Composition offers Bachelor of Music, Master of Music, and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees. The curricula of these degree programs offer students maximum flexibility in pursuit of their musical interests and career goals. The traditional core courses in music history and theory have been streamlined to increase the number of hours available for individual electives. Students may utilize their elective hours freely, or may devote them to an official emphasis area (including conducting, electronic and computer music, ethnomusicology, jazz studies, music theory, musicology or an applied instrument).
The New Music Ensemble, directed by Professor Dan Welcher, presents six full concerts annually of chamber music by living composers and those of the recent past. This group of 16 instrumentalists and singers is made up of the most proficient performance majors in the Butler School of Music, and is widely regarded as one of the best new music ensembles in the country. Since he assumed the directorship of the group in 1979, Dan Welcher has conducted the premieres of well over 100 new works, including music by internationally famous composers, local and faculty composers, and student composers.
Additionally, the Visiting Composers' Series brings an impressive roster of first-rank composers to the UT campus for four-day residencies, during which their music is performed by Butler School of Music students, faculty and guest artists. These composers present public forums on their music, master classes for UT student composers, and attend rehearsals and concerts of their works by the New Music Ensemble, Wind Ensemble, Symphony Orchestra and Choruses. Since its inception in 1995, the Visiting Composers' Series has captured the attention of the national media, as it is one of the few of its kind that bring diverse performance groups together on a monthly basis to perform major works of the leading composers of our time. These concerts have introduced to Texas audiences such works as Joseph Schwantner's Concerto for Percussion and Orchestra (with New York Philharmonic Principal Percussionist Chris Lamb as soloist) and John Corigliano's A Dylan Thomas Trilogy for soloists, double chorus and large orchestra. For more information regarding the composition program at the Butler School of Music, visit the individual websites for: