Dr. David Vayo
Dr. David Vayo

The Composition, Music History, and Theory Department includes the areas of composition, music history, music theory, and world music.  Whether students major in composition or take departmental courses as part of another program--or as electives--they work with professors who are not only distinguished in the professional world but who are also dedicated and gifted as teachers. 


The department’s faculty includes

Mario J. Pelusi Director of the School of Music, a composer/theorist/conductor who also directs the  IWU Summer Music Composition I nstitute
David Vayo a Guggenheim award-winning composer who coordinates the campus visits of nationally and internationally-renowned composers and performers 
Stephen Press, an authority on Prokofiev and Russian music and a pre-concert lecturer for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Adriana Ponce,  a scholar of Schumann, Chopin and early 19th-century musical form who presents her work at European and American conferences 
Joseph Plazak, an active researcher in the field of music cognition and coordinator of IWU's music psychology lab group


Students in all music degree programs take a number of courses in the department, including music theory and ear training, a two-semester survey of music history, and a selection of courses focusing on concert music of particular historical periods.   Students in the BM in Composition program work individually with faculty composers every semester on creative projects, participate regularly in student composition concerts, and give a senior recital of their music.  Other courses offered by the department (many of which are required for composition majors) include orchestration, counterpoint, electronic and computer music, special topics in music history, analysis of contemporary music, world music, improvisation, and jazz.

Illinois Wesleyan has one of the most active new-music scenes of any liberal arts college in the United States.  The Symposium of Contemporary Music, the New Music Café concert series, and other events regularly bring prominent composers and performers of contemporary music to campus for performances, discussions and master classes.  New music is regularly programmed in concerts of IWU’s instrumental and choral ensembles, and student composition recitals are presented regularly as a part of the New Music Series every semester.  Students interested in performing, composing and/or learning about contemporary music will find many opportunities here.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or would like more information about the offerings of the Composition, Music History, and Theory Department.

Dr. David Vayo
Head, Composition, Music History and Theory Department
Fern Rosetta Sherff Professor of Composition and Theory
Coordinator of New Music Activities

Composition, Music History, and Music Theory Faculty
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