Composition Summer Course

Apply Now for Composition Summer Course
A flautist, cellist and violinist workshopping a composition.

Key information:

Course dates:
Mon 24 July – Fri 28 July 2023
Course times:
Art form:
5pm, Sunday 9 July 2023
Level of study:
Short Courses & Summer Schools (ages 18+) | Short Courses & Summer Schools, Workshops & Saturday Centres (ages 4-18)
Mode of study:
Guildhall School of Music & Drama
Summer Schools (July–August)

Course info

Apply Now
  • Spaces are limited so early booking is encouraged
  • Bookings will close at 5pm on Sunday 9 July 2023 or when the course reaches full capacity
  • Please note that accommodation in Sundial Court isn't available in 2023

Ages 14–21

Course Dates & Times

Monday 24–Friday 28 July 2023

About Composition Summer Course

This five-day course is a unique opportunity for you to develop your composition skills and write a piece for a small instrumental ensemble. You will work with a composition teacher and performers on your own music and learn about writing for instruments and developing ideas.

The course, which is led by Guildhall Composition and Music Theory Professor Paul Whitmarsh, will culminate in a showcase where you will get to hear your work performed.

Who is the course for?

Young composers aged 14–21.

What can I expect?

During the week you will:

  • Participate in group composition classes, where you will explore aspects of technique, notation, instrumental writing and how to work with your ideas
  • Receive one-to-one composition tuition
  • Work with instrumentalists to try out ideas
  • Write a piece for small instrumental ensemble throughout the week
  • Hear your piece workshopped, rehearsed and then performed in an end-of-course showcase
  • Receive a mastered audio recording of your piece
Do I need anything for the course?
  • If possible, please bring a laptop with music notation software (e.g. Sibelius/MuseScore/Dorico) installed.
How to Apply

Click the ‘apply now’ button and complete the application form, which consists of the following:

  • 250 words outlining your composition experience and what you hope to gain from the course
  • Upload one completed composition of any style that is at least two minutes long and is fully notated. This should be submitted as a .pdf file – it can be either handwritten and scanned, or notated using computer software. You may also submit an audio file should you wish, but this is not essential.
"A wonderful and useful experience for me and really enjoyable, I would definitely recommend this."

– Jago, Composition Summer Course, 2021

Course Fee


Participation Bursaries are available for this course. (Please note the application deadline for participation bursaries is 12 June 2023.)

Apply Now
  • Spaces are limited so early booking is encouraged
  • Bookings will close at 5pm on Sunday 9 July 2023 or when the course reaches full capacity
  • Please note that accommodation in Sundial Court isn't available in 2023


  • For everyone aged 14-21.
  • Some prior experience with composition (as listed above).
  • Participants must have sufficient English language skills to cope with course demands.

    About the Course Tutor

    The course is taught by composer Paul Whitmarsh who teaches in the composition and academic music departments at Guildhall School.

    Paul also teaches composition at Wells Cathedral School. He read music at Clare College, Cambridge, before studying composition with Julian Anderson at the Royal College of Music. Music education is a huge passion, with previous job roles including Composer-in-Residence at Bedford School between 2002 and 2005 and three subsequent years as Maingot Trust Fellow in New Music at The Warehouse, London.

    Paul's music has been performed at many festivals throughout the UK, including Aldeburgh, Spitalfields, Cheltenham, Deal, Hampstead and Highgate, Tête à Tête, the bmic Cutting Edge series, and the Park Lane Group New Year Series. Recent commissions include Lullaby for Choir and Organ magazine, premiered by the Joyful Company of Singers in 2010; Pealing Out, premiered by the Galliard Ensemble in 2009; and Berceuse in a Box for the 2007 Cheltenham Festival. His compositions have also been performed by, amongst others, Elizabeth Watts, Huw Watkins, David Campbell, Alexandra Wood, Daniel Becker, Chroma, and the Warehouse Ensemble.

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