Composer Resources

Undergraduate composition: Getting your work performed

Undergraduate composers have organized as the Harvard Composers Association and can be contacted at

Undergraduates looking to have their compositions played have a number of options. Coursework in composition usually includes a final performance of new work. Student composers are also welcome to submit work to the Blodgett Composition Competition annually (for string quartet); the winning piece is premiered by the Quartet-in-Residence during a Blodgett Chamber Music concert in Paine Hall. The Bach Society also runs an annual composition competition. Senior thesis recitals consist of performance of original compositions. Informally, students also write pieces for musical groups on campus. [Read about one composer’s experience at Harvard here]

The Harvard Group for New Music, a graduate student organization, invites undergraduates to submit work for performance in one annual concert, the Goldberg concert.

Students who write for strings may request that the Quartet-in-Residence read and play their piece for them so that they can hear its full potential. This is a service provided by the Music Department, and is available to all students on campus regardless of concentration.

Students who would like to produce their own concerts are encouraged to do so. The Office for the Arts offers a grant program to support artistic efforts (as well as an annual arts festival that showcases student concerts), and Harvard offers a number of resources to assist student producers.

Composition Prizes

Financial prizes are awarded annually for completed compositional work. The Music Department awards the Bohemians Prize (original composition), the Francis Boott Prize (concerted vocal music), the George Arthur Knight Prize (string quartets or trios, or works with piano accompaniment), the Hugh F. MacColl Bequest (original composition), and the John Green Fund, awarded for musical excellence. Read more about composition prizes.