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  • Brooke talking to his class

    Composition at Luther College

    Luther's Composer-in-Residence, Brooke Joyce, teaching a masterclass at Decorah High School.
  • Brooke playing for his students

    Composition at Luther College

    Luther students Neil Quillen '13 and Ben Davidson '14 work with Brooke Joyce and International Music Festival of the Adriatic composition instructor Stefano Sacher in Duino, Italy.
  • Guest Speaker for Brooke's class

    Composition at Luther College

    Guest composer Stephen Paulus presents a colloquium on his music.
  • Class event for composition class

    Composition at Luther College

    A group of Luther students perform Pauline Oliveros' "Rock Piece" during orientation week.
  • Nosferatu


    A student/faculty ensemble performs an original soundtrack to the silent film "Nosferatu," composed by the composition studio.


The music composition program at Luther College offers opportunities for students from across campus to learn about and practice the art of composition.

Composition Workshop/Lessons

Most students begin composition instruction in their junior year, though some students begin in their first or second year. The first course students take is Music 238: Composition Workshop, a weekly seminar in which students explore a variety of musical ideas and create several small-scale compositions. This course is offered every fall. In subsequent semesters, students may elect to take private lessons (Music 338: Composition, Private Lesson) usually for 30 minutes per week.

Specialty Courses

A variety of upper-level elective courses round out the composition program: Electro-acoustic music, Modal Counterpoint, Orchestration, and Analytic Techniques. These courses are each offered every other year and are usually taken during students’ junior or senior years. Many composition students also elect to create a large-scale composition as their senior project. 

Composition Recitals

At least one concert of student compositions is organized each semester. Many students also have their compositions performed on individual student recitals. Occasionally, student compositions are performed by one of the large ensembles on campus. 

Music in the Shape of a Pear

This semiannual concert series features contemporary music performed by Luther faculty, students, and guest artists. Typically, concerts feature works by living local and international composers as well as classic works from the 20th century. 

Composition Colloquia

At least once per semester, guest composers visit Luther to present their work to composition students; often, their music is featured on the Music in the Shape of a Pear concert series. Usually, guests are also available to meet individually with composition students. 

Composition Emphasis

For more information on the composition program at Luther, specifically for those students who wish to concentrate their studies in composition, visit the links provided in the sidebar menu.