The bachelor's programme in composition offers comprehensive training in ear training, work analysis, music history and harmony, as well as in piano and score playing, improvisation and conducting. Students gain competencies in all areas of contemporary music (solo literature, chamber music, vocal solo and ensemble music, choral music, orchestral instrumentation) as well as with regard to its stylistic and aesthetic diversity.


General information

The course of study is oriented both to the current state of development and development of the arts and to the state of research in the sciences involved. The goal of the artistic studies is the practice-oriented and scientifically founded professional preparation for the following fields which are offered to the students:

  • Composer
  • Teaching composition
  • Arrangement and applied composition, stage music and performance
  • Supervision of performers of contemporary music
  • Performer as conductor
  • Performer as performing musician
  • Sound and recording studio, music production

The study program serves to qualify students for professional activities in all institutions relevant to music: Festivals, radio and television stations, recording industry, artists' agencies, music management, publishing houses, trade journals, etc., in which the application of artistic and scientific knowledge and methods is required. In addition, the program contributes to the development of the students' personality and social skills. Students are enabled to perceive and help shape artistic and societal developments.

Guest lecturers include Helmut Lachenmann, Steve Reich, Manfred Trojan, Marc André, Agata Zubel, Michael Maierhof, Mauro Lanza, Jean-Luc Hervé, Yann Robin, Curtis Roads, Barry Truax and many more.  

The aim of the study programme is to bring students to the best possible development of their creative or reflective abilities and to impart a confident handling of musical material in all genres (instrumental, vocal and electronic music). The composition programme at the Mozarteum University is characterised by the fact that, in addition to the legally prescribed free electives, students take electives that form an individual focus during their studies.

Obvious specialisations for the study of composition are, for example, Electronic Music and Audiovisual Media, Musicology, Early Music, New Music, Conducting, Jazz and Popular Music and Applied Composition. Students can choose from the courses offered by various institutes of the Mozarteum University and the Paris Lodron University Salzburg.

The curriculum is competence-oriented. The following key qualifications are required:

  • Above-average creativity, general and musical intelligence and communicative, social and linguistic competence.
  • Ability and willingness to reflect as well as to engage in dialogue about one's own artistic works and views.

Upon completion of the programme, students should be able to:

  • be proficient in the creation of a wide variety of works of contemporary composition, both aesthetically and technically
  • be free and independent in their artistic work
  • critically engage with artistic and scientific issues
  • have acquired comprehensive knowledge of music theory and musicology and are able to apply it practically
  • have mastered the basics of academic work and are able to analyse, interpret and write up artistic content in a well-founded manner
  • be able to use new media effectively
  • develop their individual interests in the sense of lifelong learning beyond their own subject area through targeted in-depth study within the framework of (free) elective

The eight-semester bachelor's degree programme is modular in structure. Each module comprises teaching and learning content that has been combined to form thematically and didactically meaningful units of study. The names and content descriptions (study objectives) of the individual modules, the number of ECTS credits to be achieved for each module, and the type of performance assessment are specified in the curriculum. The module descriptions refer to the corresponding learning outcomes and competencies. The Bachelor's program is a face-to-face program and cannot be offered - not even in part - as a distance learning program. The courses from the Principal Study, as well as in other One-to-One Tuition, are designed to build upon each other. Prerequisite for enrolment in courses from the Principal Study or One-to-One Tutition is a positive evaluation of the previous semester (from the second semester onwards).

The curriculum provides an overview of the courses to be completed, which are grouped into module groups.

The courses are visible online in Curriculum Support:

Link to the semester schedule

A prerequisite for beginning a bachelor's degree (BA) is passing an audition. Auditions take place once a year and consist of various partial exams. All information about the audition can be found under “Information about the admissions procedure” further down the page.

A high school diploma is not necessary.

PLEASE NOTE: You can only apply for study programmes for which you have not yet obtained a degree!

Students of the Bachelor's programme are encouraged to complete a semester abroad. Semesters 5 and 6 of the degree programme are particularly suitable for this. In addition to subject-specific competences, a study period abroad can also lead to the acquisition and deepening of:

  • Subject-specific foreign language skills
  • General foreign-language skills (language comprehension, conversation, etc.)
  • Organisational skills, through independent planning of everyday student life in international administrative and university structures
  • Knowledge about international study systems, as well as broadening one's own subject perspective
  • Intercultural competences

Examinations and assessments taken during studies abroad can be approved by the Director of Studies as equivalents to compulsory subjects, elective sujects or free elective subjects required by the Mozarteum University for your degree course. The documents required for the approval procedure are to be submitted by the applicant immediately after their exchange semester.

Details at International Affairs.

In addition to individual lessons in composition, a central content of the programme is practical work with renowned ensembles such as the oenm . österreichisches ensembles für neue musik, Kairos Quartett, Ensemble Recherche, Ensemble Phorminx, Ensemble Integrales, Ensemble Handwerk, Ensemble Mosaik, among others, who are invited to the Mozarteum University for a work phase followed by a concert. In addition, students are offered a variety of individual cooperation opportunities with other areas of the university, such as the Thomas Bernhard Institute or with the Departments of Scenography, Opera & Music Theatre and Fine Arts & Design.

The Studio for Electronic Music offers composition students exclusive opportunities to work in the field of electronic, electroacoustic and computer-assisted composition. A wide variety of multi-channel productions can be realised in two digital and one analogue studio.

Composition training at the Mozarteum University is networked in many ways with the cultural infrastructure of the city of Salzburg. There are cooperations with various venues, and the Mozarteum is also closely connected with the city's renowned contemporary music festivals. Works by Mozarteum composition students are regularly performed at the Aspekte Festival, the stART Festival and the Pocket Opera Festival.

The Institute for New Music organises all activities in the field of New Music that are relevant to the study programme and go beyond it, from the supervision of individual students to cooperations between several classes, departments and other internal and external institutions. Special importance is attached to the cooperation between the instrumental and composition classes. The Institute for New Music thus offers students and teachers the opportunity to experience the entire spectrum of contemporary music across all studies:

  • The Ensemble for New Music of the Mozarteum University works with students on the programmes of the "Doppler" concert series.
  • Renowned interpreters of New Music enrich the concert programme at the Mozarteum University with exclusive programmes.
  • Selected composers from Austria and abroad complement the educational programme with presentations and seminars.

In addition, the institute organises the annual Crossroads Festival. Young composition students from all over Europe can apply for one of up to 15 world premieres, which are performed by various international ensembles of new music during the festival at the Mozarteum.

Information on the admission process

The prerequisite for for starting a bachelor's degree (BA) is passing the admission test. Therefore you must first register online. After receiving the invitation, an application portfolio (see exam A) must be submitted as a PDF file using the upload link.

The examination committee will make a selection based on the application portfolios submitted. The selected applicants will be invited to take part of the exam A (online interview) and, if the result is positive, will then be invited to the on-site admission test. This consists of several partial exams.


  • The assessment of the application documents takes place after the application deadline and can take 2-4 weeks!
  • You can only apply for studies for which you have not yet obtained a degree!

Registration takes place via the application portal [Link], where you must first create an application account. Please note that the automatic email to activate the account can often be found in the spam folder, so please be sure to check there if you think you have not received it. If you still have problems activating your account, please contact

Please ensure that you can be reached at the email address entered in your profile throughout the entire application process. If there are any changes, please update your profile yourself.

The oral examination in the ZKF Composition, lasting approx. 20 minutes, takes place via ZOOM and consists of two parts (portfolio and interview).

Applicants present their own works created prior to their studies (e.g. solo, chamber music, ensemble, orchestral, electro-acoustic or media works in the form of sketches, scores, recordings, films, etc.) and discuss their content and aesthetics with the examination board. Links to their own works are to be included in the portfolio (= PDF file of all works). In addition, there will be a discussion on motivation, background, previous studies, repertoire knowledge 20th/21st century, expectations or professional perspectives.

The portfolio must be submitted to the ACOnet Filesender after registration. You will receive an upload link from the relevant department secretariat as part of the invitation to the entrance examination. A coherent PDF must be created and uploaded as soon as you receive the invitation or the upload link. Please ensure that you are available with a good internet connection at the specified time of the online interview (probably mid-April); a PC/laptop with camera/microphone is also necessary.

After passing Partial Examination A, you will be admitted to Partial Examinations B-D.

The examination consists of a written and an oral part. In order to pass, both parts of the examination must be passed.

Written examination (180 min)

Composition: (120 min)

  • Harmonising a chorale melody in baroque style;
  • Preparation of a stylistic work of your choice: two-part counterpoint (cantus-firmus movement in Renaissance style or invention in Baroque style) OR free-tonal or dodecaphonic style exercise;
  • Analysis of your choice: analysis of a short tonal piano piece in terms of form, harmony, compositional technique OR analysis of a small-scale work/piano piece in terms of form, harmony, compositional technique (20th century).

Ear training: (60 min)

  • one-part free tonal,
  • two-part classical (e.g. minuet by Mozart or Haydn),
  • free-tonal three-part tonal progression with recumbent notes or chromaticism,
  • four-part homophonic tonal including mishearing

Oral examination (10 min):

  • Singing from the reed,
  • Listening to mistakes in a polyphony,
  • tapping a two-part rhythm (according to notation)

You can find an exam example and further preparation help (only the basics!) HERE.


Advanced piano playing, audition lasting approx. 10 minutes:

  • Performance of two prepared piano pieces of medium difficulty, one of them from the 20th century, e.g.:
    Bach: two- or three-part invention;
    a piano piece in the classical style (e.g. a bagatelle by Beethoven, a sonata movement by Clementi),
    Bartók: Mikrokosmos Vol. III, Kurtág: Játékok Vol. III.
  • Sight-reading of a piece (lower level of difficulty, e.g. Bach: Klavierbüchlein Anna Magdalena Bach, Schumann: Album für die Jugend, Bartók Mikrokosmos Vol. II) OR improvisation on a given theme/motif

All applicants whose first language is not German must prove their German skills by the time of enrolment at the latest.

  • Required language level: at least A2 (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages GER 2001)
  • Information on the approved language certificates can be found HERE

The dates for 2024 can be found here.

A complete overview of all current entrance exam dates is here.

After passing Partial Examination A, you will be admitted to Partial Examinations B-D (possibly in a different order). The repetition of the sub-examinations A-C in case of failure is not permitted. The admission examination can only be repeated in its entirety and only in the next academic year. The admission examination can be repeated an unlimited number of times.

Time schedule:

  • Examination registration during the application period online via the registration portal for university applicants
    (ATTENTION: Registration only possible if information is complete!)
  • If the portfolio and zoom interview is positive: Invitation to the on-site entrance examination
  • Participation in the on-site admission test in May/June
  • if you pass the admission test: invitation to enrol for the degree programme
  • Enrolment during the general admission period

Please note that the Mozarteum University Salzburg offers various support options at the time of your audition and during your studies if you have a disability or a chronic illness.

If this applies to you and you would like to take advantage of counselling, please contact Claudia Haitzmann: oder +43 676 88122 337.

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