Music composition at University of the Pacific is a fully immersive and broad major which will position you well to navigate this ever-evolving field of music. You will spend extensive time writing works for a variety of ensembles, learning a broad range of compositional techniques and honing your own compositional voice. You will compose for solo instruments, small ensembles, voice, chorus, percussion, digital media and larger musical forces such as orchestra and band. Specialized studies in orchestration, contemporary performance techniques, electronic music and film scoring will add crucial skills to your creative tool kit.
Film and Media
Pursue your passion for film and game music with elective courses in media scoring, film production and music technology.
Songwriting and Production
Take courses in music business and popular songwriting while learning your way around our professional-level recording studio.
Study traditional counterpoint and orchestration alongside your one-on-one composition lessons with faculty composers.
Music has always been an integral part of Peter’s life. The pivotal moment in life was his first heavy metal concert where he experienced the unifying power of music and realized he’d found his calling. As a music composition major at Pacific, he co-founded the Pacific Heavy Ensemble, a trail-blazing 40-piece symphonic metal group, which fosters collaboration with other musicians and challenges the status quo.
Our graduates are positioned to succeed
Many have gone on to attend top graduate programs and have pursued successful careers in the commercial music and media industries, as well as in the fields of academia and education. Several have received major honors, including Emmy Awards, Guggenheim Fellowships and Fulbright Grants.
Rosalie Burrell '10
Rosalie's music has been performed at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center and Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris, to name just a few. As a composer, she has collaborated with many artists across the United States and her piece early light was featured on BBC television and radio.
Yoshiaki Onishi ‘04
Composer, conductor and clarinetist Onishi is a recipient of the 2018 Guggenheim Fellowship, the 2018 Fromm Commission and the Gaudeamus Prize 2011. As a composer, he explores a wide range of instrumental timbres and ways to incorporate them in musical syntaxes and forms that disrupt expectations.
Larry Groupé ’79
Groupé is hailed as one of the most talented and versatile composers working today in the entertainment industry. Emmy-awarded TV and movie score composer, his impressive musical résumé includes collaboration with the classic rock legend band YES.
Music composition graduate Wyatt Cannon is a 2018 winner of the SF Search composition competition; a participant in the 2021 Fifth House Ensemble’s Fresh Inc Festival; and a participant in the 2022 Valencia International Performing Arts Summer Festival, Spain. Find out why he chose to study at Pacific.
The minor is open only to music majors (except music composition majors) as a secondary area. If you plan to major in music performance, this minor may extend your knowledge of music theory to support your performance activities or build on your compositional interests.
This minor is open to all students and allows you to undertake advanced coursework in areas such as audio production, digital and analog synthesis, computer music and recording engineering. You will pursue creative projects and take courses with faculty in the Music Composition and Music Industry Studies programs.