Composition Summer Course

Apply now for Composition Summer Course
student on short course

Key information:

Course dates:
Mon 25–Fri 29 July 2022
Course times:
9.30am–5.30pm, BST (UTC+1)
Art form:
Fees with accommodation:
9am, Friday 8 July 2022
Level of study:
Short Courses and Summer Schools
Mode of study:
Guildhall School of Music & Drama

Course info

Apply now for Composition Summer Course

  • Please note that the course is currently at capacity so further applicants will be added to a waiting list. 
  • The deadline for applications is 9am on Friday 8 July 2022.

Ages 14–21

Course Dates & Times

Monday 25–Friday 29 July 2022
9am–5.30pm daily, BST (UTC+1)

About Composition Summer Course

This one-week in-person 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 will be 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 (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

Course fee: £525
Course fee + Bed, Breakfast & Dinner: £1035

Participation Bursaries are available for this course. (Please note the application deadline for participation bursaries is 13 June 2022).

Apply now for Composition Summer Course

  • Please note that the course is currently at capacity so further applicants will be added to a waiting list. 
  • The deadline for applications is 9am on Friday 8 July 2022.



Check-in: 4-6pm, Sunday 24 July 2022
Check-out: 10am, Saturday 30 July 2022

Accommodation is located in Sundial Court, the School's student halls of residence. Rooms will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. Should we not be able to facilitate your booking, you will be notified via email and a full refund will be issued.

    About the Course Tutor

    The course is led by Paul Whitmarsh, teacher of composition and music theory at both Guildhall and Junior Guildhall.

    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.

    Much of Paul's recent music is for chamber or vocal groups, with strong visual, literary or dramatic stimuli as starting points. Such pieces include I still can sing for solo tenor and choir, commissioned by the 2008 Bath Bach Festival and premiered in Bath Abbey, and All These Confessions for violin and piano, inspired by a set of screenprints by Patrick Caulfield and composed for the 2006 BMIC Cutting Edge series.

    Paul read music at Clare College, Cambridge, before studying composition with Julian Anderson at the Royal College of Music. Music education is a huge passion, one that has its roots in three years as 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 currently teaches in the composition and academic music departments at the Guildhall School, and also teaches composition at Wells Cathedral School.

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