Composition and Theory

About the UNLV Composition Division

The UNLV Composition Division is devoted to teaching students who wish to pursue a professional and/or academic career in music composition of any style. Whether it be concert music, cross genre, eclectic, commercial, dance, multimedia or film, our goal is to help students learn to write the music that inspires and interests them and encourage them to foster collaborations with musicians and artists beyond graduation.

What we offer:

Our diverse, award-winning composition faculty offers a wide variety of tools to encourage students to develop their compositional voice, and write music that not only inspires them, but motivates them to collaborate with musicians and artists including dancers, film makers and visual artists.

Performance Opportunities

UNLV Nextet Concerts and Artist Residencies

Each year, the Composition Division features professional, internationally-renowned composers, musicians, and artists on the contemporary music concert series called Nextet. Guest composers have included Samuel Adler, Paul Chihara, Carlos Sanchez Gutierrez, Daron Hagen, John Harbison, Michael Hersch, Libby Larsen, Marc Neikrug, Shulamit Ran, Bernard Rands, Roger Reynolds, Augusta Read Thomas, Michael Torke, Chen Yi, among others. Visiting composers work directly with students, giving seminar presentations and private individual lessons.

Guest performers and ensembles have also been invited to work directly with the students by giving workshops and reading sessions — among them stand the Hocket piano duo, the Amernet Quartet, the Mivos Quartet, the Fireworks Ensemble, soprano Lucy Shelton, mezzo-soprano Julia Bentley, and saxophonist Rhonda Taylor, among many others.

Dr. Jennifer Bellor is currently the Artistic Director. Please visit the Nextet Facebook page and Instagram page for concert updates.

UNLV Student Composers Concerts

There are four Student Composers Concerts each year that feature not only new concert works, but also unique collaborations that have included music with art at the UNLV Marjorie Barrick Museum, music with film, music to poetry featuring faculty poet Dr. Eryn Green and music with improvisation featuring the UNLV Contemporary Jazz ensemble, among others.

For more information, visit the Composition Division Facebook page and Instagram page.

Ensemble Readings for Composers

The composers have opportunities to write large ensemble pieces (orchestra, wind ensemble, chorus) for the annual reading by the UNLV Symphony Orchestra, Wind Orchestra and Chamber Chorale. Additionally, they have an opportunity to write music for readings by any professional ensemble that is in residence with the composition division.

UNLV Student Composers’ Collective

The Composers’ Collective is a student-run organization focused on inspiring students from any musical background here at UNLV to compose and/or perform new music. One particular highlight of this organization is that a student does NOT have to be enrolled in the classical music composition division program in order to compose a piece for a concert; All students from any division of the UNLV School of Music is encouraged to participate. Each semester, the Collective schedules a 48-Hour Concert: Each composer involved has 24 hours to compose a piece with an assigned instrumentation. Then, each performer has 24 hours to learn the piece prior to the performance. Please visit their FB page for more information.

As a major in music composition, students will:

  • Take private lessons in both composition and the area of performance concentration.
  • Produce creative work for different media and get hands-on experience in the professional field of new music.
  • Perform a solo recital (30 minutes) in the junior year.
  • Present a recital of original compositions (40 minutes) in the senior year.
  • Participate in readings of new works by professional chamber groups, as well as the UNLV Wind Orchestra, the UNLV Symphonic Orchestra, and the UNLV Chamber Chorale.
  • Attend lectures, masterclasses, and composition lessons with guest artists and composers in residence

Our Faculty

The members of the School of Music’s composition faculty are active artists who regularly have commissions, premieres, performances, recordings and publications of their work in the United States and abroad.

Jennifer Bellor, Ph.D.

PhD Composition Coordinator and Visiting Lecturer of composition

Photo of Jennifer Bellor
Office: HFA 218
Phone: 702-895-3073

Julie Ivy

Adjunct Faculty, Theory

U.N.L.V. sign placeholder
Phone: 702-234-7071

Jocelyn Jensen, Ed.D.

Adjunct Faculty, Theory

Jocelyn Jensen
Office: HFA 135
Phone: 702-895-3008

Kevin Ure, M.M.

Adjunct Faculty, Theory

Photo of Kevin Ure

Diego Vega, D.M.A.

DMA Associate Professor of Composition

Office: HFA 233
Phone: 702-895-5040


For further information, please contact Diego VegaCynthia Wong, or Jennifer Bellor.

Social Media

UNLV Composition

UNLV Nextet

Student-run UNLV Composers’ Collective