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Composers' Retreat

July 15 - July 29, 2018

Applications may be considered after March 1 pending available space.

Contact Academy@WintergreenPerformingArts.Org for specifics.

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

The Program

 Artistic Director Erin Freeman conducts Wintergreen Festival Artists in the world premiere performance of the score to Charlie Chaplin's  The Vagabond -  Music by the 2017 Composition Students

Artistic Director Erin Freeman conducts Wintergreen Festival Artists in the world premiere performance of the score to Charlie Chaplin's The Vagabond - Music by the 2017 Composition Students

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 explore the intricacies of film and art song composition, receiving world premiere performances and recordings of each genre. Studies include private lessons, group workshops, working with conductors and singers, and writing for chorus, vocal solo, and instruments.

What to expect

  • Private instruction with Daron Hagen and Gilda Lyons, to include: 1 hour Skype composition lesson with Daron Hagen in advance of the Festival; 1 hour lesson with Daron Hagen during the Festival; 1 hour lesson with Gilda Lyons during the Festival
  • Composer work-shares with Daron Hagen and Gilda Lyons
  • Multiple classes, including: Intellectual property and clearing texts with Daron Hagen, Contemporary vocal techniques with Gilda Lyons, Writing for winds with Aaron Hill, Working with the solo singer with Arianna Zukerman, Writing for collaborative piano with Peter Marshall, Three sessions in writing for chorus with Erin Freeman
  • A world premiere performance and professional recording of one Art Song, performed by members of the Vocal Academy
  • A world premiere performance of your contribution to a new score to Buster Keaton’s The Boat, performed by the professional Wintergreen Festival Artists
  • Time to compose in the inspiring setting of the Blue Ridge Mountains
  • Guidance in composition of (at least): one choral work, one art song, a portion of a score to Buster Keaton’s The Boat 


additional faculty includes:

  • Erin Freeman - Artistic Director, Wintergreen Performing Arts and Director, Richmond Symphony Chorus
  • Arianna Zukerman - Chair of Vocal Studies, Wintergreen Summer Music Academy
  • Aaron Hill - Professor of Oboe, University of Wisconsin
  • More faculty announced soon!

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.
  • Application Requirements:
    • A 500-word maximum narrative biography
    • Current resume, including a list of compositions
    • PDFs of three (3) scores
    • mp3 or midi recording of at least two (2) scores submitted
    • One letter of recommendation
    • Applications accepted from advanced high school through post-graduate students.
    • Composers wishing to be considered for financial aid should submit their parent's 2016 or 2017 federal tax return with social security numbers removed and a Statement of Need.


  • Application Fees: $45 on or before Feb 1, 2018/$65 Feb 2, 2018 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.)


With questions or for more information: academy@wintergreenperformingarts.org