IRCAM Cursus, year 2020/2021

Application call


Submission period

Sun Sep 15 at 7:59 AM UTC

End of submission period

Sun Nov 17 at 10 PM UTC

Results date

Thu Dec 19 at 11 AM UTC

For Cursus Academic Year 2020.2021
Beginning of the courses: September 7, 2020
End of Cursus: June 30, 2021

Public concerned: composers of “mixed music” (instrument plus electronics) or electronic music (under 35 years old)

Cursus Program on Composition and Computer music

Teaching in French and English.

Serving the institute’s missions of research and creation, the Cursus program for composition and computer music is the flagship program in the broad range of IRCAM’s educational activities. Initiated in 1990 under Pierre Boulez, numerous composers (such as F. Baschet, F. Bedrossian, O. Bianchi, E. Campion, R. Cendo, F. Filidei, J. Fineberg, S. Gervasoni, C. Iannota, M. Lanza, B. Mantovani, Y. Maresz, B. Pauset, Hèctor Parra, Y. Robin, L. Ronchetti, G. Spiropoulos, C. Trapani, F. Verunelli...) have enhanced their musical thought through the technological tools made available in the Cursus program where the philosophy is that the computer is a tool for musical creation.

For 10 months (from September to June), everything is put into place so the students can acquire real, technical autonomy with a number of computer programs. The Cursus program is divided into two periods: a “program” phase from September to December with 5 courses followed by the “project” phase from January to April where optional classes can be added in addition to the core program.

The Cursus program includes academic classes on IRCAM software (Max, OpenMusic, Modalys, AudioSculpt, Spat, etc.), hands-on studio classes, workshops on composition and improvisation with electronics, meetings with the institute’s research teams and guest composers in addition to individual supervision by the educational team (Simone Conforti, Jean Lochard, Grégoire Lorieux, Sébastien Naves, Mikhail Malt) and the composer associated with the Cursus, Thierry De Mey.
At the end of each key module during the program, the students present their “mini projects” that prepare them for the production of their final project presented in concert during the ManiFeste festival at the CENTQUATRE-Paris.

As a part of IRCAM’s continual renewal and openness, this composition can now be expressed using a multitude of forms: a work for solo musician and electronics (as has been the practice for several years), an electroacoustic work, a sonic installation, etc. This composition can also include other media such as dance, text, or images once the project is validated by the educational team. Students from the Conservatoire national supérieur de musique et de danse de Paris (Cnsmdp) perform the concert. The Conservatoire national supérieur de musique et de danse de Paris (Cnsmdp) is one of the largest higher-education establishments in the domain of music and dance. Projects are supervised by Thierry De Mey, a team of 5 computer music designers/professors, IRCAM sound engineers, and professors from the Conservatoire de Paris.

Through a partnership with the Conservatoire de Paris, the Haute École de musique de Genève and the Académie supérieure de musique de Strasbourg-HEAR and the Université de Strasbourg, students signed up in a Master’s degree in composition in one of these establishments can take their first year of their degree in IRCAM’s Cursus if selected by the Cursus jury.

Registration fees: 2,000€

IRCAM does not give out any scholarships or pay for any travel, but can assist you when looking for financial aid. The Cursus program is considered to be continued professional training.

Applicants selected for the Cursus program have the possibility, upon request, to be housed at the Cité internationale des arts de Paris. They will have a studio/room throughout the program. Monthly housing fees are paid by the students.

Applicants selected for the Cursus 2020/2021 program must confirm their participation in writing before January 15, 2020 and commit to take on any other professional engagements during the program (September 2020-June 2021).

Admission requirements

The competition is opened to composers under 35 years old.
10 Places are available.

Candidates must complete their application on the Ulysses Platform from September 15 to November 15, 2019.

The application file must include the following documents (in French or in English):
- A detailed curriculum vitae, a list of professional experiences, and awards received
- A copy of a valid ID or passport
- For the non-French applicants: a document proving your good oral comprehension of the French language. 
 The applicants for whom French is not the native language must be able to justify an appropriate level of French or give a proof of TEF results (level B2) or an equivalent diploma, or a document certifying a proper level of oral comprehension of French.
The non-French-applicants who have studied or lived for several years in a French speaking country and can prove it, do not need to present a French Evaluation Level Test.
- A letter explaining the candidate’s motivations
- One or several letters of recommendation
- 3 recent works, at least 1 of which with electronics, accompanied by scores (pdf) recordings (MP3) and/or video (link YouTube). The electronics works can be linked with visual arts, dance, installation, multimedia…
For the piece(s) with electronics, please submit at least 1 Max patch, OpenMusic maquette or other tools that you used for the electronics part. Please indicate the link where the patch can be downloaded in the notes part dedicated to the work you submit). Remember to give a permanent URL that does not require a password.

Selection process schedule
September 15, 2019: Applications can be submitted
November 15, 2019: Application deadline, 12:00pm French Hour
November-December, 2019: Selection process
Mid-December 2019: Announcement by mail of selection results

Following the jury’s decision, the candidates that have been pre-selected may possibly be contacted the first fortnight of December to set up a skype interview with the teaching team in order to assess each candidate’s motivation and level of knowledge.

Further information about the IRCAM Cursus competition can be found here

Any requests concerning this competition can be made by e-mail to: