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Graduate Diploma Composition

Longy School of Music of Bard College
Program overview
2 years
Full time
Graduate diploma / certificate
Scholarships available
Start dates
Cambridge (Massachusetts, USA)
Fall 2021

Cambridge (Massachusetts, USA)
Spring 2021

Cambridge (Massachusetts, USA)
Fall 2021

Cambridge (Massachusetts, USA)
Spring 2021

Program description

Graduate Diploma Composition

This two-year program was created so you can focus intensively on training, performance, and professional opportunities. The GPD/GD program usually comes after the completion of a Master of Music degree. Compared to the Master of Music, it requires fewer academic courses and is focused on your skills and interests. If you want to dig in deeper before launching your career, this program is perfect for you.

Composition Major

Longy composers work in a vibrant, artistic environment where public performance of new compositions is central to the experience. Composition students benefit from experienced mentoring in a supportive new music community dedicated to high standards and academic inquiry. Opportunities to write music for orchestras, chamber ensembles, and electronic music abound and composition students work closely with both student and professional ensembles. Above all, close collaboration with instrumentalists, singers, and pianists serves as the driving force behind the creation of new music at Longy.

Admission requirements

  • Bachelor’s degree, post-secondary conservatory diploma, or demonstrated equivalent
  • Academic and performance record demonstrating the capacity to excel in full-time studies
  • Applicants in performance must present an audition

English Proficiency

All applicants for whom English is not a first or primary language must submit results from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), International English Language Testing System (IELTS), or Duolingo English Test.

Recommended minimum scores for admission to the Undergraduate Diploma (UD), Master of Music (MM), Graduate Performance Diploma (GPD), Graduate Diploma in Composition (GD), and Artist Diploma (AD):

  • TOEFL: 63
  • IELTS: 5.5
  • Duolingo: 90

For more information about admission requirements, please visit the institute website.


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Program content

Invent your Notation

Investigate all sorts of innovative notational practices, invent your own notation, experiment with making it better, compose a piece for a group, and perform the piece!

Introduction to Film Scoring

Survey the techniques and materials of past and contemporary composers for film, TV, and other visual media. Explore: the anatomy of a film score; composing on a deadline; harmony, style and tone; and technology/digital music production.

Composers of the African Diaspora

Listen and learn from the creative output of such composers as Chevalier de Saint-Georges, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Blind Tom, Florence Price, Akin Euba, Julis Eastman, and Pamela Z among many others. Students will present an “informance” highlighting a composer, with live and/or pre-recorded performances, newly composed compositions in the style of, and historical/background info.

Studio Lessons

Individual instruction with a faculty mentor is the cornerstone of conservatory education at Longy. Esteemed faculty members address the aesthetic and professional goals of each student composer while enlarging the scope of each student’s technique and artistic insight.

Master Classes and Seminars

Weekly seminars with Longy faculty and distinguished guests offer insight and professional guidance by combining analytical workshops, discussions, faculty and student presentations, group composition lessons, and consideration of career issues.

Collaborative Environment

Creative projects designed in partnership with Longy’s performance departments are an integral component of the program. Common projects include art song composition with the voice department, improvisation-based projects with the Jazz and Contemporary Music department, and solo/chamber pieces composed for our instrumental departments. Workshops and reading sessions foster the close collaboration between composer and performer.

Teaching Artist Program

Explore and strengthen the skills required to engage and communicate with audiences of all ages and backgrounds. Be challenged to think more deeply and broadly about music, its role in society, and how you as an artist can create social change.

Computer Music Studio

Composers have the opportunity to create and perform electroacoustic and computer music in the school’s studio. Related coursework includes instruction in composition using digital synthesis, hard-disk recording and editing, signal processing, MIDI, and real-time interactive techniques. The studio equipment is centered around an Apple Mac Pro computer, Logic Studio Pro, multiple MIDI controllers, and 5.1 surround sound capabilities. Composers also work heavily with computer music programming languages such as Max, SuperCollider, and Csound.

Portfolio project

At the heart of being an artist in society is self awareness and identity and determining what you have and wish to say to the world. While technology has made human interaction instant and quick, it also presents the potential for social and professional connections to be easily dismissed. The power of the individual, and his or her voice, remains irreplaceable and strong. Portfolio Project enables students to develop and sound their individual voice; they will create a resume, biography, website, and artist statement, along with other important supportive collateral (head shot, video and audio samples). In addition, they will be trained in public presentation, stage presence, and interview techniques.

Scholarships & funding

Several scholarship options are available. Please check the institute website for more information.

Program delivery

The following delivery options are available:

  • Online
  • Hybrid-Online
  • Hybrid-In-Person
  • In-Person

Tuition fees

The annual tuition fee for this program is $37,000

Contact school

Want to know more about this program, Graduate Diploma Composition? Fill out the following form and include any questions you have. This information will be sent directly to the school, and a representative will respond to your enquiry.

About this institute

Longy School of Music of Bard College

At Longy, we prepare students to become exceptional musicians who can engage new audiences; teach anyone, anywhere; and use artistry to change lives in communities around the world. Join us and become the musician the world needs you to be....


Read more about this school

Contact info

Longy School of Music of Bard College

27 Garden Street
02138 Cambridge Massachusetts
United States of America

 Show phone number
longy.edu

Contact school

Want to know more about Graduate Diploma Composition? Fill out the following form and we'll pass your details on to a representative from the school, who will respond to your enquiry.

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