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UNCG Composition Studio, 2018-2019

General outline of teaching responsibilities:


My primary responsibility is for teaching and maintaining a successful music composition program from the baccalaureate through the masters levels. In collaboration with my colleague Mark Engebretson, my task is to work closely with all the students in the composition program—typically between 16 and 22 majors—for the duration of their studies. Entrance to our program requires an audition, a portfolio submission and an interview. Admission to the program is very competitive: this year we received 36 applications for 6 spaces.


My main activity consists of weekly lessons with individual students, overseeing and facilitating performances of student compositions, overseeing recital preparation, and preparing students for competitions, festivals, funding applications, and recording projects. In addition to these responsibilities in studio composition studies, I teach a rotation of the following courses:


  • Introduction to Composition (MUP 115)

  • Orchestration (MUP 455/655)

  • Present~Continuous, New Music Ensemble (ENS 465-665)

  • Composition Seminar (MUP 307/604)


As a member of the composition faculty, I also participate in evaluating: 1) all the music of composition  students at the end of every semester, 2) pre-recital hearings, 3) recitals at the undergraduate and graduate levels, 4) masters theses, and 4) new student auditions. Part of my duties extend to providing and supporting professional opportunities to the composers in the studio.


The list of student achievements is very long. Graduates from our composition program have been successful in securing academic positions and in gaining admission for further studies at institutions such as Juilliard, Princeton, Curtis Institute, Peabody Conservatory at Johns Hopkins, University of Texas at Austin, Royal College of Music, University of Florida, Cincinnati Conservatory and other institutions. Follow and go to "Student Outcomes" to see information about recent graduates of our program.


We emphasize the creation of strong composition portfolios. A composer’s portfolio normally consists scores of their original music conforming to professional standards, and high-quality recordings of those pieces, so that these pieces can be competitive in grant applications, competitions, festivals or ensemble calls for new works. The way in which we support our students in the creation of competitive portfolios is by 1) extensive mentoring, 2) bringing artists to do reading sessions* and recordings of student work, and 3) facilitating and instructing our students in recording and sound editing techniques.


Much work goes into having student work performed and recorded by world-class guest artists. Such activities serve two ends: our students receive feedback from the very same players they would aspire to work with as professionals, and also develop a set of recordings that they can submit to various competitions and career-advancing opportunities. A sample of the guest artist list from 2017 and 2018 years include: Lisa Bielawa (voice), Domino Ensemble (quartet), Duo Montagnard (guitar and saxophone), Emilio Peroni (piano), Beo String Quartet, Sirocco Quintet, Michael Hall (viola), Red Clay Saxophone Quartet and David Hurd (Organ).


In addition, in order to provide our students with opportunities to write for large ensemble, I have co-organized reading sessions with a number of ensembles, including the UNCG Wind Ensemble, UNCG Camerata, UNCG Sinfonia, University Choir, UNCG Symphony, and I have included dozens of our students in arranging projects with the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra, the Greensboro Symphony, Chatter Ensemble, and the Batuta Symphony in Bogotá (Colombia). Details about the "Hey, Mozart!" project currently being done in partnership with the Greensboro Symphony Orchestra will appear under "Outreach Projects" in the online dossier. Those activities include a significant teaching component, as I serve as editor and mentor for all the symphonic arrangements our composition students provide for the symphony.


My work with Present~Continuous New Music Ensemble also serves as another avenue for giving opportunities to our composers. This ensemble—usually including graduate students in performance—performs works both by established composers and by one or two UNCG students every year.


Together with my colleague Mark Engebretson, I have worked very intensely to prepare our composition students for the profession, both within the established courses, and with supplemented activities and opportunities. My contribution to students outside the composition program is usually limited to performers participating in “Present~Continuous,” and music majors joining our composers in MUP 115 (Composition Skills) and MUP 455/655 (Orchestration)


*In ”Reading Sessions” visiting ensembles or soloists give “semi-prepared” performances of student compositions and offer feedback after they perform. Because we record the sessions, the students not only participate in a valuable learning experience, but also receive an artistically superior recording of their work to submit with applications for grants and competitions.


List of courses taught:


Composition Lessons (MUP X51-52). Each semester from 2007- present.

     Individual applied lessons at the 200, 300, 400, 500 and 600 level. These are weekly, one-on-one meetings where composition majors receive detailed, individual feedback and instruction on their compositions. Lessons are the bedrock of our composition majors’ professional preparation. Instruction includes analysis, compositional technique, aesthetics, career advice, creativity, and overall mentoring.


Orchestration. Fall 2008, 2011-2013, 2015-2019

Upper-level undergraduate and graduate course. Advanced techniques in instrumental scoring for large ensembles such as orchestra, wind ensemble, and jazz ensemble; historical and stylistic analysis of the art of orchestration. The course typically has regular analysis assignments and three major orchestration assignments, resulting in reading sessions by UNCG Symphonic Band, a chamber orchestra, and UNCG Sinfonia.


Present~Continuous New Music Ensemble. Fall 2011, 2012, Spring 2012-2014, 2016-2019

    Provides advanced performers the opportunity to play significant works of the new music repertoire and music of visiting composers and members of the UNCG community. 


    Present~Continuous performs at New Music Greensboro events and other venues including tours to universities in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee. The group's repertoire has included works by George Crumb, Olivier Messiaen, Steve Reich, David Lang, Robert Paterson, Zhou Long, Julia Wolfe, Anna Clyne, Louis Andriessen,  Jennifer Higdon, Missy Mazzoli, Lisa Bielawa, among others.


Composition Seminar  Fall-Spring 2007- 2013, 2015-2019

      A workshop class where pedagogy of musical composition is discussed and recent works by student and professional composers are presented, performed, coached, and/or discussed.


Composition Skills. Fall 2007- 2009, 2011-2012. Spring 2013-2014, 2016-2019

Mandatory for incoming composition majors and open to all music students. Students compose pieces and perform their compositions.  Student works may imitate historical styles or be freely created. Ability to read music and play an instrument or sing is required.


Courses I have taught at UNCG, but not planned in my current rotation:


Electronic Music. Fall 2009

      Introductory course with dual graduate/undergraduate registrations in electronic music studies.


Electroacoustic Music. Spring 2010

      Advanced course with dual graduate/undergraduate registrations in electronic music studies.


Instrumentation. Spring 2009

    Undergraduate course. Introduction to orchestration and arranging


The Grogan College Experience. Fall 2013

Introduction to University life and the Music Profession for Freshman Music Majors living in the Grogan Learning Community. Co-taught with Dr. Engebretson. We each had responsibility for one section; some classes were joint sessions where professional musicians visited to discuss their lives in music. We produced a joint concert at the end of the semester.


Making Music With Computers

General Education course for non-music majors. Served as instructor of record; course taught by teaching assistants and adjunct instructors.

Courses Taught at Other Institutions


Hartwick College


Composition. 2002-2006

Applied private lessons


Opera Production. Spring 2005, Fall 2006

Banchieri: La barca di Veneto a Padova,

Purcell: The Fairy Queen


Instrumental Conducting.  Fall 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006


Pre-Carnival in Brazil. January 2006

Hartwick College Study Abroad Program. Consisted of classes, rehearsals, lectures and attending the preparations for Carnaval both in Rio de Janeiro and Salvador.



Orchestration and Arranging. Spring 2004, Fall 2006


Hartwick Wind Ensemble& Sinfonietta. Fall and Spring  2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006


Choral Conducting. Spring 2004


Hartwick Eclectic Players. Music Director, 2003

A flexible instrumentation multiple style chamber ensemble. Performed music by Philip Glass, Horacio Salgán, Guillaume Dufay, John Cage, members of the ensemble, and others


Song Writing.  Spring 2003


Aural Skills. 2001-2003


Musical Theatre Production. Winter 2002, 2003, 2004



SUNY Binghamton

Graduate Theory Seminar. Spring 2005



Courses Taught at Summer Programs


Music Composition. Seal Bay Festival. Maine, July 2019


Musical Theatre Production. Hartwick College Summer Music Program, July 2002


Festival Symphony Orchestra. Hartwick College Summer Music Program, July 2002


Festival Chamber Orchestra. Hartwick College Summer Music Program, July 2002


Music Composition. Hartwick College Summer Music Program, July 2002


Music Composition. Bennington College, July Program 1999-2001


Music Composition. Illinois Summer School for the Arts, 1994

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