Music Theory & Composition
The Florida State University College of Music features one of the largest and most distinguished theory and composition faculties in the United States. Our students gain valuable experience in teaching and research, working with faculty members who care deeply about both pursuits.
We are in the midst of an exciting year! Be sure to mark the following events on your calendars.
- October 24: guest composer Amy Beth Kirsten led a masterclass, gave a presentation, and introduced a screening of Columbine's Paradise Theatre
- November 17-21: Housewright Scholar Nicholas Cook will be in residence, giving public presentations, meeting with students, and guest-teaching classes. His schedule of public presentations is as follows:
- January 17: FSU Music Theory Forum featuring Byron Almén (University of Texas at Austin) as keynote speaker
- January 29-31: Festival of New Music with Featured Composer David Lang and Featured Artist Ursula Oppens (Brooklyn College and CUNY Graduate Center)
- February 16-20: Housewright Scholar Robert Hatten (University of Texas at Austin) will be in residence. Details to follow.
- April 15-17: Nicole Biamonte (McGill University) will be in residence
In fall 2013, we hosted an international conference and festival dedicated to the music of György Ligeti. In spring 2014, we were visited by quite a number of special guests.
- January 18: FSU Music Theory Forum with keynote speaker Prof. David Neumeyer (University of Texas at Austin). Click on the link for more details and the complete program.
- January 26-28: Prof. Elizabeth Hellmuth Margulis (University of Arkansas) residency
- February 10: Composition masterclass with members of eighth blackbird
- March 3-5: Prof. Dan Welcher (University of Texas at Austin) residency, which will include a masterclass and a public presentation on his music
- March 7: Holocaust Music Symposium and Concert (sponsored by FSU SCI) with keynote speaker Amy Wlodarski
- March 26: Guest composer, Denis Levaillant (Paris)
- April 1-3: Prof. Elizabeth West Marvin (Eastman School of Music) residency
- April 7: Prof. Ciro Scotto (University of South Florida) residency
- April 9-11: Ricky Ian Gordon residency
- April 15-17: Prof. Shaugn O'Donnell (CCNY - City University of New York) residency
- April 14: John Mackey residency
- May 1-2: Libby Larsen residency
Our record for job placement continues to be outstanding. You can see a complete list of where our graduates teach here. Our recent job placements include:
Sean Atkinson (Ph.D. music theory, 2009) joined the faculty of Texas Christian University as Assistant Professor in fall 2014. For the past five years, he was Assistant Professor at the University of Texas at Arlington.
Joshua Burel (D.M. composition, 2014) began teaching at Webster University in fall 2014 in a sabbatical replacement position.
Christopher Endrinal (Ph.D. music theory, 2008) is now Assistant Professor of Music Theory at Florida Gulf Coast University as Assistant Professor. He previously taught at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell.
Andrew Gades (Ph.D. music theory, 2013) joined the faculty of The College of Idaho in fall 2014 as Assistant Professor.
Joshua Keeling (D.M. composition, 2013) joined the faculty of Illinois State University as Assistant Professor.
Crystal Peebles (Ph.D. music theory, 2011) joined the faculty of Ithaca College as Assistant Professor in fall 2014. She previously served on the faculty of Northern Arizona University.
John Peterson (A.B.D. music theory) joined the faculty of James Madison University in fall 2014 as a Lecturer.
Jennifer Smith (Ph.D music theory, 2012) joined the faculty of the University of Massachusetts-Amherst in fall 2014. She had previously been on the faculty of the University of Florida.
Kimberly Loeffert (ABD, music theory) joined the faculty of Oklahoma State University in 2013.
J. Judith Ofcarcik (Ph.D. music theory, 2013) joined the faculty of Fort Hays State University (Kansas) in 2013 as Assistant Professor of Music.
Emily Swift Gertsch (Ph.D music theory, 2013) joined the faculty of the University of Georgia's Hugh Hodgson School of Music in 2012 as (full-time) Lecturer in Music Theory.
Bryn Hughes (Ph.D music theory, 2011) joined the faculty of the University of Miami's Frost School of Music in 2012. He was previously Assistant Professor of Music Theory at Ithaca College.
- Four of our doctoral students (John Peterson, Gillian Robertson, Joshua Mills, and Micah Lomax) and two faculty members (Matthew Shaftel and Michael Buchler) presented their work at the Society for Music Theory meeting in Milwaukee, WI this fall. Still other faculty members participated in panel discussions, chairing sessions, and leading standing committees.
- Neil Anderson-Himmelspach (DM 2009) was awarded the 2014 Outstanding Alumni Award by the faculty of the FSU College of Music.
- DM student, Jon Overholt won the Florida MTNA Composition Competition's Young Artist Category.
- Cara Stroud (Ph.D. student) and Daniel Tompkins (M.M. student in music theory) both presented their work at the GAMuT conference (Sept. 26-27, 2014) in Denton, TX. Daniel was awarded the best student paper award.
- Seven members of the FSU theory/composition community presented their work at this year’s Music Theory Southeast Conference in Tampa, Florida: graduate students Joshua Mills, John Peterson, Gillian Robertson, Micah Lomax, and Kaleb Delk; recent Ph.D. graduate Andrew Gades; and faculty member Michael Buchler. Joshua Mills received the best student paper prize for his wonderfully creative and beautifully presented talk “Partimenti, Imitatio, and Exempla: Exploring (and Applying) the Pedagogical Parallels between Rhetoric and Composition.”
- Joshua Burel (DM 2014) and Jamie Whitmarsh (MM 2014) performed together as part of the ensemble What is Noise in Carnegie Hall on May 5, 2014. Their program included "Roanoke" by Joshua Burel.
- Jamie Whitmarsh and DM student Jon Overholt won the 2013–14 FSU Student Orchestral Competition; their winning compositions ("For Many Chairs" and "Processional", respectively) were performed by FSU's two orchestras. Jamie is the national winner of the MTNA Senior Division Composition Contest. On March 24, 2014 his "Animal Songs" was performed on a concert featuring all the senior-level winners. He is currently a finalist for The American Prize in Composition for both "For Many Chairs" and "Animal Songs".
- Marshall Jones's Peregrination was selected for performance at the third annual National Student Electronic Music Event (NSEME 2014) at Georgia Southern University, February 21-22, 2014 and the 14th Biennial Arts and Technology Symposium, the Ammerman Center for Arts and Technology at Connecticut College, February 27 – March 1, 2014. Marshall was also awarded the BMO merit award in the art song division for Boston Metro Opera's 2014 International Contempo Festival.
- DM student Szu-Yu Chen's "Variations on a Taiwanese Folk Song" for organ was performed in July 2014 at the Seventh Annual Festival of New Organ Music in London.
- DM student Daniel Thompson was a finalist for the BMI Prize in 2014 with his "Concert Etude" for piano.
- Neil Anderson-Himmelspach (DM 2009) serves as arranger for NBC's hit show The Sing-Off. He arranges many of the A Cappella charts you hear on the show.
- Michael Buchler was elected Vice President of the Society for Music Theory in 2013. He was previously Chair of the (2013) SMT Program Committee. Joseph Kraus just completed his three-year term on the Society for Music Theory Executive Board. Matthew Shaftel is the Chair of SMT's Publications Committee. Nancy Rogers is Chair of SMT's Professional Development Committee. (Yes, you could say that our faculty is active in our professional society!)
- Brad Osborn (MM 2006) won the inaugural Adam Krims Memorial Prize, awarded by the SMT Popular Music Analysis Interest Group, for his Spectrum article on "terminally climactic form."
- Three of our music theory faculty members won University Teaching Awards in 2013: Matthew Shaftel was awarded the Distinguished Teacher Award (FSU's highest prize for teaching), Michael Buchler was awarded a Graduate Teaching Award, and Nancy Rogers was awarded an Undergraduate Teaching Award.