Composition Program

June 27 - August 8, 2020 (6-week program)
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2020 applications open in November

Instruments used in this program:

The Festival’s summer music Composition Program gives students access to distinguished composers, concerts, and masterclasses while affording each participant ample time to compose in a relaxed environment.

Students work with composer-in-residence Derek Bermel, as well as guest composers in both group and individual settings. Recent guests have included Steven Mackey, Melinda Wagner, Samuel Adler, John Harbison, and Missy Mazzoli. The program culminates in a performance of at least one work by each student. The Festival will assist in assembling colleagues from within the Festival to perform a selected work in a Young Artist Series concert.

Composition alumni are represented throughout the world and include Sebastian Currier, Vivian Fung, Sean Friar, Derek Bermel, and many others.

The Festival’s Meet the Composer series present opportunities to learn about and experience the creative process of working composers. These distinguished composers will discuss aspects of their music and inspirations and then accept questions from the audience.

I felt imbedded in the fabric of the Festival, which brought the support and encouragement to compose at an elevated level. The Festival created a community, a family for me, and a lifeline to have my work performed in the company of the brightest musical talents of our age.
—Michael-Thomas Foumai


Festival attendance gives students an unprecedented opportunity to advance their skills through the following opportunities:

Study & Perform


  • Flexible schedule
  • Free Tickets to faculty concerts
  • Livestreaming of performed compositions
  • HD video recordings of performed compositions
  • Photo sessions with the Festival photographer

Scholarships and Program Fees

  • The Festival is committed to enrolling all admitted applicants regardless of financial need. Please review our scholarship opportunities to learn more about applying for financial aid.
  • Program fees

application requirements

Age Requirements

The Composition program is open to all ages. Most students are between 18 and 30.

Scores and Recordings

Two original scores in PDF format and recordings of each of the scores. MIDI realizations are acceptable. Files may be uploaded or linked from YouTube or Vimeo.

Resident Assistant

If you would like to be considered for a resident assistant (RA) position, you must complete the RA portion of the application. Resident Assistants receive free room and board.

Letter of Recommendation

Please provide one reference. You will need to provide your recommender’s email address. Please tell them to expect an email from SlideRoom requesting an electronic submission of your recommendation.

Financial Assistance

If you would like to be considered for financial assistance from the Festival, you must complete the financial assistance section of the application.

Application Fee

Non-refundable application fee

  • 2020 application fees and deadlines will be announced soon!
  • $79 on or before 11:59 pm EST on January 21, 2019
  • $149 after 11:59 pm EST on January 21, 2019

The Festival is a summer of immersive music-making in which composition and contemporary music are an integral part of its fabric and history. Each year I look forward to returning to Maine to work with devoted colleagues and young composers whose passion for music and commitment to excellence continues to propel the Festival to greater artistic heights.
—Derek Bermel

Apply to Bowdoin Festival

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