The Catholic University of America

Perform: CUA Composers Bring New Pieces to Life

Composers benefit from hearing their own works performed as much as possible: this is one of our most important beliefs. At CUA, we work to provide numerous opportunities for your work to be read, rehearsed, and performed. 

Each semester, the composition division presents a division recital, for which all composers (majors and minors) are encouraged to submit pieces. Division recital programs will typically include new chamber works for instruments or voices such as string quartets, piano trios, mixed instrumental pieces, song cycles for voice and piano, and electronic music. 

All of our division recitals are recorded and made available to student composers so that they can hear their work after performance and employ those recordings in other contexts (such as applying for competitions or grants).

The CUA Symphony Orchestra typically dedicates an entire rehearsal each semester to reading and recording student orchestral works.  Both the wind ensemble and CUA chorus & chamber singers have read and performed student works. 

Another opportunity of which we are quite proud is the annual Christmas concert commission.  Each year, a CUA composition student (typically a graduate student) is commissioned to compose a fanfare for chorus and orchestra to open the School of Music's annual Christmas Concert, held in the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception (every fourth year, a faculty member receives the commission). This concert, televised internationally by the EWTN network, represents an important milestone for the commissioned composers, providing them with a global audience and often representing their first orchestral performance. 

Sometimes, students are also asked to create new arrangements or orchestrations for the Christmas concert.  Other ensembles, such as the CUA Women's Chorus, have commissioned and performed works by student composers, as well.  Cooperating courses and groups such as the Musical Theater Workshop and Opera Workshop have also rehearsed and performed student works. 

Each Labor Day weekend, students in the MM Composition, Stage Music Emphasis program have new theatrical pieces or pieces-in-progress presented at the Kennedy Center's Page to Stage Festival

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Music by CUA Composers


Listen I Woke Today (Andrew Morrissey, MM Stage Music student) Brady Lynch, soprano, Andrew Morrissey, piano
(Musical theater)

Listen Lucky Stars (Andrew Earle Simpson, Ordinary Professor)
The Snark Ensemble
(Silent film music)


Trailer for MM student Roc Lee's thesis opera "The Crossroad," presented at CUA in September 2010. 
Pictured: Charles Hyland, left (James),
Ben Lurye, right (Jesus)