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DMA in Composition

Photo by Steve DiBartolomeo

The Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA) degree program in music composition allows for the development of broad and diverse compositional practices. The DMA program seeks to develop accomplished, active, and articulate composers who have a broad awareness of the diverse practices, cultural influences, media, venues, and technical means available to them in the 21st century. Students participate in a range of composition-focused seminars, including seminars in cross-cultural approaches to composition and performance—with emphases on indigenous, Asian, and African-diasporic musics—and computer-assisted composition—which focus on algorithmic approaches, constraint-based generation of musical materials and structures, digital synthesis, intermedia work, and real-time sound processing.

The UCSC composition program is perhaps best known for our innovative faculty and for our provocative annual festivals and conferences. Our annual April in Santa Cruz Festival of New Music and our internationally acclaimed Pacific Rim Festival of New Music bring to campus a wide variety of distinctive musical voices and provide highly visible venues for the performance of graduate student compositions. Other recent notable events include Festivals of Global African Music, a Festival of Music for Gayageum and Western Instruments, our long-standing Workshop in Algorithmic Computer Music (WACM) and a Symposium on New Directions in Opera that featured the premiere performance of an opera by Lou Harrison.

Program Learning Outcomes for the DMA program:

DMA graduates will demonstrate:

1) mastery of the creation and performance of compositions
2) mastery of techniques of musical composition
3) mastery of critical and analytic thinking about musical language
4) mastery of critical thinking about music’s cultural context
5) mastery of oral and written communication skills about music
6) independent research skills


Course requirements - DMA