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Music Composition Academy – Black Hills State University

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

Participation Requirements


• Students will be in residence at Black Hills State University from Sunday, July 21 – Friday, July 26.
• Active participation in all academy events including private lessons in music composition.
• Participate in an evaluation process.


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 lodging at Black Hills State University as well as daily meals during the Music Composition Academy.

Academy Schedule

Students will have daily one-on-one composition lessons 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.

July 2019 Academy Daily Schedule

8:30 — Breakfast/Sign-in
9:00 — Group Warm-Up
9:30 — Group Composition Workshop
10:30 — Break
11:00 — Individual Lessons
12:00 — Lunch
12:30 — Seminar for listening and discovering compositional techniques
1:30 — Study, Composing, Individual Lessons
2:30 — Break / Field Trip
3:00 — Study, Composing, Individual Lessons
5:00 — Dinner
6:00 — Activities TBD

How to Apply

• Complete application form and return to Kristy Kayser at SDSO by May 30, 2019. The application can be found below.
• Participate in a phone interview with Theodore Wiprud on a date TBD.

Selection Process

Theodore Wiprud will choose the Academy participants. Participants will be announced by June 7, 2019. 10 participants will be chosen for the program.

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.