, Charles T. Wilson Professor in the Practice of Composition at YSM, has taught at the school for almost 40 years. Having studied at the University of Hartford, Stanford University, and the Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst in Vienna, he went on to teach young musicians at different institutions around the world, including the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester, and the Royal Academy of Music in London.
Teaching alongside extraordinary faculty consisting of Christopher Theofanidis, Hannah Lash, Aaron Jay Kernis, and David Lang, the professors are looking for the most talented composers they could find. "We typically, at any given year, have applicants that number about 175, and we have openings for five students," Martin says, explaining just how competitive it is to get into the school. "This is a very small window that students have to get into our program." Because of that, you have to send your best music in the best performances that you can record, since your colleagues are doing the same.
The professor admits that the faculty has a terrible time picking only five to six people out of 175 because they have wonderful applicants coming in that they just can't admit. There is also the interview part, which you will get invited to if you seem like a good prospect to the school. "We only interview 12 people, and you get to sit and talk to us … about music, and [we] get to know you," Martin tells me.
Although you have other requirements in the application process such as GRE, the professor says it is almost a formality. "The most important thing by far is whether we think that the music is exciting, lively, and interesting," he mentions. "There is nothing you can study, there is no book you can read, you just write the very best and most imaginative music you can, get it performed beautifully, and take your chance."