Composers' Retreat

July 23 - August 6, 2017

Open to student composers at the graduate and undergraduate level or advanced high school students with significant theory and composition training.

There are few places that are as idyllic as the Blue Ridge Mountains, where our composition students spend two weeks composing, working with esteemed faculty, and honing their craft. Students at the Composers' Retreat will participate in private lessons, group sessions, and numerous workshops. All composition students will be expected to have prepared two works in advance of the summer for an assigned instrumentation. These piece will be given a world premiere performance (with recording) by members of the String Chamber Music Academy and the professional Wintergreen Festival Artists . 


Daron Hagen - Chair of Composition Studies

Gilda Lyons - Composition Faculty

additional faculty includes:

Erin Freeman - Artistic Director, Wintergreen Performing Arts and Director, Richmond Symphony Chorus

Justin Alexander - Chair of Percussion, Virginia Commonwealth University

Aaron Hill - Professor of Oboe, University of Wisconsin

Christopher O'Riley - Pianist and Artist-in-Residence at Wintergreen Summer Music Festival


  • Application Fees: $45 on or before Feb 1, 2016/$65 Feb 2, 2016 and after
  • Tuition: $1100 (scholarships available)
  • Room and Board: $960  (Room and Board includes all food and lodging, free admission to the aquatics center, a Festival t-shirt, admission to all Festival events, and transportation to and from the Charlottesville airport, train station, or bus terminal.)

What to expect

  • Private instruction with Daron Hagen and Gilda Lyons
  • Multiple workshops, including:
    • Compositional process with Daron Hagen and Gilda Lyons
    • Writing for winds with Aaron Hill
    • Career development, marketing, and promotion with Daron Hagen and Gilda Lyons
    • Writing for percussion with Justin Alexander
    • Writing for chorus (including a reading of student choral works) with Erin Freeman
    • Working with a conductor with Erin Freeman
    • Inside Christopher O'Riley's reimagining of the music of Radio Head with Christopher O'Riley
  • A world premiere performance and professional recording of your prepared work for string chamber ensemble, played by students in the String Chamber Music Academy and coached by members of the Wintergreen Festival Orchestra and Composition Academy faculty
  • A world premiere performance of your contribution to a new score to Charlie Chaplin's The Vagabond, performed by the professional Wintergreen Festival Artists
  • Three work-shares with fellow students, led by Daron Hagen and Gilda Lyons
  • Time to compose in the inspiring setting of the Blue Ridge Mountains

Application Deadlines & audition info

February 1 – Early Bird Deadline

March 1 – application review begins.  Applications submitted after this date will be reviewed as positions are available.

Visit and choose the Composers' Retreat from the dropdown menu for complete audition requirements.


With questions or for more information: