Mark Kilstofte is admired as a composer of lyrical line, engaging harmony, strong, dramatic gesture and keen sensitivity to sound, shape and event. Praised by the San Francisco Chronicle as "exciting and beautiful, consistently gripping," his music has garnered a growing number of awards and honors including the Rome Prize, the Guggenheim Fellowship, ASCAP?s Rudolf Nissim Award, the Goddard Lieberson Fellowship and Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Aaron Copland Award (three times) and the Gardner Read and Francis & William Schuman Fellowships from the MacDowell Colony. He has also earned commissions from the Dale Warland Singers and the Fromm Foundation. His music, performed regularly throughout the United States and Canada, has been featured on NPR's Performance Today and is heard in concert halls from Moscow to Bangkok.

Kilstofte's compositional style reflects his interest in everything from Gesualdo to Jethro Tull. His innovative approach to form-he is the son of a structural engineer-results in a music of tremendous integrity and clarity which can be humorous one moment, achingly beautiful the next. His music is published by The Newmatic Press.

Name Title Description


Composition Seminar

Issues and topics relevant to contemporary music in general, current day compositional methods, techniques and literature in particular, and forum for presentation and discussion of works by invited guests, faculty, and students.


Bsc Musicianship III: Written

Ongoing study of voice leading, chromatic harmony, advanced modulation, and small forms through continued development of complementary skills in analysis, composition, improvisation, music technology, sight-singing, ear training, and at the keyboard.


Basic Musicianship III: Aural

Ongoing study of voice leading, chromatic harmony, advanced modulation, and small forms through continued development of complementary skills in analysis, composition, improvisation, music technology, sight-singing, ear training, and at the keyboard.


Form & Analysis

Prelude, reductive analysis, fugue, motivic analysis, continuous variation, binary (simple, rounded, continuous rounded, etc.), sonata (articulated binaries), theme groups, rondo, hybrid forms, concerto, concerted forms, Lieder, song forms, detailed phrase analysis, miniatures, ternary forms, associations to twentieth century music.



Emphasis on applied study in the craft and technique of composition. Revolving topics include choral/vocal music, chamber music, consorts and mixed ensembles, large ensembles, and electronic music, complemented by analysis of representative works from classical and modern literature. May be repeated for credit.


Tonal Counterpoint

In-depth study of eighteenth century contrapuntal style through analysis of works by Bach, Handel, and their contemporaries. Emphasis on composing free counterpoint in two, three, and four voices, and imitative works such as invention and fugue.


Senior Project

Capstone requirement of music theory and/or composition degree programs. Synthesis and culmination of undergraduate music study, especially as it relates to the area of specialty.

Whether in classroom or studio teaching, my philosophy is one that integrates imagination and technique, artistry and craft, spontaneity and calculation. I stress the importance of having something to say, even as young composers are hard about the task of developing the wherewithal to say it.

  • Guggenheim Fellowship
  • Rome Prize
  • Goddard Lieberson Fellowship and Charles Ives Scholarship (American Academy of Arts and Letters)
  • ASCAP Rudolph Nissim Award
  • Aaron Copland Award (three times)
  • Prix Henri Selmer-Paris
  • South Carolina Arts Commission Artist Fellow (twice)
  • Composers Award for String Quartet
  • Rackham Predoctoral Fellowship
  • Grants from the Mellon Foundation, Knight Foundation and Meet the Composer
  • Commissions from Dale Warland Singers, Fromm Foundation and Copland House
  • Residencies at MacDowell Colony and Banff Centre's Leighton Artists' Colony
University of Michigan
University of Michigan
St. Olaf College
Training Under
Leslie Bassett, William Bolcom, William Albright, Eugene Kurtz and George Wilson
University of Michigan
Andrew Imbrie
Schweitzer Institute
Arthur Campbell and Charles Forsberg
St. Olaf College

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