July 12, 2004
UCSC to become first UC campus offering new doctorate
in music composition
By Scott Rappaport
UCSC will be the first UC campus to offer a Doctorate of Musical Arts
(D.M.A.) program in Music Composition with enrollment set to begin in
Award-winning composer and music professor David Cope will lead
the computer-assisted composition track of a new doctorate program
in music composition at UCSC--the first of its kind in the UC
Photo by Don Harris
Although private institutions such as Stanford University, Claremont
Graduate University, and the University of Southern California currently
offer the Composition D.M.A., the new UCSC program will distinguish
itself from similar programs by focusing on two sub-specialties: computer-assisted
composition and world music composition.
It will also be the first doctoral program established in the fine
arts at UCSC, marking a significant milestone in the expansion of arts
graduate programs at the campus.
"The Music Composition D.M.A will develop accomplished, active,
and articulate composers with a broad awareness of the diverse styles,
cultural influences, and technical means available to them in the 21st
century," noted Margaret L. Delaney, interim UCSC campus provost
and executive vice chancellor.
Graduate students who choose to specialize in the area of computer-assisted
composition will be trained in the use of algorithmic techniques, which
have been increasingly applied to the creation of music and art works.
This approach involves composing a piece of music via a set of instructions
(a program) given to a computer. The composer may utilize the program
to create a piece in whole or in part, and the computer output may be
accepted as a complete work or manipulated further to create a final
piece of music.
The computer-assisted composition track of the new doctorate program
will be led by award-winning composer and UCSC music professor David
Cope, along with composer colleagues Paul Nauert, Peter Elsea, and David
Evan Jones and cognitive theorist Ben Carson. In 1981, Cope created
the groundbreaking computer program, Experiments in Musical Intelligence
(EMI), which is described in his books Computers and Musical Style,
Experiments in Musical Intelligence, The Algorithmic Composer, and
Virtual Music. The program functions by extracting elements of
a composers style from a database of compositions and then creating
new works in that style. Cope is recognized internationally as one of
the world's leading composers using algorithmic techniques.
The world music specialty of the new UCSC program will focus on the
music of indigenous non-Western composers, reflecting the incorporation
of world music cultures into Western art and music that has paralleled
the growing ethnic diversification of American society. Music faculty
at UCSC currently teach and conduct research in the music of Korea,
China, Indonesia, India, Latin America, Africa, and the United States.
The world music track will be led by UCSC music professor Hi Kyung
Kim along with composer/performer Karlton Hester. Kim is internationally
recognized for her powerful fusions of Western classical music with
traditional techniques and instruments from her native Korea. Hester
composes and performs music in a variety of styles influenced by global
"Each student will focus on one or more world music cultures and
strive to understand that musicon its own terms and in its own
contextbefore integrating aspects of that music with Western classical
music," noted UCSC music professor David Evan Jones. "This
will be the first doctoral program of which I'm aware that explicitly
requires the study of world music as the foundation for a course of
study in composition," he added.
Many of the elements of the new D.M.A. in composition are on display
each spring at UCSC when the campus hosts one or more of its ongoing
festivals: The April in Santa Cruz festival of new music is a 25-year
tradition at UCSC, while the Festival of Global African Music is a relatively
recent offering. The campus has twice hosted its internationally recognized
Pacific Rim Festival of new music and, according to Jones, plans are
now being made for a 2005 Pacific Rim Music Festival/Conference that
will draw composers, ensembles, and scholars from the U.S., Korea, Japan,
and Germany, and will feature concerts of algorithmic music alongside
cutting-edge fusions of world and Western music.
For more information about the new doctoral program, contact the UCSC
Music Department at (831) 459-2292.
Return to Front Page