The Music Composition and Technology program at UWM fosters development in instrumental, vocal, and electroacoustic composition, with an emphasis on contemporary and experimental techniques.

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Composition students performing ‘Filaments’ (Chris Burns, 2015), a piece electronically conducted by LED lights

Students refine their skills and evolve their musical voice through individual lessons with a faculty member. In lessons they work on projects ranging from instrumental, vocal, and chamber music to electroacoustic music, electronic instrument design, and multimedia production.

Studies in pencil-and-paper composition cover a variety of approaches to notation, rhythm, harmony, texture, and orchestration. At the same time, electronic music courses teach students to apply current music technology to their work. Digital audio, analog synthesis, surround sound and spatialization, creative applications of recording and editing, algorithmic composition, and computer programming for audio are covered in the undergraduate electronic course series.

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Students develop their acoustic writing technique while engaging with new technology

Students gain practical experience as a key component of their program. Each semester a variety of concerts provide opportunities to realize student compositions. Ensembles including TORCH (the Tablet Orchestra), MiLO (the Milwaukee Laptop Orchestra), and the Contemporary Music Ensemble develop skill in contemporary improvisation with both acoustic and electronic instruments.

Guest artists provide special opportunities for students to write for a professional ensemble and have their pieces performed. And there are frequent occasions for collaboration with Art & Design, Dance, Film, Arts+Tech, and Theater programs.

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The Contemporary Music Ensemble and Electroacoustic Salon concerts showcase new student pieces

Through the development of creative thought and musical technique, UWM’s Music Composition and Technology degree prepares students for professional careers in music and a variety of related fields. Recent graduates are working in music publishing, multimedia production, film, television, software development, and arts management. The program also prepares students to enter quality graduate study programs and academic careers in composition.