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Chair of Music Studies: Dr. Cynthia Folio

Composition Faculty

Current Doctoral Students


conTemplum: A New-Music Student Organization at Temple

Degree Programs:

B.M. Composition
M.M. Composition
Ph.D. Music (Composition)

Other Music Studies Degree Programs:
B.S. Music

B.S. Music Technology

B.M. Music History
M.M. Music History
Ph.D. Music (Musicology)

B.M. Music Theory
M.M. Music Theory
Ph.D. Music (Music Theory)

Ph.D. Music (Music Studies)

The Music Composition Program encourages in its students the development of creative musical thought and expression in all media, including electroacoustic music and visual music, through studies of innovation and craft, research and expressive effect. Students become knowledgeable about contemporary practices, theories, and techniques through the study of post-romantic music literature. Creativity, the development of personal expression through music, and assessment of music’s viability in twentieth century societal context are focal points for composition majors.

At the completion of the program, both undergraduate and graduate' students are expected to present a portfolio of compositions demonstrating notational fluency and the ability to compose convincing and intelligible music. Regular concerts of new student compositions provide the essential experience of hearing their works performed, and allows them to gauge their own progress in relation to that of their peers. Works of established twentieth-century composers are performed by the New Music Ensemble and the Contemporary Music Ensemble.

The graduate program stresses advanced work in computer synthesis of music, collaborative work with film makers and dancers, varied degrees of exploratory work, and compositional efforts in larger forms.

Current Doctoral Students

Evan Kassof (b. 1988) is a composer, conductor, and former physicist pursuing his PhD in Music Composition as a University Fellow at Temple University. Evan’s music has been performed around the world, from Tenerife, the Canary Islands to Yerevan, Armenia. While a student in the Guildhall School’s prestigious Master of Arts in Opera-Making course, his operas Colony (a children’s opera written in 2015) and Greenland (a chamber opera written 2015) – both with libretti by Aleksandar Hut Kono – were premiered in London at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden and the Milton Court Theatre at the Barbican Centre. Greenland was also performed in Budapest as part of the Liszt Academy’s annual opera festival in January of 2016. Before his studies at Guildhall, Evan studied composition at the Royal Academy of Music (2014 MMus – distinction) as a student of Tansy Davieson a full scholarship from the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation. His final project, Memoirs of Transformation­–an Opera in Two Identical Acts (2014) was premiered at the Duke’s Hall in London under his own baton.

Holding degrees in both physics and music, Evan’s compositions often use scientific concepts as source materials. This element of his work was presented in a TEDxTalk (London, 2013) and has led to collaborations with space scientists (Heat Death, 2013) and condensed-matter physicists (Turbulence, 2016). However, at the heart of his compositional practice is the desire to invite his performers to become creative collaborators with his work in order to produce novel and beautiful results. In addition to his compositional activities, he served as the assistant conductor of the Ocala Symphony Orchestra (2015-16, located in Florida) and performs on both cello and viola da gamba. For more information, visit Evan’s website at:

Benjamin Safran's works have been performed by musicians and ensembles including Network for New Music, Atlantic Music Festival Orchestra, Calliope, the Commonwealth School Orchestra, Temple Composers' Orchestra, and Temple University New Music Ensemble. He is currently pursuing his PhD in music composition from Temple University where he studies with Maurice Wright and has also studied with Matthew Greenbaum and Alexander deVaron. He previously earned a B.A. in music from Haverford College where he also studied the growth and structure of cities and education, and had a variety of music teaching experiences; from an independent elementary school, to a West Philadelphia public high school, to a high school for students with learning disabilities. He now teaches music theory labs at Temple University, and has also assisted in a music history course there. Ben is also interested in the study and practice of music and social justice. For more information, visit

Robert Pegg is a PhD student in composition. He has studied with Drs. Cynthia Folio, Matthew Greenbaum, and Maurice Wright. He received his Bachelor of Music degree in theory and composition at Westminster Choir College and his Master of Music degree at Temple University. Since April 2009 he has been a member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity. He writes in an eclectic style with influences from Renaissance modality to serialism and is interested in composing for stage, film, and video games.