Composition Program

“I had the great good fortune to hear my Night of The Four Moons at the Bowdoin Festival in Maine. It is rare that one’s music is prepared with such sensitivity and insight, combined with such superb skill.”
George Crumb


This is a 6-week program.

Our Composition Program gives participants access to distinguished composers, concerts, and master classes while affording each participant ample time to compose in a relaxed environment. The composer-in-residence for 2015 is Derek Bermel. Guest composers are Chen Yi and Kevin Puts.

Participants work with Mr. Bermel and the guest composers in both group and individual settings. The program culminates in a performance of at least one work by each participant. The Festival will assist in assembling colleagues from within the Festival to perform a selected work in the Artists of Tomorrow concert series.

Participants in the Composition Program receive:

  • Private instruction – The composer-in-residence gives each participant at least one private lesson per week, plus additional instruction at his discretion. Guest composers and presentations by selected faculty also offer additional instruction.
  • Group instruction – The composer-in-residence and guest composers provide group lessons each week at their discretion.
  • Additional learning opportunities – Our Bowdoin Festival Extra series provides special events throughout the summer, such as lectures and demonstrations. Presentations are given by our resident and guest artists and are open to all Festival participants and the public.
  • Time to compose – Our composition program allows for ample creative time. Participants often write new compositions during the Festival and arrange to have them performed while here.
  • Master classes – The composer-in-residence, guest artists, and most instrumental instructors offer weekly master classes. All master classes are open to all Festival participants.
  • Performance – The Kaplan Fellow in composition and the winner of the Composition Competition will each have a work performed in the Charles Gamper Festival of Contemporary Music. All composition participants will have one of their pieces performed and recorded as part of the Artists of Tomorrow concert series. Other opportunities for performances of participants’ works include local venues and community concerts.
  • Complementary tickets – Participants are encouraged to gain insight into solo and chamber music and performance by attending as many concerts as possible. Access to attend any concert, master class, lecture or demonstration presented by the Festival is complementary for all participants.
  • Digital recordings – Participants may request copies of their own performances before leaving the Festival.
  • General expectations – See our Summer Study and FAQ pages.

Student composition competition

Committed to the creation and performance of contemporary classical music, the Bowdoin Festival has funded residencies and commissioned works from major composers since its founding in 1964. The Festival also hosts a competition for student composers each year. Read 2015 Bowdoin Composition Competition guidelines.