Theory/Composition Faculty

Faculty Member Title Contact Biography
Dr. Hiu-Wah Au
Associate Professor of Music Theory
Room 222, Broyhill Music Center
(828) 262-7786
Dr. Nicholas Cline
Dr. Nicholas Cline
Lecturer of Music Theory and Composition
Room 318 Broyhill Music
(828) 262-6443
Dr. Andrew Hannon
Assistant Professor of Music Composition and Theory
Rm 318, Broyhill Music Center
(828) 262-6664
Dr. Jennifer Snodgrass
Professor, Coordinator of Music Theory
Room 419, Broyhill Music Center
(828) 262-7231


The Masters in Theory/Composition is a two-year sequence during which students develop their craft by composing for a variety of instruments and ensembles.  Masters students refine their compositional skill and personal voice through the creation of new works, collaboration with peers, and study of contemporary music. 

Masters students have individual weekly lessons and participate in the Composition Forum. Presentations of original work by students, faculty, and guest artists are an important part of the forum experience. Forums also include group improvisation, professional development activities, and lecture/discussions.  

During their studies, composers will investigate 20th/21st Century repertoire, theoretical techniques, and performance practices. Graduate composers have the opportunity to use the Electronic Music Studio for work with audio, MIDI, live electronics, or synchronizing with film. 

Masters students are expected to begin their professional career through entering competitions, attending conferences and summer programs, developing a website, and collaborating with ensembles.

Assistantships and teaching opportunities may be available.

The composition program at Appalachian State embraces a multitude of stylistic influences and interests. 

Contact Dr. Andrew Hannon at for more information or to schedule an interview.

Admissions Information

General Admission Requirements

Audition/Interview Information:

Students interested in pursuing a masters in music composition should submit their application to the University through the Graduate School.  They should also schedule an interview with Dr. Andrew Hannon and submit the following materials to Dr. Hannon at least two weeks prior to the interview.

  • formal letter of interest, which addresses future goals and plans

  • unofficial college transcripts

  • curriculum vitae, including education, works list, and selected performances

  • 3-5 compositions (in PDF format) along with recordings. Please send you best compositions that represent your compositional voice and style.

If a student has studied composition at the undergraduate level for several semesters, an undergraduate degree in theory/composition is not required, although, most of our incoming graduate students have earned the BA or BM in theory/composition.

Degree Course Requirements

Course Requirements for the Master of Music in Performance Semester Hours Required (minimum): 32 or 35 - varies by concentration - see below
Required Courses
  • AMU 6xxx: Applied Music (8)
  • MUS 5006: Philosophy of Music (3)
  • MUS 5170: Professional and Scholarly Practices for Musicians (3)
  • MUS 5013: History of Musical Style (3) 
  • MUS 5018: Applied Area Literature – topics depend upon concentration (3) 
  • MUS 5600: Analytical Techniques (3)

Music Composition Concentration (Code: 558Z) 
Semester hours required for the degree (minimum): 32

  • MUS 5100: Performance Ensemble (1+1=2) 
  • MUS 5999: Thesis (2-4) 
  • 3-5 s.h. of music electives chosen in consultation with an advisor

Schedule of Course Offerings

Courses offered each Fall Semester:

  • MUS 5170 Professional and Scholarly Practices for Musicians
  • MUS 5600 Analytical Techniques 

Courses offered each Spring Semester:

  • MUS 5006 Philosophy of Music 
  • MUS 5013 History of Musical Style
  • MUS 5602 Music Theory Pedagogy (Even years only)

Assistantships and Scholarships