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Composition

Degrees and Programs

Write the music you dreamed of.

a student sits at a desk writing notes on a score

The composition department both honors tradition and encourages innovation. Our four versatile faculty members closely mentor students while maintaining high-profile composing careers. We strongly emphasize interdepartmental collaboration, matching composers with performers, as well as offer frequent concerts and readings of student works.  You'll be able to take advantage of the extraordinarily rich musical life of ߲ݴý Francisco, home to some of the most groundbreaking musical activity of the past half-century.

Opportunities for composers include: the Pankonin Art Song Commission of $3,000; Highsmith Orchestra Competition which includes a performance by the SFCM Orchestra of the winning work, and an hour recording session for the runner up; Biennial Choral and Art Song Composition Competitions with $1,000 in prizes; annual concert of student string quartet movements with SFCM’s quartet in residence, the Namburg-winning Telegraph String Quartet; four hours of orchestra readings annually.  

Faculty

Accomplished composers, dedicated mentors

David Conte headshot

David Conte

Composition Chair

Composition Technology and Applied Composition Music History and Literature Pre-College
Learn more about David Conte

Mason Bates Teaches “Themify the Theme”

SFCM Professor of Composition Mason Bates teaches students his 'themify' the theme technique. Filmed at the ߲ݴý Francisco Conservatory of Music's "Studio G" at the Bowes Center.

SFCM Opera performance

Industry Alliances to Support Students and Artists

In recent years, SFCM acquired two leading artist management companies and an iconic record label to reimagine how elements of the music industry can better integrate to advance the human experience through music. For students, that means more opportunities to interact with touring artists and industry experts–including professional development workshops, side-by-side performances, and enhanced masterclasses.

SFCM student in 50 Oak

Visiting the Campus

We look forward to your visit! Contact the Office of Admissions to take a tour of our facilities. You can also contact the composition faculty directly to arrange a consultative lesson.

SFCM Students working in a classroom

Audit a Class

We've saved a seat for you. During your visit to SFCM, sit in on a class or two and see what it's like to be a student at the Conservatory.

Financial Aid and Affordability

At SFCM, we understand that college is a substantial investment. We're here to help, and we're committed to working with you to achieve the education you desire. 99% of our students receive financial aid at an average rate of 57% tuition discount.

Life on Campus

Learn about safe and secure, all-suite on-campus housing, where 24/7 practice rooms are just the beginning.

Performances

We put on more than 500 performances a year, including student recitals, masterclasses, and side-by-sides with exciting guest artists—most of them free to the public. Check out one today.

Newsroom

Get the inside scoop on everything going on at SFCM with stories of SFCM's students, alumni, faculty and leadership.

Alliances

SFCM leads an alliance across the music industry consisting of artist management companies Opus 3 Artists and Askonas Holt and recording label Pentatone. Together, their work creates opportunities for students, artists, presenters, and audiences to develop and experience new ideas.