IRCAM CURSUS 2021-2022

Composition and Computer Music


Submission period

Thu Oct 15, 2020 at 9 AM UTC

End of submission period

Tue Dec 1, 2020 at 10 AM UTC

Results date

Fri Jan 29 at 11 AM UTC

Entry or Course Fee

Registration fee 2000 €


To composers under 35 years old

For Cursus Academic year 2021.2022
Beginning of the courses: September 2021
End of Cursus: June 2022

Public concerned: composers under the age of 35.

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), a special program will be implemented so students can aquire genuine technical autonomy and fluency in a number of computer programs..

Included in the activities at the heart of our institute, composers are trained in the use of IRCAM software for music composition (Max, OpenMusic, Modalys, AudioSculpt, Spat, etc.) in a wide-ranging and productive environment based on exchanges and encounters with researchers, programmers, sound engineers, computer-music designers, and composers working in our labs and studios. Training features hands-on work in the studios, improvisation workshops with electronics, and guest artis seminars.

Students present mini projects at the end of each unit throughout the program. This validates their skills and prepares them for the production of their final project presented to the public during ManiFeste festival.

IRCAM focuses on a constant renewal and is open to changes. As a result, this final project can now be expressed using a multitude of forms: a piece of music, a sonic installation, an electronic or electroacoustic work including other media such as dance, images, text, poetry, etc... Forms and formats are open.

Performers who take part in the Cursus concert are young professionals chosen for their student projects.

With the idea of encouraging transdisciplinary dialogue between music composition and other forms of creation, joint projects are offered in partnership with the Beaux-Arts de Paris – musique/arts plastiques – (Chaire Super sonique: exposer, monter, habiter le son) and the Dance Department at the Conservatoire de Paris (Cnsmdp).

Through a partnership with the Conservatoire de Paris, the Haute Ecole de musique de Genève, the Academie supérieure de musique de Strasbourg-Hear, and the Conservatoire national supérieur de musique et de danse de Lyon students enrolled in a Master’s degree in composition in one of these establishments can follow the first year of their degree in IRCAM's Cursus program.

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 fee are paid by the students.

Applicants selected for the Cursus program must confirm their participation in writing before January 30, 2021 and commit to take on any other professional engagements during the program (September 2021-June 2022).

Cursus registration fee amount to 2 000 € (including individual subscription of IRCAM Forum for 2 years).

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 October 15 to November 15, 2020.


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 (wav or aiff) and/or video (mov). 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
October 15, 2020: Applications can be submitted
November 30, 2020: Application deadline
December, 2020: Selection process
Mid-January, 2021: Announcement by mail of selection results

The jury will be made up of IRCAM director, Frank Madlener, IRCAM Education and Cultural Outreach Department director, Philippe Langlois and instructors, Pierre Jodlowski, Gérard Pesson and Séverine Ballon.
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.

Further information about the IRCAM Cursus competition can be found here

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