This page includes important information about our program including:
- Program Introduction - Composition at CSUN
- BM and MM Audition Information
- CSUN Composition Alumni
- Northridge Composition Prize Winners
Composition at CSUN
Over the past decades, the music composition program at CSUN has achieved a solid reputation locally and at the national level. Our faculty composers have been featured in the most important music festivals of the world and our alumni have developed successful careers in the academia or the music business. Every semester, the composition students at CSUN have multiple opportunities to perform and record their music on campus, collaborate with professional ensembles and guest artists, and engage in research on contemporary music styles and techniques. Prospective and current students are eligible to apply for scholarships each year.
The Bachelor and Master of Music in Composition degrees are designed for students interested in writing contemporary concert or art music. While there are numerous styles and genres today that can be included in this category (in a general sense, all music written today and performed on stage for an audience can be described as such), this program is focused on analyzing and creating compositions that are emotionally fulfilling and intellectually stimulating, forward-looking, experimental, and non-commercial in nature. Our goals are to help all composition students discover their own artistic voices and search for new types of musical genres and sounds that are inspiring and unique.
For audition purposes, compositions must all be original and be consistent with the contemporary art music ideals of melody, harmony, rhythm, timbre, form, etc. Therefore, transcriptions and arrangements of other composers' works, commercial pop, rock, rap, techno, folk songs, New Age music, music using lead sheets rather than scores, etc., would not be within the scope of our program. Music that is influenced by these genres is acceptable, provided that the student recognizes the difference between pop-influenced art music and straightforward commercial pop music. Ethnic and jazz-influenced music reflecting the aforementioned contemporary art music ideals is acceptable. Furthermore, a few homework assignments or short pieces in Baroque, Classical or Romantic styles are acceptable as long as these works were conceived for a specific educational (technical or artistic) purpose. We encourage our students to discover and explore their own artistic identities and write music that describes our contemporary world.
The ideal composition student has a thorough knowledge of tonal harmony, four-part writing, and the traditional forms, is knowledgeable and interested in 20th-century art music, is an accomplished performer on one or more traditional instruments, and has a desire to develop an original artistic voice.
Bachelor of Music in Composition
Prospective students who are interested in the Bachelor of Music in Composition program should audition in one of the performance areas during one of the regularly scheduled audition sessions, submit a portfolio of compositions, as well as additional documents demonstrating their interest and qualifications in the area of music composition.
Master of Music in Composition
Prospective students who are interested in the Master of Music in Composition are required to submit a portfolio of works as well as additional documents demonstrating their background and expertise in music composition. An instrumental audition is not required for the MM in Composition degree.
CSUN Composition Alumni
Nur Fahlevi Pratama (BM 2023) received a generous scholarship to pursue graduate studies in conducting at the Boston Conservatory.
Osvaldo Carmona (MM 2023) is an on-screen instructor and part of the curriculum development team at Fender Play. He has composed works for the Los Angeles Brass Alliance and Brightwork New Music Ensemble.
Jeremy Davalos (MM 2023) has been performing with the Los Angeles Brass Alliance and the Santa Monica College Orchestra. As a composer, he was invited to participate in the Impulse New Music Festival and the Cortona Summer Music Courses.
Rene Gonzalez Slizewski (MM 2021) is a music composition and theory instructor at the Los Angeles Film School. He has written music for Film, TV, and Video games, with recent credits including the drama Villhester (Oslo Pictures), the horror feature Meathook (Cutting Floor Films), the video game Music Mage (Camlann Games), and the documentary Humanity Stoked (Revere 8 Films).
Ethan Blackburn (BM 2021) received a Master of Music degree from the Maastricht Conservatory in the Netherlands. He has participated in numerous music festivals and conferences across Europe.
Jesse Russell (MM 2021) is a conductor and music teacher at Lincoln Middle School in Alameda. He continues to compose and arrange music for a wide range of music ensembles.
Grant Coughlin (MM 2020) was a finalist in the Abbey Road Film Scoring Competition and the winner of the Montreal International Film Scoring Prize. He has also worked as a software developer for music technology companies in Los Angeles.
Alexandra Jones (BM 2019) received a generous scholarship to continue her studies in the graduate program at the University of California Santa Barbara.
Peter Chatterjee (MM 2018) is currently a doctoral student at the University of California, Davis. His music has been performed by the Pacific Chamber Orchestra, the Mojave Trio, and the Magela Herrera Quartet.
X Lee (BM 2018) received generous scholarships for advanced studies at the American Conservatory in Fontainebleau and IRCAM in Paris. His music has been featured throughout Los Angeles, at the National Sawdust, and in numerous other venues across the United States.
Rocco Harris (BM 2018) is a freelance composer and music instructor in Los Angeles. He has released numerous albums under the moniker of “Fall Precauxions” and has composed music for an acclaimed science fiction podcast called “Simultaneous Times”.
Dariush Derakhshani (BM 2017) received a MM from the San Francisco Conservatory and a PhD in music composition from the University of California Santa Barbara. He has attended IRCAM Manifeste in Paris, Barcelona Mixtur Festival, Altitude Festival, Impuls Academy in Madeira, Festival DME, and was chosen to compose a piece for the Barcelona Modern Ensemble under the guidance of Philippe Hurel.
Zheng Zhou (MM 2017) is currently an Assistant Professor of Music at Central China Normal University. Following his graduation from CSUN, he received a doctoral degree in composition from the University of Utah.
Phillip Park (BM 2015) was awarded a fellowship from UC Riverside, where he continued his studies in digital music composition.
Frank Duarte (BM 2015) was awarded a full scholarship for graduate studies at Butler University, followed by doctoral studies at Michigan State University. His music has been published and widely performed throughout the United States.
Michael Dekovitch (BM 2014) received a doctoral degree in music theory and composition at the University of Oregon and is currently teaching in the Los Angeles area.
Patrick Gutman (MM 2014) received a doctorate in music composition from UCLA. He has been a fellow of the Cortona Sessions for New Music, the Chamber Music Institute at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and the American Conservatory of Fontainebleau, France.
Longfei Li (MM 2014) received a DMA in music composition from the Manhattan School of Music, where he is also teaching music theory and ear training in the Precollege Division.
Andrew Martin (BM 2014) received a scholarship from the University of California Berkeley, where he continued his graduate studies in music composition.
Felipe Rossi (MM 2013) was accepted in the prestigious doctoral program of University of California San Diego on a full scholarship. He was a resident at the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris, France where he studied with Gérard Pesson and Stefano Gervasoni, as well as many other new music summers and festivals.
David Kobaly (MM 2013) was awarded a scholarship for doctoral studies at University of Oregon.
Aram Adajian (MM 2012) was awarded a PhD in Music Composition from University of California Riverside. Various samples of his music are available on Soundcloud.
Ralph D'Ignazio (MM 2012) is the founder and director of Atlantic Guitar Music School in Thousand Oaks, CA. He has taught a wide range of music composition and theory courses at Los Angeles City College and Santa Ana College.
Marcelo Lazcano (MM 2012) received a full tuition scholarship from UC San Diego, where he completed his doctoral studies in music composition. In 2011 he was among the best eight graduate students at CSUN who were awarded the much-coveted California Pre-Doctoral Fellowship from the CSU Office of the Chancellor.
Eun Woo Choi (BM 2012) was invited to pursue advanced studies in choral conducting at the Kodaly Institute of Music in Hungary. During the 2011-2012 season she conducted the Discovery Players Ensemble and was an assistant conductor with the CSUN Symphony.
Addison Wong (BM 2011) received a full scholarship from University of Oregon, Eugene, where he continued his graduate studies in music composition.
Collin Martin (MM 2011) was accepted in the prestigious graduate Musical Theatre program at New York University.
David Dominique (MM 2010) received his PhD from Brandeis University and is currently Assistant Professor of Music at College of William and Mary. He has studied at the Freie Universitat in Berlin and the Summer Institute for Contemporary Performance Practice in Boston.
Leonie Roessler (BM 2010) received a Master of Music degree from the Royal Conservatory in Hague, Netherlands. She is an active composer and performer on the European avant-garde music scene.
David Gordon (MM 2010) was awarded a PhD in Music Composition from UC Santa Barbara. He is a composer of chamber and electronic music, as well as an accomplished painter.
Evan Meier (MM 2009) was accepted in the DMA program at University of Maryland with a full scholarship. He has studied at the Aspen Summer Institute and the American Conservatory in Fontainebleau, France, and is currently the chair of music composition and theory studies at the Levine Music School in Washington DC.
Yu Oda (BM 2008) was accepted in the graduate program at the Amsterdam Conservatory in the Netherlands and has been a finalist in the prestigious Gaudeamus Competition. His music has been performed by the Asko Schoenberg and the Nimbus ensembles.
Milen Kirov (MM 2008) was the first student to be admitted in the newly created DMA program at California Institute of the Arts, where he began his studies in 2009 on a full scholarship. He has taught courses in music theory at Chapman University and CalArts and is now Associate Professor of Music Composition and Theory at Los Angeles Community College.
Martin Jaroszewicz (BM 2007) received a full scholarship and pursued his graduate studies at UC Irvine, where he was a teaching assistant until 2010. In 2017 he received his PhD in Music Composition from the University of California Riverside.
Isshin Oikawa (BM 2007) was accepted in the graduate music program at UC Irvine on a full tuition scholarship. Currently, he composes and performs music in a wide range of artistic venues throughout Japan.
Michael West (BM 2006) received a Master of Music degree from UCLA. He is an active composer and sound engineer in the Los Angeles area, as well as the founder of the Conejo Valley Music School.
Chisako Inoshita (BM 2005) was accepted in the Schola Cantorum Summer Program in Paris and continued her studies on a full scholarship in the Master of Music in Composition program at Cal State Long Beach.
Juan Martin Gendelman (MM 2004) received a full scholarship from the University of Maryland, where he entered the DMA in composition program. Over the past fifteen years, he has taught at Towson University, University of Maryland Baltimore County, Catholic University, Levine Conservatory in Washington DC, and is currently Associate Professor of Music at Georgia Southern University.
Winners of the Northridge Composition Prize
The Northridge Composition Prize has offered some of the nation's most talented composers the opportunity to have their major works premiered by the CSUN Symphony over the past 20 years. Here are our winners:
- 1st edition: Sara Carina Graef
- 2nd edition: Garrett Byrnes
- 3rd edition: Jason Bahr
- 4th edition: Jie Wang
- 5th edition: Xi Wang
- 6th edition: Matthew Van Brink
- 7th edition: Jeremy Podgursky
- 8th edition: Eleanor Aversa
- 9th edition: Charles Halka
- 10th edition: Brendan Faegre
- 11th edition: Tonia Ko
- 12th edition: Roger Zare
- 13th edition: Luke Flynn
- 14th edition: Ryan Chase