This unique two-year program provides training and development for students in writing for a variety of genres, including opera, musical theatre, dance, and incidental music for drama. Through private lessons, group workshops, coursework and performance of a culminating thesis project, students develop the special skills required for writing in theatrical or collaborative contexts, and apply them through practical work.
This program was developed both in response to a perceived lack of formal training for composers who are interested in writing in non-concert genres, and to the availability of a large community of musical theater, opera, dance, film, and other artists working both at Catholic University and in the Washington, D.C.
The M.M. in Composition, Stage Music Emphasis program opened in fall 2005: students in the program since then have collaborated with student playwrights and directors in the CUA Department of Drama to compose incidental music and sound design for theatrical productions, have worked with choreographers and dancers, and have been involved in musical preparation for musical theater and operatic productions at the School of Music. Graduates of the program have gone on to professional positions as university faculty and in professional theater.