The Department of Music has for decades enjoyed a reputation as one of a handful of departments in North America dedicated to contemporary musical creation at the highest level. Composition at the University at Buffalo flourishes today by providing a wide range of stimulating musical and intellectual experiences within a program that allows students the space to develop and mature. In an atmosphere that encourages musical and technological experiment, cross-disciplinary collaboration, and the development of authentic creative character, graduate composers at UB take advantage of a number of resources and opportunities:

  • A lively faculty of internationally-recognized composers offering distinct and complementary approaches to composition study
  • The June in Buffalo festival and conference, a leading international forum for the presentation and exchange of contemporary music and musical ideas
  • The Hiller Computer Music Studios, a cutting edge facility which focuses on the techniques and composition of pieces for musicians using interactive real-time digital signal processing systems
  • Diverse course offerings in music theory, musicology and twentieth-century music, as well as study in select areas of music performance
  • A series of guest lectures and seminars by visiting composers and scholars
  • A music library possessing an exceptionally fine collection of contemporary scores and recordings, including the Archive of the Center of the Creative and Performing Arts
  • The performance of student compositions, made possible through the Birge-Cary Chair in Music
    • The June in Buffalo festival, which each year features many of the finest individual and ensemble performers from the U.S. and abroad
    • The Hiller Studios' regular concerts of interactive computer and multimedia works by students and established composers, presented in the state-of-the-art Center for the Arts
    • A special series of recitals and concerts spotlighting a range of visiting contemporary music soloists and ensembles, often featuring works by UB graduate students
    • The Music Department's wide gamut of in-house performance resources, including student and faculty performers, student ensembles, and faculty ensembles-in-residence
  • A diverse, dynamic graduate student body, with composers, theorists, musicologists and performers from six continents boasting an extensive list of awards and accomplishments. The students and recent alumni of the Composition Department have had works performed by some of the most well-known contemporary music specialists in the USA and abroad, including Ensemble InterContemporain, the Ictus Ensemble, Ensemble Court-Circuit, Ensemble Recherche, Ensemble Thürmchen, Champs d'Action, Ensemble SurPlus, the Nieuw Ensemble, the New York New Music Ensemble, the Meridian Arts Ensemble, Nouvelle Ensemble Moderne, and soloists such as Corrado Canonici, Ian Pace, Garth Knox, Harry Sparnaay, Robert Black, and numerous others. Our department has been represented at such prestigious courses, residencies, and festivals as the International Gaudeamus Music Week, Darmstadt Internationale Ferienkurse für neue Musik, Nouvelle Ensemble Moderne FORUM, Akademie Schloss Solitude, Wittener Tage für Neue Kammermusik, Fondation Royaumont Voix Nouvelles, ISCM, SCI, and SEAMUS national conventions, and the International Biennial for Electroacoustic Music.


Degree Programs

The Department offers two graduate degrees in composition: the Ph.D. and a Master of Arts, as well as a combined degree. There are several options for fellowships, teaching assistantships and graduate awards available to the prospective graduate student.

M.A. in Composition
Ph.D. in Composition
Combined M.A./Ph.D.

Undergraduate students interested in Composition can pursue a Bachelor of Arts in Music, and adopt Composition as their advisement track. More info can be found here.



David Felder, Coordinator of Composition
Ph.D. University of California at San Diego
SUNY Distinguished Professor
Professor & Birge-Cary Chair in Composition
Director, Center for 21st-Century Music
Director, June in Buffalo Festival
Artistic Director, Slee Sinfonietta

Cort Lippe
Associate Professor
Director, Lejaren Hiller Computer Music Studios

Jeffrey Stadelman
Ph.D. Harvard University
Associate Professor

Jonathan Golove
Ph.D. University at Buffalo
Associate Professor of Performance ['Cello]


All visiting composers, performers, ensembles, and lecturers are sponsored by the Birge-Cary Chair in Music, the Dean's Office, the College of Arts and Sciences, and the Music Department General Fund and Music Lecture Series.