Music Theory and Composition

Division of Music Theory and Composition
TCU School of Music

The Division of Music Theory and Composition within the TCU School of Music offers degrees at the Bachelor, Master, and Doctoral levels. Bachelors and Master’s students have the option of focusing on either Theory or Composition. The Doctoral degree is offered in Music Composition only, but maintains a strong emphasis on theory by requiring a specific cognate in this area.

There are four full-time composer/theorists on the faculty as well as several other accomplished composers available to support the program. Given the small, select numbers admitted to the program, students receive a tremendous amount of individual instruction and attention.

Composer's concerts and seminars are offered regularly throughout the year, and there are ample opportunities for performance of student works, as well as the presentation of scholarly research. There is a student chapter of the Society of Composers, Inc. (SCI) within the School of Music and some support for students who wish to present their work at professional meetings.        

Scholarship Aid:

There is scholarship aid available to undergraduate students, as well as assistantships, including up to full tuition and a stipend, for graduate students.  Excellence in composition is recognized each year through the awarding of the Jonathan Durington prize.

Upchurch Studio:

TCU's Upchurch Studio for Electro-Acoustic Music (USEAM) was established in January 1989, through a generous donation from Constance J. Upchurch. As an educational facility, the studio enables students to acquaint themselves with the new technology relevant to musical performance, analysis, composition, education and research. An important part of the mission of TCU is to foster creative and scholarly research in all disciplines. With the acquisition of software from the most notable computer music facilities and companies, TCU faculty, students and visiting scholars are able to conduct research in music, acoustics, psychoacoustics and audiology with precision and efficiency.

Application procedure:


  • Complete all University and School of Music application requirements.
  • Composers submit 3 – 5 original scores including one handwritten example. Recordings are desirable as well.
  • Theorists submit 2 – 3 examples of analytical writing. At least one example, if possible, should deal with an arts related topic.

MM – Composition

  • Complete all University and School of Music application requirements.
  • Submit portfolio (minimum 3 – 5) original scores and recordings.
  • Must submit GRE scores.

MM – Theory

  • Complete all University and School of Music application requirements.
  • Theorists submit a minimum of 3 papers that exhibit scholarly work in music. At least one of these papers must be analytical in nature.
  • Must submit GRE scores.


  • Complete all University and School of Music application requirements
  • Submit a portfolio of original scores and recordings. These will be evaluated before an invitation to campus for testing and an interview is issued.
  • In addition to School entrance examination requirements, composers invited to campus are tested in the areas of keyboard literacy, orchestration, and counterpoint. The results of these exams are factored into the admission decision.
  • Composers must submit GRE scores.


Blaise Ferrandino, BM, MM, DMA - Division Chair
Neil Anderson-Himmelspach, BM, MM, DMA
Sean Atkinson, BM, MM, PhD
Martin Blessinger, BM, MM, DM
Joey Carter, BM, MM
Trey Gunter, BME, MM
Guillermo Martinez, BM, MM
Till MacIvor Meyn, BM, MM, DMA
Richard Murrow, BME, MM

For further information about TCU Music Theory and Composition, contact:
Dr. Blaise Ferrandino
Division Chair, Music Theory and Composition
Texas Christian University
School of Music
TCU Box 297500 - Fort Worth, Texas 76129
Fax: 817.257.7344