The Catholic University of America

Innovate: CUA Opens New Paths to Composers

There are as many ways to make music as there are composers.  There are also innumerable ways to build a career in composition

No single path will serve for every composer, and the outcome of your educational journey cannot be predicted.  What we can do, however, is to ensure that you have the best possible training, and develop a sense of openness, of being aware of the changing face of music, and to discover how you can contribute to and participate in that world. 

We encourage our students to consider diverse musical paths by recognizing their own strengths, thinking about how to combine those strengths in productive ways and employing them in new contexts. 

One way of encouraging innovation is through special group composition projects which employ music in novel ways. 

For example, in fall 2008, composers partnered with architects in the students at CUA's School of Architecture and Planning in a two-way creative project. Composers assisted their architect colleagues in designing elements of a house based on specific works of music; in return, composers created one-minute pieces based on specific structures (with background and information provided by the architects).  At the end of the semester, these short pieces were read and recorded by the Great Noise Ensemble, accompanied by projected images of the given structures. 

Silent Explosions, Invisible Jumps: Music, Dance, and Film Create a Ruckus, spring 2009, CUA composers joined with dancers and choreographers to create new music and dance inspired by silent films of French film pioneer Georges Melies. 

Our students also take advantage of our electronic music studio for individual and collaborative projects which involve digital media. We have had students explore film scoring, concert music with live processing, and collaborative interactive works with dancers. 

What next? 




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Music by CUA Composers

Listen Echoes of Amber, for soprano saxophone and electronics 
(Stephen Gorbos, Assistant Professor) Noah Getz, saxophone

Listen Sound of Trees 
(Roc Lee, MM Stage Music Emphasis student) Roc Lee, speaker