Over a century since Igor Stravinsky scandalized the Parisian music scene with the premiere of The Rite of Spring, the French capital remains a hotbed for musical and acoustic innovation, attracting composers and performers from across the world. Now it’s your time to join them.
Blending theory and intensive practice, this Paris summer study abroad program gives students interested in contemporary music and composition, hands-on access to cutting-edge acoustic technology at an institution renowned for its research and experimentation in music composition.
Study abroad in Paris and you will:
- Engage and collaborate with participating students and IRCAM composers, researchers, visiting performers, and scholars
- Master cutting-edge electronic composition software that you will be able to use far after your time at the IRCAM.
- Encounter well-known artists and composers at the IRCAM’s ManiFESTE music festival
Set against the backdrop of the ManiFESTE concert series, this is an amazing opportunity for budding music composers to interact, experiment, and explore with peers and professionals alike.
Scholarships & Grants
Scholarships & Grants
We want as many students as possible to benefit from studying abroad. That’s why CIEE awards more than $3 million every year – more than any other international educational organization – to make study abroad affordable.
Applicants to this program are eligible for the following scholarships and grants:
To be considered, simply check the “Scholarships and Grants” box on your program application.
The CIEE Difference
The CIEE Difference
Study. Experiment. Create. Engage in classroom and hands-on work in a unique, three-track curriculum:
- First Steps: Become familiar with the MAX/MSP music application, working with “patched” sound samples and voice modulation
- Culture of Music Creation: Attend concerts and events linked to the ManiFESTE festival at our host, Institute de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique/Musique (IRCAM)
- Académie: Train in other IRCAM composition software during the Académie season at IRCAM and learn how renowned composers use that technology for their own creations.
Engage with an international community of renowned composers and musicians. The study abroad program is scheduled during the IRCAM’s ManiFESTE festival, providing a wealth of opportunities to attend concerts, conferences, exhibitions, and happenings around multi-media and new music technology and composition. There will also be a weekend outing to Brittany to discover that legendary region and its musical heritage.
Learn by doing. Spend the majority of the program creating and composing, training, and applying skills in sound synthesis, patching, and sound sculpting. Upon completion of the program you’ll have year-long access to the ICRAM’s Forum software data base, allowing you to use composition applications while at your home university.
Dates, Deadlines & Fees
Dates, Deadlines & Fees
We want to make sure you get the most out of your experience when you study abroad with CIEE, which is why we offer the most inclusions in our fees.
The program fee includes:
- Tuition and housing
- Pre-departure advising and optional on-site airport meet and greet
- Full-time program leadership and support
- Field trips and cultural activities
- CIEE iNext travel card which provides insurance and other travel benefits
Please note, program dates are subject to change. Please contact your CIEE Study Abroad Advisor before purchasing airfare. Click the
button to view more detailed information about dates and fees as well as estimated additional costs. Please talk with your University Study Abroad Advisor about additional fees that may be charged by your home institution when participating in a program abroad.
Program Date Notes
Dates for this program are provided as tentative dates. Please consult with your study abroad advisor to confirm dates before purchasing your flights.
In addition to the items outlined below, the CIEE program fee includes an optional on-site airport meet and greet, full-time leadership and support, orientation, cultural activities, local excursions, field trips, pre-departure advising, and a CIEE iNext travel card which provides insurance and other travel benefits.
Participation Confirmation *
Educational Costs **
This breakdown has been prepared from the program budget for the purpose of calculating eligibility for financial aid. During the course of program operations, actual figures may vary. It should not, therefore, be used as a basis for calculation of refunds. CIEE reserves the right to adjust fees at any time.
Students required to study on CIEE programs through a School of Record will be charged a $500 administrative fee in addition to the Program Fees listed.
** direct cost of education charged uniformly to all students
*** includes breakfast and lunch daily
Estimated Additional Costs
Meals not included in program fee
International Airfare *
The estimated additional costs indicated are intended to assist students and parents in budgeting for those additional living and discretionary expenses not included in the program fee. Actual expenses will vary according to student interests and spending habits.
* round-trip based on U.S. East Coast departure
- Overall GPA 2.75
- Completion of an introductory level course in electronic music
- Fluency in Macintosh OS X environments
- Familiarity with a sequencer program such as Pro Tools or Logic Audio
- Familiarity with a sound editor like Peak
- Letter of motivation
Course contact hours are 76 hours and recommended credit is 4 semester / 6 quarter hours.
The program is split into three sections:
- Learning MAX/MSP, Audiosculpt, OpenMusic, 36 hours over two weeks
- Culture of Music Creation, ManiFESTE Music Festival, 12 hours, dispersed during the duration of the program
- Overview at the IRCAM, including continued work on IRCAM electronic software, lectures and encounters with invited Académie composers, rehearsals and hands-on work, 36 hours over 2 weeks
Study abroad students are required to attend all training sessions and complete all exercises.
About the City
About The City
Paris, the capitol of the French Republic, has been a thriving cultural center for centuries. Often considered as an inhabited museum, with such landmarks as the Louvre, Musée d’Orsay, Opéra Garnier, and, of course, Eiffel Tower, Paris also remains a hot-bed for artistic and cultural creation, attracting artists, writers, and composers from all over the world. From the brilliant simplicity of the Métro and the millennial variety of its architecture to the vast array of its concerts, exhibitions, and cinemas to its thriving neighborhoods where people from every corner of the world meet and mix, Paris is a realm of discovery and enchantment.
Meet The Staff
Meet The Staff
Brent Keever, Ph.D., received his B.A. in English and literary criticism from Princeton University, and his Ph.D. in English and modern studies from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He has taught and lectured all over the United States and France, on such topics as satire and humor, the literary and cinematic representations of sound, mysticism, and technology, and ethics in cartoons. His research interests include the history of critical theory and criticism, film studies, musicology, and modernist poetry and prose. An avid translator and film sub-titler, he has worked with the French children’s literature group, l’école des loisirs, as well as with French politicians. He is currently working on a project that throws into question certain theories about listening and sharing.
It’s been almost a century since Igor Stravinsky scandalized the Parisian music scene at the Théâtre des Champs Elysées with the premiere of The Rites of Spring. Since then, the French capitol has continued to be a site for musical and acoustic innovation, attracting new music composers and performers from all over the world, pushing the limits of what music and sonic creation can be. The Institut de Recherche et de Coordination en Musique/Acoustique or IRCAM, founded by Pierre Boulez, continues to be a crossroads for international composers and researchers in sound, composition, and music. Imagine spending a June in Paris with the IRCAM, surrounded by the clamor of the city, with access to ground-breaking technology in patch sampling, sound and voice sculpturing, composition software, visual composition and sound production, and to a hive of activity devoted to creating new acoustic universes. Walk outside of classroom at the IRCAM, next to the Centre Pompidou museum, to listen to hip-hop street performances, right next to interactive random musical happenings, but a 5-minute walk to some of the best jazz clubs in Paris . Discover new ways to listen and new ways to create something to listen to in Paris!
—BrentKeever, Resident Director
Auni Hovanesian is a California native and graduated from UCLA with a B.A. in creativity and society in 2010. She was a student at the Center in 2008-2009 and is very happy to be back in Paris, helping current students navigate French university and cultural life. Her interests are in critical theory and aesthetics, with an emphasis on education and the creative imagination. She enrolled in a master’s program at the University of Paris Diderot, writing her year-end thesis on the role of technology in the modern music world. A budding singer-songwriter, Auni has also released a self-titled EP and is currently developing several new musical projects.
Lucie Laureillard has a master’s degree in French language teaching and is a doctoral candidate in linguistics at the Université de Paris VIII, working on theater and language learning. She is a professor of French in the Contemporary French Studies program, and is the director of CIEE’s Gap Year Abroad program in Paris.
Peter Szendy is professor of philosophy at the Université Paris Ouest-La Défense (Nanterre – Paris 10). Considered as one of today’s most important thinkers in the field of music and music critique, Szendy has written widely on the history of listening, the power of music to transmit philosophical ideas, and has explored political ramifications of hearing in such books as Listen: A History of Our Ears and Over Hear: The Aesthetics of Spying. His most recent publication, Kant chez les extraterrestres, explores the role alien perspectives play in the development of Enlightenment humanist thought.
Where You'll Study
Where You'll Study
Founded in 1977 by Pierre Boulez, the Institut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique/Musique or IRCAM is an institution devoted to research and experimentation in music composition, acoustic performance, and the technological modification of sound. Since its beginnings, it has served as a crossroads for the arts and sciences, conducting ground-breaking research in acoustic and computer technology that has altered the way that we think about the act of music creation and performance. Promoting new works and new composers under the aegis of the Centre Pompidou, the IRCAM is also a world-renowned teaching institution, providing intensive instruction in composition to a select handful of graduate students in composition. Located right next to the Centre Pompidou, directly in front of the mechanical fountain on Place Igor Stravinsky, the IRCAM benefits from the thriving life of the Marais district of central Paris. All classes in the CIEE summer program in Contemporary Music Creation and Critique take place at the IRCAM, and participating students will have full access to the IRCAM’s facilities including its library and mediathèque, as well as classroom space.
Housing & Meals
Housing & Meals
Study abroad students will live with Parisian hosts who are familiar with the cultural world of the French capitol. Breakfast and lunch will be provided during the week, with lunch offered at a self-service restaurant right across from the IRCAM. Some dinners will be provided during the ManiFESTE festival and the Académie.
You'll attend a three-day student orientation which covers the basics of living in Paris, safety and security, and the academic program, includes a tour of the IRCAM, and ends with the opening concert of the IRCAM ManiFESTE festival.
You are strongly encouraged to bring a wireless-enabled Mac laptop. All housing has Internet access and the IRCAM is equipped with state-of-the-art IT technology.
The CIEE Paris Contemporary Music Creation and Critique study abroad program is divided into three tracks: 1) an intensive two-week-long course in the MAX/MSP music application that helps students do “patch” sound samples and voice modulation. Audiosculpt and OpenMusic are also presented; 2) puncutal conferences and readings in the art and critique of sound that focus on concerts and events linked to the ManiFESTE festival at the IRCAM; and 3) a two-week overview class that trains students in other IRCAM composition software through exploring how composers invited to the IRCAM’s Académie use that technology.
Instruction is hands-on, takes place at a teaching lab at the IRCAM, and class size is limited to 10 students. Assessment is continuous for the first phase, will be tied to the production of a reflection paper for the second phase, and will consist of evaluated exercises and the creation of sound morceaux. Throughout the program, structured encounters will be organized to ensure interaction between participating students and IRCAM composers, researchers, visiting performers, and scholars during « master classes », rehearsals and workshops.
The MAX/MSP and overview classes in the program blend theory and practice. Students are gathered in small groups and do exercises and “patches” designed to bring together topics covered during the sessions. This continual assessment results in a final report given to the students that evaluates their level. Given the overlapping ManiFESTE and Académie concert series, and the many chances to interact with other composers, the IRCAM offers a true forum for budding new music composers—an exploration that will result in the second week with an essay detailing what was observed and heard.
Participating students have a year-long membership and full-year subscription to the IRCAM's Forum software data base. Upon completion of the Paris Contemporary Music Creation and Critique Program, students will be able to use these applications to compose at their home university. Study abroad students also have onsite access to the extraordinary IRCAM library with many original contemporary scores, references, and recordings.
Nature of Classes
CIEE classes at the IRCAM are with other CIEE students. Students have access to all parts of the IRCAM and to the festival activities.
CIEE Community Language Commitment
The Paris CMCC program is instructed in English.
In the CIEE IRCAM course, students will be graded according to their exercises, with a final evaluation. This is true for both composition software phases of the program. The ManiFESTE and Académie culture and concert phase of the study abroad program will result in an assessment to be discussed with the director and evaluated with the student.
Language of Instruction
Note: This course listing is for informational purposes only and does not constitute a contract between CIEE and any applicant, student, institution, or other party. The courses, as described, may be subject to change as a result of ongoing curricular revisions, assignment of lecturers and teaching staff, and program development. Courses may be canceled due to insufficient enrollment.
CIEE Study Center Syllabi
To view the most recent syllabi for courses taught by CIEE at our Study Centers, visit our syllabi site.
MUSI 3001 CMCC
Contemporary Music Creation and Critique
This intensive course in music and acoustic composition and culture is held during the ManiFeste festival and IRCAM Académie, highlights of the IRCAM concert season. Students begin with an intensive introduction to MAX/MSP, and then integrate into the summer academy at the IRCAM. This event invites well-known composers and artists to teach composition, interpretation, computer music, theatre direction, and dance to around 100 young composers, musicians, and artists from all around the world, including, for example, the Quatuor Arditti, Ensemble intercontemporain, Les Cris de Paris, Thomas Hauert, Ludovic Lagarde, and Thierry de Mey. Students will participate in rehearsals and encounters with members of the Académie and continue their training in music composition technology through an overview during the second half of their course of study that invites students to master the IRCAM's software by mimicking how it has been been used in selected contemporary compositions.