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 would potentially 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: MOST performances are professionally audio and video recorded.


Program Director
Jorge Variego
Tuition and Fees

Program costs will be announced shortly.

This includes all classes, lessons, seminars, and coachings during the program.

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

Refunds will not be granted for any reason if the inquiry is communicated to our office past May 21, 2023.

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

October 14, 2022
Application Opens!
$40.00 application fee

February 17th, 2023
Deadline for Early Bird application fee
$40.00 application fee Oct. 14 — Feb. 17

March 24th, 2023
Final Application Deadline
$75.00 application fee Feb. 18 — Mar. 24

After March 24th, 2023
Applications after March 24th may be accepted on a case by case basis. 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* will be announced shortly.

This fee 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.