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Music Composition Academies

Black Hills State University

Monday, July 10 – Friday, July 14 2023

The South Dakota Symphony Orchestra invites you to be part of the Music Composition Academy! This Academy will serve as a catalyst for community in the Black Hills area while teaching students to express creativity and write original music. Daily music composition lessons and activities will be part of the Academy; with an emphasis in finding human commonalities.


How to Apply

Complete the following application form by Friday, May 12, 2023

Selection Process

Staff composers will choose the Academy participants.  A total of 10-15 students will be chosen for this year’s Academy.


  • Ages – Middle school through high school age students
  • Must have a desire to learn about music and music composition.
  • Basic knowledge of reading music (can read music in either bass or treble clef or tablature, knowledge of note values, rhythm, dynamics, etc.).
  • Can play a musical instrument reasonably proficiently.


Lodging is free to students and provided in part by the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra on the campus of Black Hills State University.


  • Students must attend all days of academy including private lessons in music composition.
  • Participate in an evaluation process.


There is no cost to attend the Music Composition Academy. Students must be committed to attending all activities to participate. Students will be provided with lunch during the Music Composition Academy.

We will be housed in Bordeaux Hall on the BHSU campus.

Academy Schedule

Students will have daily one-on-one composition lessons with our composition staff and at the conclusion of the music academy have a fully formed piece of music for either string quartet or wind quintet. Students will work and collaborate directly with the professional musicians of the SDSO who will give a public performance of their completed compositions.

(subject to change)

July Academy Daily Schedule

8:00am Breakfast

9:00am Warm ups

10:00am Group composition discussion/workshops

11:00am Composition time

12:00pm Lunch

1:00pm Composing time/Activities

2:30pm Discussion/Seminar/Composition

5:00pm Wrap up

5:30pm Dinner

6:00 – 11:00pm Activities (waterpark/movies/games/s’mores/etc)

*This is what a typical day COULD look like for the Academy.  This is not an official schedule of events for the week.*

September Performance Schedule

September TBD, 2023

TBD – A weekend in late September will be scheduled for rehearsals of your pieces as well as formal performances at Black Hills State University.




September TBD, 2023

DSQ and DWQ performances for your school(s) during the school day.  Students do not need to be present at all schools but highly encouraged to be in attendance at the school they attend.


About Theodore Wiprud

Theodore Wiprud is a composer, educator, arts leader, father, and outdoorsman.  He often explores different musical cultures in his own music, most often Korean traditional music, known as gugak.  Some of his major works include a Sinfonietta (2016), premiered by the South Dakota Symphony; a Violin Concerto (Katrina), composed for Ittai Shapira and released with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic on Champs Hill Records; a one-act opera, My Last Duchess, with libretto by Tom Dulack based on poetry by Robert Browning; a dramatic song cycle created with poet Emma Stace Darling, called Girl on Fire; and a number of pieces featuring gugak instruments like p’iri, gayageum, and haegeum. Many of his works explore spiritual experience, like the orchestral works Hosannas of the Second Heaven and Grail.  Other works respond to American literature, including American Journal, based on Robert Hayden’s poem, and A Georgia Song, a setting of Maya Angelou.

Mr. Wiprud is widely known for having served as Vice President, Education, at the New York Philharmonic from 2004-2018, and as host of the iconic Young People’s Concerts.  He is Co-Chair of the New York City Arts in Education Roundtable and a consultant in education and music.