Composition at Sewanee
The Composition Program at SSMF offers two tracks for program participation:
the Composition Intensive and the Supplemental Study in Composition.

Composition Intensive

Students selected to study composition at Sewanee will have multiple opportunities to have their music performed, workshopped and coached during the festival. Students will enjoy weekly lessons and seminar with program coordinator Jorge Variego and have ample time to study, compose, and collaborate with fellow students and faculty members. The program is capped at four student composers in the composition track in order to allow ample time for reading sessions, rehearsals, and performances. Program highlights include:

  • Reading session with the Sewanee Symphony
  • Chamber music performances on the student chamber music series
  • Master classes in contemporary composition and performance techniques with selected festival faculty
  • Composition studio recital
  • Private lessons
  • Group seminar

Tentative Weekly Program

Each week also includes group seminars and individual lessons.

Week 1
One-on-one composer performer collaborations. Prior to the beginning of the festival, composers will be paired with performers for the creation of a new piece to be premiered at the end of the first week.

Week 2
Film scoring intensive. Composers will experience a week-long workshop focused on scoring for media (film, video games) with an active composer in the field. At the end of the week, there will be a recording session of the original cues.

Week 3
Mixed ensemble. During this week composers will work with a small dedicated mixed ensemble. This ensemble will be made of a select group of the top players in the festival who will be premiering the new works at the end of the week. The instrumentation for this group will be announced prior to the festival.

Week 4
Composers showcase. During this week composers will focus on the preparation, rehearsal and performance of new works in the final composers showcase concert. This event usually offers more than a dozen premieres of works written during the festival.

Note: ALL performances are professionally audio and video recorded.


Program Coordinator
Jorge Variego
Tuition and Fees

Tuition: $2,600
This includes all classes, lessons, seminars, and coachings during the program.

Room & Board: $1,950
This includes all meals, a double occupancy room, and access to campus facilities including the Fowler Athletic Center and duPont Library.

Single Room Fee: $350
Single rooms are assigned on a first-come, first-served basis.

Audition requirements

Composition applicants should submit scores of  PDF ’s two contrasting works written for solo, chamber or large ensemble ( orchestra, chamber orchestra or wind band). Recordings or midi realizations are not required but encouraged. In addition, it is required one letter of recommendation or the contact information for two professional references in the field of music.

Application Fees and Deadlines

The application for Summer 2022 will open October 15, 2021.

Feb 18th, 2022 ( $35.00 app fee Oct. 15 — Feb. 18)

  • Priority application deadline
  • Scholarship available for all studios

March 25th, 2022 ($75.00 app fee Feb. 19— Mar. 25)

  • Final application deadline
  • Scholarship available for some studios

After March 25th, 2022

  • Applications after March 25th will be accepted on a case by case basis with limited scholarship availability. Some studios will be full.

Supplemental Study in Composition

Instrumental festival participants may register for composition seminar and lessons for an additional fee. Students studying composition in this format will have the opportunity to attend the composition seminar, weekly private lessons, and compose for the seminar-workshop ensemble.

*Please note: if you are a composition student, lessons and seminar are included in your program experience. 

Program costs, Supplimental study in composition*

$400 covers the cost of the supplemental study in composition for all 4 weeks of the Festival.

*Please note, scholarship funding is not available for supplemental study in composition.

For program questions, please contact Jorge Variego.

For all other program questions, please contact the Festival office.