Music Composition | Capital University, Columbus Ohio



  • Music Composition
  • In this section..

    • Degrees:
      Bachelor of Music in Composition 

      Why Capital scores with composition students

      Extensive training, access to first-class technology, and dozens of ensembles that will perform your music and test your skills and talent — those are just a few of the reasons Capital is a destination school for composition.

      At Capital, we seek out diversity in all we do. Music is no exception. In our composition program, we value all styles of music, from classical and contemporary to popular, jazz, rock and electronic.

      But that's only the beginning. A well-known-and-respected resident faculty and world-class guest composers add to the lure. In fact, you may be surprised to learn that many members of our faculty are nationally and internationally known composers and arrangers. Google Dina Lentsner, Mark Lochstampfor, Rocky J. Reuter, Russ Nagy, Kit "Red" Nienkirchen, Stan Smith or Tony Zilincik. See what we mean? 

      Add to that the ability to study both traditional and jazz/contemporary techniques within the context of one program, and you have the perfect orchestration for student success.   

      Balanced and Diverse

      At Capital, we seek out diversity in all we do. Music is no exception. In our composition program, we value all styles of music, from classical and contemporary to popular, jazz, rock and electronic. You'll be encouraged to become fluent in them all to strengthen your own creativity. Extensive training begins on day one of your first year and includes everything from theory and history to orchestration, arranging, audio production and more. And, you will have complete access to the Conservatory's state-of-the-art recording and MIDI-based electronic music studios. 

      Best of all, your work will be performed. For a composer, hearing a musician perform your music for the first time — when until then you’ve only heard it in your mind — it’s like completing a thought or punctuating a sentence. With weekly student recitals, composition master classes, student performance recitals, and ensemble rehearsals and concerts, there are almost limitless opportunities to hear your music performed.

      The NOW MUSIC Festival, an annual celebration of contemporary music at Capital University, exposes students to a wide range of living composers and performers and their music. This weeklong event is one of the Midwest's most comprehensive and diverse celebrations of music, composed within the last 10 years. Best of all, it's one more way to jumpstart your career in the world of music composition.

      Conservatory Admission and Audition Requirements

      Admission into this program will require you to complete a two-part process to gain admittance to both Capital University and the Conservatory of Music. Please review the requirements carefully before applying.

      CONSERVATORY admission requirements

    • dina lentsner

      Dr. Lentsner teaches music theory, form and analysis, and counterpoint, and specializes in teaching first and second year composition students. Her main area of interest and expertise in both composition and scholarship is music with text. In her composition lessons, she challenges young composers with projects that develop their musical awareness and taste as well as their writing skills.

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      Mark lochstampfor

      Dr. Lochstampfor is Professor of Music in the Conservatory of Music at Capital University where he teaches music composition, technology, rock studies, keyboard and acoustics. He earned a Ph.D. in Music Theory (Music Perception and Cognition) and a Master of Music in Music Theory from The Ohio State University; and a Bachelor of Music in Composition from the Ohio University (Athens). Lochstampfor composes in a variety of musical styles and media. He has presented papers at regional, national and international conferences and workshops, and published a variety of articles and music compositions, and was a contributing author to a textbook for McGraw Hill/Glencoe. As a keyboardist, Dr. Lochstampfor has played in a number of ensembles, focusing on contemporary compositions and American Music idioms such as rock and jazz, as well as sacred music.

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      Russell Nagy

      Professor Nagy earned a Bachelor of Music from the University of Cincinnati Conservatory of Music and a Masters in Composition from the Ohio State University (Pi Kappa Lambda) where he studied with Dr. Jan Radzynski and Dr. Marc Ainger. He also earned a diploma from Cleveland Institute of Electronic in Broadcast Engineering. Further education includes the La Domaine School of Orchestral Training, Hancock, ME and The Don Sebesky Film Scoring Workshop, NYC. 

      A published composer of both sacred and secular music, his compositions range from choral octavos to film scores, marching band arrangements to full-length musicals. In 2005, Nagy's published works reached total sales of over one million. An Apple Certified Professional, Nagy relies heavily upon Logic Pro as well as MAX/MSP and other computer applications as his primary tools for creating and producing his scores.

      A champion of music for young people, Nagy is known for his sacred children's anthems and Bible verse memory songs as well as the "Sticky Hooks" series - songs that support learning in the elementary classroom. He has also written electronic scores for LeapPad(R) scholastic products. his musical Tetelestai, ("It Is Finished") enters its 41st year of production in both Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio.   

      Red nienkirchen

      Professor Nienkirchen teaches composition lessons in a variety of contemporary styles including pop song writing, film music, music for TV or Radio commercials and library production music. He has enjoyed a successful career working with many advertising agencies, commercial music houses, film companies, television networks, record companies and library production companies. Nienkirchen has also scored and recorded styles including commercial, pop, jazz and classical in a variety of instrumental settings, from small ensembles to orchestras.

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      Rocky J. Reuter, emeritus

      In addition to teaching composition at Capital University's Conservatory of Music since 1986, Rocky Reuter has helped shape much of the curriculum within the Conservatory and has held a number of positions, from interim dean of the Conservatory of Music to assistant dean of the Conservatory of Music and School of Communication. 

      As a composer, Reuter is well known both nationally and internationally for his ability to compose music for a vast array of ensembles in a myriad of styles, using varied and unique techniques. He has been commissioned to write special music for three presidential inaugurations, is the recipient of numerous awards in his field and has lectured and performed at numerous festivals and events both in this country and abroad. 

      Reuter is the founder of the NOW Music Festival at Capital University; the MIDI Band, which was established in 1987 as the first all-MIDI ensemble in the nation; and Ensemble Now, a contemporary music and improvisation ensemble.  

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      Stan Smith

      Professor Smith teaches guitar, jazz composition, and directs several of the jazz ensembles as well as performing with the Faculty Jazz Ensemble.

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       Tony Zilincik

      Associate Professor Tony Zilincik teaches tuba as well as composition and theory, and he directs the brass choir and Capital Thunder, the University's tuba/euphonium ensemble. A prolific performer, he plays the tuba in the Central Ohio Symphony Orchestra, the Capital Brass quintet, the Cathedral Brass quintet at St. Joseph Cathedral in Columbus, and directs and coordinates Merry TUBACHRISTMAS Columbus. He is also the E-flat tuba soloist with the Brass Band of Columbus and has performed with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra as well as many touring Broadway shows, such as Annie, The Lion King and Mary Poppins. 

      Zilincik is known for his commitment to presenting new music in different ways. In 2012, he joined 200 other musicians to perform his very own Tower Thunder in an 80-foot-tall tower at the Olive Ranch in Geyersville, California. In addition to performing and teaching, Zilincik coordinates Capital's New Music Festival, an annual celebration of contemporary composers. 

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      Sean Beeson recalls his early days at Capital as a place that nurtured his drive to succeed in an area of music that was still being pioneered. Creating music for the gaming industry was uncharted territory at that time, but that didn't stop faculty members from encouraging him to pursue his passion. "They did not try to steer my career," he said. "They knew that I knew what I wanted to do, and they let me take control of my education."

      After graduating in 2007, Sean hit the ground running as a media composer. Today he works from his studio near Mansfield, Ohio, where he creates orchestral scores for films, games and other multimedia. His digital music has been featured in film trailers, including Disney's Alice in Wonderland and Hairspray, numerous shows on cable and network television, and across all game platforms. Accomplished soloists like Grammy Award-winning percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie have performed his compositions, and his piano music has gotten more than 4 million views on YouTube.