1. Areas of Study
  2. Composition

Write the music you dreamed of.

Composition Department Chair, David Conte, and Alexander Goodhart '16

Prize-winning faculty develop and refine the skills of the next generation of great composers.

The composition department both honors tradition and encourages innovation. Our four versatile faculty members closely mentor students while maintaining high-profile composing careers. We strongly emphasize interdepartmental collaboration, matching composers with performers, as well as offer frequent concerts and readings of student works. Every year, SFCM hosts the Highsmith Competition, an internal composition contest that grants the winner a performance of the submitted work by the Conservatory Orchestra. You'll be able to take advantage of the extraordinarily rich musical life of San Francisco, home to some of the most groundbreaking musical activity of the past half-century.

  • Q&A with Jennifer Culp and David Conte on Composition and Strings

    TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 6:30pm PT

    What opportunities do SFCM composition students have to work with instrumentalists? Attend this pre-show panel featuring David Conte, Professor and Chair of Composition, and Jennifer Culp, Professor of Cello and Chair of Strings, before the Cello Project concert to find out! They will discuss cross-departmental collaborations and answer your questions about being a composition or string student at SFCM.

    Sign up for the event


Accomplished composers, dedicated mentors


We’re waiting to show you around.

We look forward to your visit! Contact the Office of Admission to take a tour of our facilities. You can also contact the composition faculty directly to arrange a consultative lesson.


Get a feel for the curriculum.

We've saved a seat for you. During your visit to SFCM, sit in on a class or two and see what it's like to be a student at the Conservatory.


Qualify yourself for the future.

Detailed curricula are available for the two offered composition music degrees at SFCM.