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Music Composition Academy – Black Hills State University


The South Dakota Symphony Orchestra is working with the communities we serve and taking cautionary measures to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus. We are following directives from the Center for Disease Control, and the State of South Dakota. We are committed to supporting communities’ actions to mitigate this illness.

With the health and well-being of our Music Composition Academy Student and staff at the forefront of our decision-making, we have made the very difficult decision to cancel the West River Music Composition Academy this summer. Keep composing and we will see you next summer.

Music Composition Academy
Black Hills State University

The South Dakota Symphony Orchestra invites you to be part of the Music Composition Academy! This Academy will serve as a catalyst for community while teaching students to express creativity and write original music. Daily music composition lessons and activities will be part of the Academy; with an emphasis in finding human commonalities.

Participation Requirements



There is no cost to attend the Music Composition Academy. Students must be committed to attending all activities to participate. Students will be provided with meals during the Music Composition Academy.

We will be housed in Bordeaux Hall on the BHSU campus.

Academy Schedule

Arrival time at Black Hills State University will be May 31st at 6:00pm. Come to the front desk of Bordeaux Hall and SDSO staff will meet you there.

Departure time from Black Hills State University will be June 5 at 1:00pm. Parents will come to Bordeaux Hall to sign out their student.

Students will have daily one-on-one composition lessons with our composition staff and at the conclusion of the music academy have a fully formed piece of music for either string quartet or wind quintet. Students will work and collaborate directly with the professional musicians of the SDSO who will give a public performance of their completed compositions.

How to Apply

Selection Process

Staff composers will choose the Academy participants. A total of 12 students will be chosen for this year’s Academy.

September Performance Schedule

September 20, 2020

TBD – Early morning rehearsals with the SDSO Dakota String Quartet (DSQ) and Dakota Wind Quintet (DWQ).
TBD livestream world premiere performances at South Dakota Public Broadcasting in Rapid City.

September 21 – 22, 2020

DSQ and DWQ performances for your school(s) during the school day if permitted by school.

About Theodore Wiprud

Theodore Wiprud is a composer, educator, arts leader, father, and outdoorsman.  He often explores different musical cultures in his own music, most often Korean traditional music, known as gugak.  Some of his major works include a Sinfonietta (2016), premiered by the South Dakota Symphony; a Violin Concerto (Katrina), composed for Ittai Shapira and released with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic on Champs Hill Records; a one-act opera, My Last Duchess, with libretto by Tom Dulack based on poetry by Robert Browning; a dramatic song cycle created with poet Emma Stace Darling, called Girl on Fire; and a number of pieces featuring gugak instruments like p’iri, gayageum, and haegeum. Many of his works explore spiritual experience, like the orchestral works Hosannas of the Second Heaven and Grail.  Other works respond to American literature, including American Journal, based on Robert Hayden’s poem, and A Georgia Song, a setting of Maya Angelou.

Mr. Wiprud is widely known for having served as Vice President, Education, at the New York Philharmonic from 2004-2018, and as host of the iconic Young People’s Concerts.  He is Co-Chair of the New York City Arts in Education Roundtable and a consultant in education and music.