Composition

Electronic Music Studio panoramic view

The composition studio in the SF State School of Music envisions a world of art without boundaries or borders. Study concert music composition, game scoring, film scoring, experimental computer music and analog synthesis all in the same studio with a diverse, award-winning faculty. Collaborate across campus with filmmakers, game designers, performers, engineers, poets, dancers, animators, etc.

Prepare for your future with a curriculum that is geared toward the state of the art and the new and exciting career opportunities available to the 21st century musician. Build your portfolio and demo reels with expert mentors, world-class performers and the latest in recording technology.

Concert Music and Experimentation

While we embrace the collaborative disciplines of film and game scoring, we are equally committed to the experimental spirit of new music for its own sake. Our faculty are among the leading voices in contemporary concert and experimental electronic music and are regularly commissioned and performed by top new music ensembles. The School of Music brings a few of these ensembles for residencies every year. Past or current residencies include JACK Quartet, Splinter Reeds, Loadbang, Mivos Quartet, and many others. Composition students get the important opportunity of writing for and getting feedback from these world class musicians. Most critically, our composers build their portfolios with recordings of their works from these reading sessions.

Game Scoring

We are proud to be one of the first universities in the nation to offer a Bachelor of Music degree with an emphasis in scoring for games. Positioned in the Bay Area, the heart of the game world, our program is designed to prepare you to take the next step into this growing industry. Our award-winning faculty have years of experience working in the game industry and developing pioneering educational resources. Our students learn what it takes to be a member of a game design team as they work on co-lab projects with game design students in the computer science department at SF State and the Games and Playable Media department at UC Santa Cruz.

Film Scoring

Our Bachelor of Music degree with an emphasis in Scoring for Film is the only program of its kind in Northern California. It resides next door to the SF State School of Cinema which has been rated among the "Top 25 Film Schools" by The Hollywood Reporter every year since 2014. Our students enjoy the guidance of industry veteran composers who will help you learn the collaborative art of film scoring as you work on original films with SF State students pursuing the cinema degree.

Liberal Education

We recognize that good music -- whether intended for a game, the screen or the concert hall -- has the same basis in invention and creativity. A successful composer must not only develop skills in theory and musicianship but must cultivate a fertile creative soil through a broad liberal arts education. Our rigorous music curriculum paired with the university’s general education program and rich cross-disciplinary, collaborative opportunities makes the composition program at SF State a uniquely powerful educational resource.

 

Composition class led by Prof. Horowitz
The Alexander String Quartet workshops pieces by game scoring students, under the direction of Steve Horowitz

The Studio

Our composition, game and film scoring students have access to state of the art equipment and a super cool studio space. The newly renovated Electronic Music Studio (aka Egret Studio) features Focal Twin6 monitors, Dynaudio 8.1 surround, the latest from Abelton, Logic, Max and Unity, a Moog Sub 37, a collection of Euro-rack modules and a vintage Serge synth as well as an 80 inch HD TV. All of this is housed in an acoustically treated space complete with red couch and shag carpet!

Composition class in the studio

Your Mentors

Steve HorowitzSteven Horowitz is best known for his original score to the Academy Award nominated film Super Size Me. Steve is active in the Bay Area as a composer, bass player, producer, and author. He is also a Grammy winning engineer and the Webby and Kid Screen Award winning audio director for Nickelodeon Digital. The artist behind twenty-three albums of mind bending original music, Steve has also penned the scores for literally hundreds of popular video games.

 

Benjamin SabeyBenjamin Sabey’s experimental electronic, chamber and orchestral music has been described by Gramophone as revealing, “a brilliant technique and a keen ear for sound, timbre and arc.” Recent awards include two Barlow Commissions for the Mivos Quartet and the Neue Vocalsolisten Stuttgart as well as the Royaumont Prize of Domaine Forget in Paris. He has recently been a featured composer at the Ultraschall festival in Berlin and the SoundOn and NWEAMO festivals in San Diego. Sabey holds a Ph.D. from the University of California, San Diego where he studied primarily with Roger Reynolds.

Videos

Composition Scoring for Games and Films 1