Music Theory & Music Composition

A person holding a bass with other musicians in the background

To study with KU Music Theory and Composition (MTHC)

is to engage the passions, both musical and intellectual, of six composers and scholars who have each earned national and international recognition for their contributions to the discipline.

Working with faculty, you will be able to pursue a wide range of scholarly interests and musical styles. Our specialists in music theory research teach a wide breadth of approaches to diverse subjects. In addition to critical assessment of the standard common-practice and contemporary repertoires, students have the opportunity to learn about specific fields of faculty expertise, including film music, philosophy and critical theory, rhythm and meter, and modern rock music.

Our composers in the division are also skilled teachers who can help you refine your craft and develop your unique compositional voice. Among their vast and varied portfolios, they have each made significant contributions in producing new music for a wide range of genres, including works for wind band and orchestra, opera and choral music, instrumental and vocal chamber music, music for film, and electronic music (particularly involving live performance).

Offering BA, BM, MM, and PhD degrees in music theory, as well as BM, MM, and DMA degrees in composition, KU Music Theory & Composition is poised to further your musical career at any stage. The University of Kansas also has a culture that supports significant interdisciplinary opportunities for theorists and composers to collaborate with scholars in the humanities, sciences, visual arts, and other performing arts.