The UCR Music Department has featured a strong area focus on composition for many years, with a reputation for pushing the boundaries. With three ladder-rank composers in our Department, all with substantively different styles and pedagogies, we offer a remarkably broad approach to writing music that is deeply informed by current critical debates. Our composers create music with different aesthetics, from postmodern to free improvisation, from concert music and opera to sound design and installation, and they have consistently attracted students who are willing to expand their horizons. One of the main focuses of our composition program is electro-acoustic and digital composition. We explore the domains of music and sound art that emerge in the realm of electronic media and digitalization, as well as the connection between music and other artistic and scientific fields such as visual arts, theater, dance, engineering, and computer science. However, our interdisciplinary approach to composition is not abstract but rather emphasizes the social and cultural contexts of the musical experience, reflecting on notions such as subjectivity, identity, diversity, and gender.
The objectives in the composition include giving students a thorough grounding in historical and contemporary compositional practice along with a strong emphasis on digital technologies for creation (sound design, computer composition, digital interactivity, new hybrid media), documentation (recording, digital editing, etc.), and production (sequencing, acoustic-digital hybrid works, interactive digital performance, and installation). The program encourages multiple modes of musical practice, including participation in ensembles, working both in both traditional composition and sound design, as well as pursuing scholarly inquiry in cultural, media, and technocultural studies.