The Catholic University of America

Visiting Composers at CUA 

Each year, the Benjamin T. Rome School of Music invites eminent composers to campus for composition master classes and lecture/performances. 

Since 2003, guest composers have included Louis Andriessen, Nicholas Maw, John Corigliano, Christopher Rouse, Martin Bresnick, Libby Larsen, William Bolcom, Mark Adamo, Joseph Schwantner, Mario Lavista, Kyle Gann, Roberto Sierra, Robert Dick, Christian Wolff, Michael Schelle, and many others. 

Chronology of visiting composers, by year

During the 2003-04 year, guest composers included: Nicholas Maw, Martin Bresnick (with pianist Lisa Moore), Libby Larsen, Denys Bouliane, and CUA Composition alumnus Mark Adamo.

The second season, in 2004-05, began with a wonderful master class and presentation by John Corigliano in October 2004. Additional visits were made by Christopher Rouse, who gave a stimulating and highly useful presentation on the practicalities of the professional compositional world, and by Christian Wolff, composer-classicist, who displayed his diverse talents by addressing not only the School of Music, but also the Department of Greek and Latin.

Highlights of the third season, 2005-06, featured a presentation/master class by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Joseph Schwantner as well as Roberto Sierra.

The 2006-07 series began with an Oct. 6 return visit of composer Nicholas Maw, whose opera Sophie's Choice received its US premiere in September-October (Washington National Opera).

In September 2007, CUA students participated in a master class with composer/conductor John Adams at the Music Center at Strathmore in Rockville, MD. Composers William Bolcom (Nov. 5) and flutist-composer Robert Dick (Nov. 2-4) visit the CUA campus for discussions and master classes in November.

Composer, critic, and author Kyle Gann gave a presentation and master class for MM Stage Music composers on Monday, Dec. 3. Gann's visit was co-sponsored by the CUA Department of Drama.

Visitors for 2008-09 included Mario Lavista, Ana Lara, and Michael Schelle. Composition students also had an opportunity to meet Steven Stucky during a January 2009 visit to Washington and the CUA campus. Local saxophone virtuoso Noah Getz gave an inspiring talk about writing for the saxophone.

During the fall of 2009 electroacoustic composers have been the focus of our series: In October, Baltimore-based composer Erik Spangler gave an exciting interactive demonstration of his electronic music performance interface (turntables, a theremin, and various pieces of software). Alexandra Gardner, our most recent guest, talked extensively on her compositional process of integrating acoustic instruments with electronic elements.

The spring of 2010 will see visits to the seminar series from Jason Lovelace, Armando Bayolo, and Geoffrey Gordon.

Louis Andriessen highlights visiting composers for the 2010-11 academic year.