The composition program at Biola Conservatory of Music is one of the strongest in the nation and offers you the opportunity to compose, arrange, perform and record your own music in close proximity to Los Angeles, one of the largest cultural centers in the world. During your time at Biola you will compose nine concert works under the guidance of skilled faculty including pieces for string quartet, full orchestra, choir, piano and other ensembles. You will be given the opportunity to have your works performed/recorded live by professional string quartets, woodwind and brass quintets, piano trios, and the composition department's official Ensemble in Residence, Ensemble Christo LA. In addition, you will have works performed by the Biola Symphony Orchestra and assorted student ensembles, and will collaborate with film students scoring music for their movie projects. Three composition competitions will give you valuable feedback from qualified judges from within and outside of the Conservatory, and a large and talented studio of over twenty-five composition majors will give you a community in which to thrive as a student.
It's always a blessing to be able to help students find their way, but how often do students return the favor with interest? Here at Biola they do; I've had students extend grace to me in so many ways, not just by their earnest participation in my classes, but also with their prayers, warm smiles, and notes of encouragement. Here at Biola we don't just say we believe in Christ, we live it out.”
Degrees and Programs
Meet the Faculty
Area Coordinator, Composition
Director, Jazz Ensemble
Through the faculty's integrated encouragement and honest critique, I have been apprenticed in my craft, equipped to see and to listen, to diagnose and to learn. They have aided in coaxing my intentions and creative fragments into unique realities, and they have shown me the immense possibilities while putting the tools in my hands. Biola's Composition Department provided a place for me to be richly and individually challenged, stretched, strengthened and matured, and through their mentorship, I am able to confidently continue this lifelong journey of learning!
Composition (Piano), B.M. '14
Studying composition with phenomenal teachers like Denham, Watts, and Wills granted a sometimes surprising preparation for my work in branding and creative development. From Denham, I learned about timing and anticipation, and to push beyond the expected. From Wills, about economy of means in Stravinsky and Beethoven - the subtle but consistent weaving of a few powerful ideas throughout a whole work. From Watts, to always define the goals first and measure successfulness by how accurately you achieved them. And from Marlin Owen, a frustrating and insatiable curiosity about every aspect of the creative endeavor. My work creating worlds and telling stories for brands incorporates all of these lessons into a cohesive and exhilarating cocktail of art-meeting-commerce, and I am grateful to those mentors for their forbearance and passion.
Composition (Keyboard), B.M. '09
My time at Biola prepared me for life as a young composer in more ways than one. My mentors gave me priceless guidance, both artistic and practical, in succeeding as a professional musician. I know I can approach any new project, commission, or collaboration with confidence because of what I learned at the Biola Conservatory.
Composition (Oboe), B.M. '11
My experience as a student at Biola was transformative, both musically and spiritually. The first-rate music faculty was nurturing and supportive of me, even years after I graduated. I am blessed to have made friends with students and faculty who continue to enrich my life.
Composition and Performance (Piano), B.M.
In the composition department at Biola, you can tailor your education to what fits your interests. Since I was particularly interested in writing for musical theatre, I spent much of my time during my last year honing my songwriting skills. Although I focused more on composing for theatre, I felt like my experience studying composition at Biola was very well rounded and I had the chance to write in many genres and for many instruments/ensembles as well.
Composition (Piano), B.M.
Everywhere you go, you wear your faith. When you have the Holy Spirit, when you have that core, it doesn’t falter. No matter what major, what classes you’re in or what you’re studying, soak it up. It’s what shapes you... Soak up the serenity, those peaceful places on campus. Once you leave, you have to be a lot more intentional.
Composition (Keyboard and Voice), B.M. '05
My experiences at Biola - especially those with applied faculty - helped me solidify the connection and intersection that is present between my craft as a musician, and my identity as a child of God. As I return to join the applied voice faculty, I hope that I can help my students identify the same crucial intersection that has informed my own musical preparation and performance.
Composition (Voice), B.M. '13