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Sculpture outside of Battelle Fine Arts Center

Composition at Otterbein

If you are interested in music composition, Otterbein is an exciting place to be! Our department has a lot of enthusiasm for new music, and there are many opportunities to write music and get your work performed. Students can take courses in composition, take private lessons, and compose for student ensembles.  We frequently bring in distinguished guest artists to share their own work and/or work with students on their compositions.

We offer a concentration in Music Theory and Composition as part of the Bachelor of Arts degree. In addition to studying a primary instrument and taking the core curriculum, students with the concentration take additional theory courses, composition classes and lessons, and electronic music. They complete a final project which culminates in some sort of public performance, like a composition recital or a reading session or performance with a large ensemble.

You don’t have to be a Theory/Comp major to study composition. Students in all of the degree tracks, like Education and Performance, can (and do) take composition classes. Everyone who studies composition has an opportunity to get their work performed, whether it is on the annual Student Composition Recital, their own performance recital, or by student ensembles like Concert Choir or Wind Ensemble.

If performing new music is also up your alley, Red Noise (our contemporary music ensemble) is open to any musician interested in performing contemporary repertoire, regardless of degree interest.

In addition to the curricular offerings in composition, we have a student chapter of Society of Composers, Inc., which is a national organization dedicated to the promotion, performance, understanding and dissemination of new and contemporary music. And our proximity to Columbus means that it is easy to attend performances of new music happening around the city, like New Music at Short North Stage.

Composition Faculty

Jennifer Merkowitz

Jennifer Merkowitz

Associate Professor
Head of Composition and Music Theory

Battelle Fine Arts Center 109
p/ 614.823.1807
e/ jmerkowitz@otterbein.edu

Jennifer Bernard Merkowitz is Associate Professor of Music at Otterbein, where she is Head of Theory and Composition. She also teaches aural skills and electronic music. She received her MM and DMA in Composition from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, and she holds a BA in Music and a BS in Computer Science from the University of Richmond. Dr. Merkowitz is a composer, pianist, and violist whose diverse inspirations have included liturgical chant, basketball games, the growth patterns of plants, and frog calls.