This is the twenty second annual Aspen Composers' Conference. Speakers will present one-hour lectures on their own work, on the work of a colleague, or on a topic related to the art of composition. The Aspen Composers' Conference aims at providing a forum for composers to meet with one another, and to interact on a professional level.
Requirements of participants
The Aspen Composers' Conference aims at bringing together as many active composers as possible in order to acquaint one another with each other's work, and provide an environment for the exchange of ideas regarding the art of composition. To this end, there are no formal requirements of participants, other than that they have completed at least one degree in music at an accredited college or university. It is not required that participants hold degrees in composition, or be currently employed as musicians. At this time, no honorariums are paid to Conference participants.
Applicants wishing to make a presentation are requested to submit the title of their presentation and a brief summary. There are no other application requirements of Conference participants. For titles of presentations from previous Aspen Composers' Conferences see "Past Conference Presentations" link following this page.
No additional information is required of Conference guests who wish to attend but who will not be making a presentation.
Scope of presentation
Participants are invited to prepare an hour-long presentation in one of the following categories:
A. Musical analysis of their own work
Speakers are invited to analyze one of their own compositions in structural, theoretical and/or historical terms. Specific musical examples of passages discussed should be demonstrated visually and/or aurally. Speakers are also invited to perform specific passages on the keyboard, or an instrument of their choice. Recorded performances of works are also permitted, but must be played in conjunction with the scope of the presentation of that work. Because the Conference is analysis-oriented rather than performance-oriented, live performances of complete works by performers other than the composer are not permitted.
B. Musical analysis of the work of a contemporary, living composer
Speakers may choose to do a presentation of a work written by a contemporary colleague. The style of presentation should be done in the same manner as described for presentations of one's own work, above.
C. Literary topics related to musical composition
This is a much broader topic than those limited to musical analysis, but it is hoped that presentations will be limited to discussions of parallels between the art of writing literature and the art of composition. Examples may include the literary output of participants as it relates to their compositions, or the description in literature of the composing process i.e. Thomas Mann's "Doktor Faustus", Milan Kundera's "Testaments Betrayed", or any work by Peter Dronke. The scope of this category will not be limited to the works of living composers or authors.
D. An examination of the creative process
This is the broadest of suggested topics for presentation, but of no lesser importance. Presentations in this category should examine aspects of the creative process from a subjective, philosophical and/or sociological standpoint, either from personal experience or as described by other commentators. The role of the creative artist in society should also be examined, from an historical perspective to the present. It is hoped that presentations in this category will ignite an examination of the role of the composer in contemporary society, the problems which are encountered, and possible solutions.
All papers presented at the Conference are published in the Proceedings of the Aspen Composers' Conference for that year. Copies of the proceedings may be purchased from conference organizers.
The Aspen Composers' Conference is held at the Aspen Institute or at the Red Brick Center for the Arts in Aspen, Colorado.
Accommodations for Conference participants
The Aspen Composers' Conference is not in a position at this time to offer financial assistance to participants. Participants will thus be required to make their own arrangements for accommodations for the duration of the Conference. Current information on accommodations in
Please address all communications regarding the Conference to:
Deadline for submission of proposals is 30 June, 2020