Music Composition at Fresno State

General Information

The mission of the Fresno State Music Composition Program is to provide students with the skills and knowledge necessary to compose music for a wide variety of venues, including music for the concert hall, television and film, and for digital media. This mission is supported through the development of musical creativity and technical proficiency. The Music Composition option is designed to provide a comprehensive music education, covering a wide variety of musical genres, ensembles, styles, and compositional practices.

Music Composition at Fresno State is a rigorous program that focuses on the composition of music in a concert music environment, while simultaneously developing professional skills that are applicable to all genres of music composition.  All students in the program are provided with a thorough grounding in the idiomatic writing of music for all orchestral and band instruments, as well as all voice types.  Students are provided with additional instruction in the analysis of music, knowledge of 20th and 21st century concert music literature, recording and MIDI music production skills, and advanced counterpoint.  All composition students are encouraged to program their works each semester’s Student Composers’ Recital, which is open to the public.  The program culminates with a senior recital of the student’s music, performed by fellow music students and ensembles.  In addition, students are often provided with opportunities to have their works performed on our ensemble concerts.  Past performances of student works have included concerts by the Fresno State Symphony Orchestra and the Fresno State Percussion Ensemble.

The composition program is supported by the CSU Fresno Composer's Guild, an official club recognized by Fresno State Associated Students Inc.  The Composer's Guild provides educational and social opportunities through weekly meetings, as well as support for frequent guest activities including guest composer master classes and the Fresno New Music Festival.


Degree Programs

B.A. in Music – Composition option

Our Bachelors of Arts in Music with a Composition option is designed to work with undergraduate students interested in learning the craft of composition. While we emphasize composing concert music, the skills developed in our program translate to all disciplines of music making. Students interested in pursuing this option should submit a portfolio of scores as part of their application (see Applying Students for more information). For course information, please go to the University Catalog or contact Dr. Kenneth Froelich (

M.A. in Music – Performance option with an emphasis in Composition

Our Masters of Arts degree in Music Performance with a Composition Emphasis is a fully-fledged Music Composition program for students who have either completed an undergraduate program in music composition or have completed another music degree option and can demonstrate sufficient skill in composition through their portfolio (see Applying Students for more information). All students enrolled in the program are required to take composition lessons every semester, as well as receive additional instruction in music theory and music history. For course information, please go to our Department Graduate student page or contact Dr. Kenneth Froelich.


Music Composition Faculty


Applying Students

  • Bachelors of Arts – Music: Composition option

1. Students interested in pursuing the B.A. in Music – Composition option should first fill out the music department application page here:

2. Complete the Fresno State undergraduate application, which can be found here:

3. For information on additional materials, please see below.

  • Masters of Arts – Music: Performance option with an emphasis in Composition

1. Students interested in pursuing the M.A. in Music – Performance option with an emphasis in Composition should first fill out the music department application page here:

2. Complete the Fresno State graduate application, which can be found here:

3. For information on additional materials, please see below.

  • Additional Materials

All students applying to study in either the BA or MA in music composition are required to submit the following materials, to be received no later than FEBRUARY 1st of the year the student is applying to (students applying for enrollment in Spring semester should submit materials no later than OCTOBER 1st.):

  • Three representative compositions. These scores should be notated out, either in music notation software (i.e. Finale, Sibelius, etc.) or by hand. Scores should be bound.

  • Audio recordings of each piece. Recordings may be MIDI realizations (for students applying to the MA program, MIDI is strongly discouraged). Recordings should all be included on a single CD.

Please send all materials to:

Dr. Kenneth Froelich

Department of Music

California State University, Fresno

2380 E. Keats Ave. M/S MB 77

Fresno, CA 93740

Alternatively, materials may be e-mailed to E-mail submissions must include all files in a single, compressed folder. Scores should be in PDF format. Recordings may be MP3s OR available as links to online web-based streamers (i.e. SoundCloud).


Fresno State Composer’s Guild

CSU Fresno Composer's Guild Soundcloud Page

The Fresno State Composer’s Guild is an officially recognized club (ASI) that supports the music composition program. Membership includes all students enrolled in the music composition option, as well as students who are interested in learning about composition and music students interested in the performance of new music. The Composer’s Guild hosts weekly meetings and workshops, where guest composers are invited to speak, student composers discuss their upcoming performances, and members share their works-in-progress. In addition, the Composer’s Guild serves as the student executive board for Fresno New Music.

Members of the Fresno State Composer’s Guild also serve as members of the Society of Composers, Inc. (SCI) student chapter at Fresno State.


Fresno New Music

Fresno New Music was founded in 2006 as the Fresno New Music Festival, an annual concert event, featuring guest composers and ensembles from the world of New Classical Music. In 2013, the FNMF was redesigned as an ongoing concert series, with a new focus on promoting all new music events within the greater Fresno metropolitan area. Fresno New Music continues to feature guest composers and artists throughout the calendar year; in addition, Fresno New Music also highlights concerts by local artists, composers, and professional music organizations that feature new classical music.


Composition Alumni

  • Leslie Bassett (distinguished alumnus, honorary doctorate)
  • Charles Amirkhanian
  • Mark Carlson
  • Brad Hufft
  • Jeff Atmajian
  • Bob Allaire
  • Nathaniel Dahman (BA: Music, composition option, 2007)
  • Bryce Cannell (MA: Music Performance, composition emphasis, 2009)
  • Patrick Martin (BA: Music, composition option, 2010)


Resources for Current Students

New Music Box:

Society of Composers, Inc.:

Fresno State Chapter page:

New Music USA:

American Composers Forum:

Chamber Music America:

Instrument Studies for Eyes and Ears:

Boosey & Hawkes Online Perusal Catalog (great collection of contemporary scores here!):