June 29th - July 21st, 2019

Rushmore Music Festival's Composition Academy is an intensive 3-week program intended for students ages 13 and up who have an interest in music composition. Held at an inspiring location in the heart of the badlands of South Dakota, students will experience a learning environment that will encourage them to develop and reinforce their own sense of musical fulfillment and expression.  The program is directed by Composer-in-Residence Dr. Symeon Waseen, Associate Professor of Music at Black Hills State University.

Program Highlights:

  • Workshop and record your composition with RMF Faculty

  • Collaborate with a student chamber group & premiere your composition

Composers of all experiences and backgrounds are welcome to apply; however, some experience in music and a strong grasp of fundamentals is highly encouraged.  For three weeks, attendees will receive daily feedback on a compositional project culminating in a performance and recording by Rushmore Music Festival faculty and students in Meier Recital Hall.  While working on this project, students will be encouraged to use their own unique backgrounds and strengths while also experimenting with new and unfamiliar modes of musical expression.  In addition, students will take part in theory courses and a survey of seminal 20th century music to familiarize themselves with a diverse array of compositional techniques and expand their compositional vocabulary.  

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  • Two examples of your composition (sheet music in .pdf format + audio/video recording, midi accepted)

  • Completed Online Student Application

  • $50 Application Fee (non-refundable)

  • Financial Aid Priority Application Deadline: February 15th, 2019

  • Application Deadline: April 1st, 2019

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  • 2 hours of composition lessons per week

  • Weekly group composition masterclasses

  • 3 weekly hour-long classes on 20th century materials and techniques

  • Daily music theory/ear-training classes

  • Computer Notation/Engraving sessions

  • Daily Dalcroze Eurhythmics classes (Weeks 1 & 2)

Who attends the Composition Academy?

  • High school students preparing for Undergraduate programs in Composition

  • College students looking to expand their portfolio and gain more experience working with chamber groups

  • Young high school students who are interested in writing music and would like to further explore composition in an engaging, collaborative environment

Can I get in touch with the program director to assist me in this application?

Yes, please contact Artistic Director Dr. Katie Smirnova at or call (605)646-3146.