4/25 YSM post concert

5/2 YSM final seminar

Composition Faculty
Katherine Balch

Katherine Balch

Assistant Professor, Adjunct, Composition , Yale School of Music
Martin Bresnick

Martin Bresnick

Charles T. Wilson Professor in the Practice of Composition, Yale School of Music
Director, New Music Workshop, Norfolk Chamber Music Festival
Aaron Jay Kernis

Aaron Jay Kernis

Professor Adjunct of Composition, Yale School of Music
Artistic Director, New Music New Haven, Yale School of Music
David Lang

David Lang

Professor Adjunct of Composition, Yale School of Music
Christopher Theofanidis

Christopher Theofanidis

Professor in the Practice of Composition, Yale School of Music
Coordinator of Composition Studies, Yale School of Music
Perform at Yale
At the Yale School of Music, there are numerous opportunities to perform in the School’s historic concert halls and throughout New Haven.
… [the Yale composition department] is constantly engaged with the world ...
Krists Auznieks, composition, ’16MM ’23DMA