We’re starting a composition program at NDSU

I had some writer’s block earlier this year. After completing Shindig for horn choir, I flailed a lot from about March to August. I think part of it was the workload from taking classes and teaching a full load across two campuses. But another part of it was that I spent mid-to-late part of the semester designing, proposing, and planning a composition program at NDSU.

Our composition degree has been approved and accredited, and we started our first students this fall. And as an extension of that, I’ve joined NDSU full time.

Does the world really need another composition program? Probably not. I attended a paper this summer about the overcrowding in the composition world, and especially in the time of COVID, the opportunities seem to be dwindling.

Does the region need a composition program? Yes. Looking at professional undergraduate (Bachelor of Music) degrees, ours is the first in the Dakotas. There are four in Minnesota, one in Montana, and one in Manitoba. It gets better the further south and east one goes. But new music opportunities are, well, not numerous up here.

Of course, at many schools, students interested in composition can take composition lessons within the context of the BA or BS in Music. My intention is that having a collection of degree-seeking composers will give us the ability to do several things we wouldn’t be able to do within the context of a BA or BS, such as produce more composer opportunities and resources for the region. Things such as a new music concert series, Dakota composer residencies, a student-run music press to experiment with self-publishing, and assembling materials for high school students interested in composition.

NDSU is an interesting place to do all this. We have a named and endowed School of Music within a comprehensive STEM-focused Land Grant university, which puts us in an ideal place for both collaboration and outreach. We already have a full range of academic music programs from the BM to the DMA. Our undergraduate music curriculum already requires Music Entrepreneurship which intersects with the university’s entrepreneurship initiatives. And NDSU is already quite new music friendly, with the annual Fissinger Composition Contest, the new Pilafian Composition Contest, and regular performances of works by living composers.

So looking at the reality of the new music scene in North Dakota and what the future of music composition might be like, we’ve tried to make the degree as flexible as possible. Composers have to know a little bit of everything, so we’re having them do the same instrumental or vocal performance requirements as our BA/BS students do. Proficiency on piano, conducting, counterpoint, advanced theory, and instrumental arranging, of course. But then we’re also opening up a chunk of electives for the degree, giving students the opportunity to gain some additional specialization or marketable skills. This might include taking some of the music methods classes to learn how to play all the instruments. Or taking on a certificate or minor through the college of business, such as Entrepreneurship, Accounting, Business Administration, Management Information Systems, or Community Development. Or pursuing minors in Creative Writing, English, or Theatre Arts. Or there’s the certificate in Publishing.

The hope is to twofold: To create resources and opportunities for composers in the Dakotas, and to create a composer incubator which gives students the tools they need to be successful musicians in the region and the world.

Oh and that writer’s block finally lifted. I have a new song cycle of hilarious poems by Mark Vinz that are getting the finishing touches soon, to be premiered in February.

Earmarks named finalist in The American Prize

Earmarks has moved from the semifinalist stage of the Chamber Music division of The American Prize to the finalist stage: Read more here:

Earmarks listed as semi-finalist of The American Prize 2020

I found out earlier today (as I was driving from Fallon to Fargo) that Earmarks has just earned me a place as a semi-finalist in the Instrumental Chamber Music division of The American Prize national non-profit competitions in the performing arts.

You can learn more about The American Prize at or follow the news on Facebook: or Twitter:

Upcoming Performances for Spring 2020

Hey look! It’s some upcoming performances!

On February 10, I’ll be giving a Faculty Composition Recital at NDSU. The program includes the full cycle of The Notes Between the Notes and world premieres of Calibrating the Moon and Tape Piece. 7:30 PM in Beckwith Recital Hall.

Cassie’s giving her faculty clarinet recital the next day, same time and place.

I’ll be heading to Nashville for a performance of Creatures from the Black Bassoon and a talk on the creative process. That all takes place at the CMS Southern Conference at Vanderbilt University at the tail end of February (Feb 28-Mar 1).

March 12-14, I’ll be heading to the University of Virginia for the 2020 SEAMUS conference, where we’ll hear the American premiere of The Earth Shall Soon Dissolve Like Snow.

At the same time, Stephen Bomgardner will be premiering my first song cycle collaboration with Walter Jordan, Five Pointless Haiku, with Carlyle Sharpe at the University of Central Arkansas as part of the CMS South Central regional conference.

And then at the beginning of April (3-4) I’ll be in Michigan at Oakland University for yet another CMS conference (Great Lakes), talking about the creative process and running the electronics for Crosswinds.

Cloud Music to be presented at 2019 VU Symposium

I’m pleased to announce that I’ll be presenting Cloud Music: Audience participation in electronic music , at the the 2019 Vu 3 Symposium in Park City, Utah!

Cloud Music is a work for audience participation and cloud computing. Audience members load a website on their mobile device, specify values, and then submit those values to a web server. The web server is periodically polled by a Max patch, which uses the user-specified data to launch Cloud sprites, which then drift across the screen. If a user specifies that a cloud should be a thunder cloud, it reacts with other thunder clouds.

Cloud Music is the first proof of concept in an ongoing project to unify audience participation, cloud computing, and interactive performance.

Tempest in a Teakettle accepted at NYCEMF/ICMC 2019

The New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival (NYCEMF) is always a fun time with great music and incredible people. This year they’re hosting the International Computer Music Conference as well, and I’m pleased to announce that Tempest in a Teakettle, which I presented there in 2017, will be returning to the program for this year as well.

The full list of works is available at Looks like I’m in good company!

Reverie of Solitude selected for Diffrazioni 2019

Dear Kyle Vanderburg,

I am pleased to inform you that your work: REVERIE OF SOLITUDEwas selected for the third edition of Diffrazioni – Firenze Multimedia Festival – March 26-31, 2019 sound, light, art, technology, neuroscience, nanotechnology, robotics.

in the category: ACOUSMATIC


Best regards, 

Alfonso Belfiore

Hello wordpress!

When I started blogging like nine years ago, I started a blog with WordPress. As I built Liszt up and tried to do everything in-house, I moved the entire blog to Liszt. After working to streamline Liszt as much as possible, there’s not much need for a blog function. And also Liszt didn’t have fantastic image capabilities for blog posts, and I really want to start posting pictures of my cat.

So here I am, back on WordPress.


Late last year, I launched OpenKyle, which was an experiment based on Austin Kleon's Show Your Work. It was a lot of fun, and it kept me motivated to push updates every day to YouTube while I worked on a saxophone and tape piece titled Austerity.

And then, I moved to the tape piece The Earth Shall Soon Dissolve Like Snow. And that got harder to update, as I'm on a limited SoundCloud account.

And then 2018 came, and the projects this year have been more collaborative, and it's not just my work that I'd be publishing online. So with that in mind, I'll be merging OpenKyle with the regular blog, and working to update this with more work-related things soon.

Tempest in a Teakettle selected for SEAMUS

University of Oregon 
School of Music

December 4, 2017

Kyle Vanderburg
=email omitted=

Submission number: omitted

Thank you for your submission to the SEAMUS 2018 National Conference at the University of Oregon.  Congratulations, Tempest in a Teakettle has been accepted for presentation at the conference.  Installations will be presented during the course of the conference and we will be in touch about the details.  Be advised that this acceptance does require that you bring the necessary performers and pre-sound reinforcement equipment.  If you requested that we provide performers or equipment, we will follow-up after we receive confirmation of your plans to attend the conference.

We will hold your position to present your work at the conference if, by Thursday, December 21, 2017, we receive confirmation from you regarding your plans to attend the conference.  This must be done by email to =email omitted=
Please include your submission number =omitted= in all communications.

Note 1: The programs have been developed using the timing for your work that you provided to the database and which was checked against your submitted materials.  Please appreciate that the allocation of time for rehearsal, sound checks, setups, and performance is of critical importance to the flow of the entire conference.  Revisions cannot be made to works resulting in an increased performance time.

Note 2: The deadline for receipt of all performance materials, and performer biographies is January 21, 2018.  If you are providing performers, you must provide their biographical information, even if you are certain they are performing for another composer.

Note 3: Attendance at the conference is required for your work to be presented.  Please register early using the online registration found at (notification will be sent when registration opens).  Conference registration fees are $160 for regular members, $80 for student members, and $180 for all non-members.  A late registration fee of $50 applies for registrations after February 28, 2018.  If circumstances require a late registration, please notify us that you still plan to attend.  Online late registration will be available until and at conference.  On-site registration will also accept cash or check at the late registration rate.

Note 4: The deadline for registering and paying for the Friday Banquet is February 28, 2018.  You will be able to register for and make meal selections as part of the registration site.  We anticipate the cost of the banquet will be $60. More information will be forthcoming.

Note 5: Works scheduled for Thursday performance may have a tech time scheduled for Wednesday evening.

We want to thank our pool of adjudicators who worked diligently and quickly to provide their evaluations of over 400 submissions:  Alyssa Aska, Elizabeth Baker, Mark Ballora, Matt Barber, Brian Belet, Christopher Biggs, Courtney Brown, Lou Bunk, Gil Dori, Frank Ekeberg, Jason Fick, Lyn Goeringer, Akiko Hatakeyama, Aurie Hsu, Simon Hutchinson, Nick Hwang, Grace Leslie, Paola Lopreiato, Barry Moon, Benjamin O'Brien, Ryan Olivier, Olga Oseth, Melissa Pausina, Sean Peuquet, Baljinder Sekhon, Jacob Sudol, Ben Sutherland, Dan VanHassel, Jorge Variego, Kirsten Volness, Chi Wang, Kristina Warren, Emilie Weibel, and Mark Zaki.

Finally, we would like to add to the recognition of your work by the conference selection committee our personal congratulations.  We look forward to seeing you at the conference.
Most Cordially,

Jeffrey Stolet and Akiko Hatakeyama, co-hosts

School of Music and Dance
1225 University of Oregon, Eugene OR 97403-1225