The bachelor's program 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.

Department of Composition & Music Theory
+43 676 88122 356

Study & Examination Management
+43 676 88122 492

8 semesters / 240 ECTS-AP


Registration deadline
from February each year 
to the dates

Admission examinations
summer semester each year
to the dates


Study & Occupational Fields

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.  

General study information

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 program in Composition is modular in structure. A module is the combination of teaching and learning content into thematically and didactically meaningful units of study. The designations and content descriptions (study objectives) of the individual modules as well as 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 in Composition is a face-to-face program and cannot be offered - not even in parts - as a distance learning program. The courses from the Central Artistic Subject (ZKF) as well as the other Individual Artistic Lessons (KE) are designed to build on each other. The prerequisite for enrollment in courses from the ZKF or KE in each semester - with the exception of the first - is a positive evaluation of the previous semester. In addition to the compulsory subjects in the areas of music theory, musicology and electroacoustic composition, the program includes a large number of free electives in which students have the opportunity to freely choose the content of their studies and to study these at the Mozarteum University as well as at the University of Salzburg and the Salzburg University of Applied Sciences.

Link to semester schedule

For the performances of composition students, the University Mozarteum has a number of venues of different sizes and technical equipment for chamber, ensemble and orchestral music, opera, music theater, drama and performance. Details under: Service & Support

The prerequisite for admission to a Bachelor's degree programme (BA) is passing the admission examination. Online registration is required for this.


  • 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!

Application documents

  • An application portfolio (see Partial Examination A) must be submitted as a PDF file via upload link after the invitation has been issued.

The entrance examination

If you are invited to take the entrance examination on the basis of your application documents, you will have to take the following partial examinations:

A- Portfolio examination & online interview to determine artistic aptitude.

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, 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.

B - Music Theory & Aural Training

Examination of the basic knowledge of general music theory including an aural test.

  • Composition: (120 min)
    • free-tonal or dodecaphonic style exercise
    • Harmonisation of a (chorale) melody
    • Analysis in terms of form, harmony, compositional technique (20th century) 
  • Ear training: (30 min)
    • 1-part freitonal
    • Recognition of intervals and three-part sounds
    • Sound progression 4-part homophonic
    • Rhythm dictation

An example of the examination as well as further help for preparation (only basics!) can be found HERE.

C- examination compulsory subject piano

Audition of approx. 10 minutes. The programme has to consist of two pieces of medium difficulty, one of them from the 20th century. Examples:

  • J.S. Bach: Invention for two or three voices or Prelude and Fugue from the Well-Tempered Clavier.
  • Mozart, Haydn or Beethoven: one movement of a classical sonata
  • Bartok: Microcosm
  • Kurtág: Játékok

D - German language skills

  • Required language level: at least A2 (Common European Framework of Reference CEFR 2001)
  • Information on the German examination as well as the recognised certificates can be found 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.

Dates & time schedule

The dates of the admission examination as well as important deadlines can be found in the current schedule

Time schedule:

  • Examination registration during the application period online via the registration portal for university applicants
    (ATTENTION: Registration only possible if documents are complete, including video!)
  • If the application video 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

Deviating examination method

Please note that the University Mozarteum Salzburg offers various support options for the admission examination 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.

Students of the Bachelor's programme are recommended to complete a semester abroad. Semesters 5 and 6 of the degree programme are particularly suitable for this. In addition to the subject-specific competences, the following qualifications can be acquired through a study period abroad:

  • Acquisition and deepening of subject-specific foreign language skills
  • Acquisition and deepening of general language skills (language comprehension, conversation, etc.)
  • Acquisition and deepening of organisational skills through independent planning of everyday study life in international administrative and university structures
  • Getting to know and studying in international study systems and broadening one's own subject perspective
  • Acquisition and deepening of intercultural competences

The recognition of examinations taken during studies abroad as compulsory subjects, electives or free electives is carried out by the Director of Studies. The documents required for the assessment are to be submitted by the applicant immediately after the stay abroad.

With the Erasmus+ programme, students can study for up to twelve months per study cycle at one of the 65 partner universities in 24 European countries. Credits earned are recognised at the home university. Student mobility outside the EU is possible under several bilateral agreements.

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.

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