- Academic English Studies (ESL)
- Biochemistry/Molecular Biology
- Classical Studies
- East Asian Studies
- Environmental Studies
- Ethnic Studies
- Exploration and Discovery
- Foreign Languages
- French Studies
- Gender Studies
- German Studies
- Health Professions
- Hispanic Studies
- International Affairs
- Latin American Studies
- Mathematics/Computer Science
- Political Economy
- Political Science
- Religious Studies
- Rhetoric and Media Studies (formerly Communication)
- Sociology and Anthropology
Composition in the Liberal Arts
Lewis & Clark strongly believes that there is no better place for young composers than in a liberal arts setting. Composers are women and men with hungry minds, who live for the collection and synthesis of knowledge, and for insight into the humanity of the audience and art they serve. Studies in the classics, the social sciences, the physical sciences, mathematics, the contemporary humanities, and the allied arts contribute to individuals of real distinction: not mere musicians, but great and deep human beings.
Your First Year
Your first year is a time of adjustment to college social life, to new and higher expectations for intellectual achievement, and to the rigors of a major that requires a base level of facility in the areas of Music Theory, Aural Skills, Performance, and Music History before Beginning Composition, the introductory course in the composing sequence, is taken. Thus, we may not recommend that you begin the composing sequence until your sophomore year, even if you have satisfied the necessary prerequisites. Students with significant experience and ability in composing intent on the composition major will be given the opportunity to exempt Beginning Composition and enroll in Private Composition lessons.
Study overseas usually takes place in the spring of the junior year. Composers are strongly advised to travel on the London program, since this will best serve to enrich their musical education while overseas. The London Program will necessitate missing a course from the core sequence in composing, so special arrangements must be made to acquire necessary skills, whether through correspondence or on-site in London.
Composers are strongly encouraged to pursue their own musical interests in fields not necessarily covered by the electives or core sequence. They may avail themselves of the music faculty and their individual strengths for independent study, keeping in mind that professors’ schedules may not allow them to take on independent study in a given semester. All such study is at the discretion of the faculty member in question.
The Senior Project
The senior project is a full-length recital of original music produced, directed, advertised, and rehearsed by the composer. The recital takes place in the spring of the senior year, and contains no less than 35-40 minutes of music, over half of which must involve acoustic instruments. The core sequence requires approximately 12 minutes of music per semester, so all senior composers will have written at least the minimum required by the time of the recital. Every composer prepares their recital under the supervision of a director and two faculty advisors.
The Composer’s Voice
Lewis & Clark does not subscribe to any school, style, or process of composing. Works created by student composers reflect a wide diversity of aesthetics and approaches. We believe firmly that the discipline of careful compositional thought benefits all composers, regardless of their eventual voice and affinities. Composers must be a part of their own culture, and learn to respond to and shape the musical life of those around them. In order to do this, they must also have rigorous training.
A small number of scholarships may be available for qualified composers. Please include a representative portfolio of your scores and recordings with your application. Contact the Department of Music for audition dates.
Betsy Russell ’81 Music Composition Scholarship
The Betsy Russell ’81 Music Composition Scholarship was established in 2011 by music alumna Betsy Russell to attract music composition talent to Lewis & Clark and to celebrate emerging composers in the greater Portland area. Ms. Russell has a long-standing relationship with the College and a special interest in supporting new music. Her commitment to the arts will allow Lewis & Clark’s music program to attract and retain fresh talent and promote and reward new composition from young musicians.
Performance Opportunities for student composers abound at Lewis & Clark College. In addition to regularly Composition Program Recitals, students have the opportunity to have their works performed on department colloquia. Students may also schedule sophomore, junior, and non-degree recitals. Our faculty ensemble directors are very receptive to considering the possibility of reading and performing works by student composers. The Lewis and Clark College Symphony Orchestra schedules reading sessions of works by all students enrolled in Orchestration.
New Music in the Portland area
Portland is well known for being a city that values culture and the arts. There is a vibrant “New Music scene,” which includes many fine ensembles and organizations.
For a list of musical ensembles in the Portland area, see
Assistant Professor of Music
Composition core sequence, Theory I, 20th Century Theory
Artistic Director, Friends of Rain faculty new music ensemble
Instructor of electroacoustic music
Electronic Music elective sequence
The Theory and Composition Curriculum
Prerequisites (contained in Music Major Requirements)
MUS 111 2 Cr. Aural Skills I
MUS 121 4 Cr. Music Theory I
The Core Sequence in Theory (required of all majors)
MUS 212 2 Cr. Aural Skills II
MUS 213 2 Cr. Aural Skills III
MUS 222 2 Cr. Music Theory II
MUS 223 2 Cr. Music Theory III
MUS 314 4 Cr. 20th Century Theory and Aural Skills
The Core Sequence in Composing
Every composer is strongly encouraged to take every course in the core sequence; all composers are required to take either MUS 324 or MUS 329. Those pursuing double majors may make alterations, under the advice of both major advisors.
MUS 224 2 Cr. Beginning Composition (waived for those with significant experience)
MUS 324 2 Cr. Orchestration (alternate years)
MUS 329 2 Cr. Counterpoint (alternate years)
MUS 490 2 Cr. Senior Project
The Elective Sequence (take as many as possible)
MUS 220 2 Cr. Introduction to Electronic Music
MUS 221 2 Cr. Studies in Electronic and Computer Music
MUS 316 2 Cr. Jazz Theory
MUS 318 2 Cr. World Music Theory
MUS 321 2 Cr. Seminar in Electroacoustic Composition
MUS 331 2 Cr. Conducting
MUS 416 2 Cr. Advanced Musicianship and Conducting
Electives Outside the Music Department (recommended courses)
ENG 201 4 Cr. Introduction to Poetry and Poetry Writing
TH 107 2 Cr. Ballet I or
TH 108 2 Cr. Contemporary Dance Forms I
TH 275 4 Cr. Introduction to Playwriting
ART 1** 4 Cr. Any introductory Art course
PHIL 101 4 Cr. Logic