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EIU Master of Arts in Music

MA in Music:  Composition Concentration

The Master of Arts in Music:  Composition Concentration offers students the opportunity for in-depth study of music composition at EIU.  This program combines private instruction in composition and studio performance with courses in research, music theory, and music history.  The two-year program culminates in a final project that typically involves the public performance of one or more original compositions.  Because the program allows students to continue applied performance study, the public performances may feature the composer also as a performer or conductor. 

If you are interested in learning more about this program, please contract Dr. Bradley Decker. Click here to receive additional information.

Graduates of the program may wish continue on to earn a doctoral degree in composition or music theory.  Graduates may also seek careers as film or free-lance composers or music educators. The program is flexible enough to provide students options to prepare them for their professional careers in the best way possible.

Entering masters students in the Composition Concentration have typically majored in composition as an undergraduate student.  In addition to applying to the Graduate School through My.EIU, prospective Composition Concentrations students should submit scores and recordings of original compositions to Dr. Anna Cromwell at the address listed below.  See the Apply Now website for additional information.


Mail hard copies to:


Or send via email to


Department of Music
Eastern Illinois University
600 Lincoln Avenue
Charleston, IL 61920 



Concentration Director:  Dr. Bradley Decker

DeckerBrad Decker is a composer, improviser, and educator in new music composition, multimedia, and sound art. He performs as a double-bassist and sound artist using structured improvisation and live computer processing in numerous capacities, namely solo works, group ensemble collaboration, video art installations, and film soundtracks. Notable performances have been in Mexico, Australia, Italy, France, Brazil, and Canada, as well as at numerous venues in the United States




Composition Concentration Curriculum 

  • MUS 5100 - Introduction to Research in Music, 3 credits
  • MUS 5170 - Analytical Techniques, 3 credits
  • MUS 5880 - Seminar in Music History, 3 credits
  • MUS 4760 - Seminar and Practicum in Music Instruction, 2 credits
  • MUS 5940 - Graduate Performance Project, 0 credits
  • MUS 5570 - Graduate Composition, 14 credits total (3 credits per semester during the first year and 4 credits per semester during the second year)
  • MUS 5990A - Independent Study I, 2 credits
  • Applied Instruction (vocal or instrumental), 1 credit
  • Electives - 4 credits

Total Credits - 32 credits

Notes:  Composition Concentration students must demonstrate proficiency in counterpoint and orchestration.  If proficiency is not met, remedial coursework may be required. 

Graduate Exams and Performance Project:

  • Students in the performance, composition, and conducting concentrations must pass oral comprehensive examinations and complete a graduate performance project.  
  • Oral exams will be given during the final semester by members of the Department of Music Graduate Faculty.  
  • In MUS 5941 (Graduate Performance Project Performance) the students demonstrate competency as a performer, composer, or conductor. This performance project may include a lecture component and will includes program notes.

 Notable Graduates:

RheumeMark Rheume (2015), the 2015 Hamand Scholar.  This award, named in honor of the first dean of The Graduate School, Dr. Lavern Hamand, recognizes degree-seeking graduate candidates nominated from among the class of Distinguished Graduate Students whose achievements in both scholarship and service have had a documented impact on the discipline and the community. The quality and impact of the scholarship and service achievements of Hamand Society Scholars reflect the highest ideals of the engaged graduate student.  

Mark has written numerous large-ensemble works, such as his ballet The Earth without Water and Symphony No.1, Symposium for seven soloists.  He is the winner of the James K. Johnson Creative Writing Award 2014, and was a finalist for the Graham R. Lewis Memorial Poetry Award, 2014.  As an enthusiast of composer Erik Satie, he organized an audio installation of Satie’s Vexations, which included 840 continuous performances of the work over 18 hours, on a MIDI-acoustic piano.



CauduroCongratulations to Aldroaldo Cauduro (2000) for being selected as a 2015 Class of Outstanding Graduate Alumni.

Adroaldo Cauduro is a composer and conductor, with a master's degree in music and conducting from Eastern Illinois University, a bachelor of music and conducting from the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS), and a bachelor of civil engineering from the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul (PUCRS). He has developed his career in a diversified manner, acting as a manager, university professor, researcher, artist, and conductor. His educational background includes diverse areas of knowledge anchored in differentiated experiences, practices that enabled him to develop a broad, flexible, and inclusive vision of the world. In fact, the social and community issues, the pursuit of a better, fairer, more citizen-centered society, where everyone can have a decent life with quality, have always guided his actions. Upon completion of his graduate degree in the United States in 2000, Adroaldo returned to Porto Alegre and joined the UFRGS Music Course as a faculty member. Since 2001, he has lived in Manaus-Amazonas and until 2006, he worked in the Lutheran University of Brazil -ULBRA, acting as the Coordinator of Culture and conductor of the Chamber Orchestra and Choir of the institution.

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Contact Information

Music Department

2620 Doudna
600 Lincoln Avenue
Charleston, IL 61920
(217) 581-3010

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