The 16th annual composition course - UPBEAT International Summer Music School

Deadline: 22 February 2019 17:00

The 16th annual composition course next summer as part of the UPBEAT International Summer Music School in the town of Milna on the beautiful Adriatic island of Brac in Croatia.  The dates of the course are Thursday 18 July through Monday 29 July, 2019.  The deadline for receipt of all materials is Friday, 22 February, 2019.

The composition course is designed primarily for advanced undergraduates, graduate students and young professionals, but is open to composer-performers of all ages.

The course consists of:

(1) a series of daily group meetings with Professor Joel Hoffman
(2) cultural and outdoor group activities in Milna and nearby on the island of Brac
(3) a final concert of works by course participants. The course will focus on works written for the composer-performers who are the members of the course. 

The daily morning group meetings consist of the following:
(1) Composition Practicum: Writing for the composers’ ensemble
This is the main part of the course, in which students will have composed complete pieces in advance of the course for either the entire ensemble or some part of it. The pieces will be rehearsed and evaluated in depth in a group setting by Professor Hoffman as well as by other professors in residence in terms of compositional craft and idiomatic writing for the ensemble.  There will be ample time for revision and refinement of the compositions, which will then be performed by the ensemble in the final concerts on 28 and 29 July in Milna. 

(2) Improvisation Workshop
A number of principles of improvisation will be introduced and demonstrated, along with daily group exercises and structured improvisation events.  This part of the composition course is also open to other music students taking part in the “UPBEAT” International Summer Music School.

(3) Presentations of work and discussions
Participants will give presentations of their music and in addition, there will be a number of organized discussions around topics of vital interest to composers and composer-performers.

Afternoons/evenings are devoted to rehearsals, practice time, composing time and outdoor activities in and near Milna.

The presence of several other UPBEAT courses taking place concurrently with the composition course will give participants the opportunity to meet many talented young musicians from around the world.  Many of these musicians will be performing in their own courses's final concerts which take place every few days throughout the summer.  Professors of other courses are on the faculties of institutions such as the Moscow Conservatory, the Helsinki Conservatory, The Hochschule für Musik “Hanns Eisler” of Berlin, The Trinity Laban Conservatory in London and many others.

What to submit?
Interested composers must send the following materials to Professor Hoffman by Friday, 22 February, 2019:
1. a resume.  In the resume, please make sure the following information is included:
      - composition experience, including works composed with year of composition
      - list of performances of your works
      - universities/conservatories attended with dates of degrees earned as composer
      - names of composition teachers
      - performance level on your instrument (e.g. intermediate, advanced, professional)
      - list of repertoire performed on your instrument
      - list of performances and any awards/competitions won
      - names of instrumental/vocal teachers
      - universities/conservatories/music schools attended with dates of degrees earned as instrumentalist/vocalist (if applicable)

2. date of birth, citizenship, mailing address, email address and phone number

3. a score of one original work for a small ensemble scored for 2-15 separate parts.  A live (preferred) or MIDI recording of this ensemble piece is strongly encouraged but not required.

4. a recording of two contrasting pieces in which you perform.  The pieces may be either solos or ensemble pieces but in the case of the latter, it should be easy to individuate your playing from among the others in the ensemble (i.e. If you are a violinist, please do not submit a work for three violins!).  Please make sure you include information as to the work performed, duration of pieces and when/where the recording was made.  Recordings may be either audio or video (preferred).

5. A letter of recommendation from a current or former teacher which attests to your experience and achievements as both composer and performer.  Please ask your recommender to send his/her letter directly to Professor Hoffman at

Please submit your materials in the following way:
Send items 1 and 2 to Professor Hoffman by email at
Send items 3 and 4 as links via an internet delivery service such as or or, and make sure that you advise Professor Hoffman by email where and how your materials are available online.  Please DO NOT send items 3 and 4 by email. 
Send item 5 as described above.

The principal language of the UPBEAT International Music Summer School is English. In addition, Professor Hoffman can accommodate students in Italian and French.

Once again:  the deadline for receipt of all materials is Friday, 22 February, 2019.

Participants accepted into the course will be notified by email no later than 8 March, 2019. 

By no later than 15 March, 2019, accepted participants will be asked to confirm their participation in the course by paying a deposit of 150 euros or USD$170 via PayPal, sent to Professor Hoffman via  

On 17 March, confirmed participants will be informed of the available instrumentation for the course, and will be asked to compose a piece (maximum of seven minutes’ duration) for a specific combination of instruments/voice drawn from from the complete ensemble.  At that time, confirmed participants will be given the opportunity to request a specific instrumentation from among the performing forces available.  Those requests will be honored to the greatest extent possible.  Works involving electronics are very welcome but all equipment will have to be supplied by the composer. 

By 24 May, new works to be performed on the final concerts will be completed.  It is required that the participants' compositions will be completed well before the course begins so that the focus during the course can be on revising and refining.  Scores and parts should be sent to Professor Hoffman via (or a similar service) no later than Friday, 24 May, 2019, and copies of these should be emailed directly to the new work's performers at that time to allow sufficient time for individual preparation.  It is hoped that the composers will also work on new pieces for the ensemble during the course, which can be rehearsed and discussed along with the previously completed pieces.

By 31 May, the remainder of the course tuition - 600 euros - will be due (150 + 450 = 600 euros total tuition), and will be payable to the UPBEAT International Summer Music School.  Instructions for payment of the course tuition will be available on the UPBEAT website.  NOTE:  Your deposit of 150 euros ($170) is not due UNTIL and UNLESS you are accepted into the course.  There is no application fee to apply to the program.
Please email me with any questions.