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Douglas Osmun

composer // guitarist



Douglas Osmun is a young composer of both acoustic and electronic music. He is particularly drawn toward the acoustic properties of sound, and therefore treats sounds as spatial objects to be sculpted and arranged. From dense, clamorous noises to spacious expanses that reach into a hazy sonic abyss, his works exist as sprawling, vivid sound worlds. In conjunction with his thoughtful language, Osmun has a clear affinity for elements of embodiment, sound spatialization, granular textures, and the human voice. His goal as a composer is to draw listeners into these thoughtfully crafted worlds so that he might engage and connect with them in new ways.

Osmun was raised on the western side of Michigan, never far from the shores of Lake Michigan. He is currently studying to receive his Masters in Composition at the University of Missouri, where he studies privately with Stefan Freund. He holds an undergraduate degree in Music Composition from Western Michigan University, where he also earned a minor in Multimedia Arts Technology. This minor encompassed training in audio engineering, creative projects with digital media, and computer programming. Former teachers of his at Western Michigan University include Lisa Renée Coons and Christopher Biggs. Osmun's music has been presented at a number of festivals and conferences, including SEAMUS, NYCEMF, the Society of Composers Inc. National Conference, the BGSU Graduate Music Conference, the Fresh Inc Festival, and the highSCORE Festival in Italy. He has also been awarded the Sinquefield Composition Prize and Commission, the Ron Nelson Award and Symphonic Band Commission, and was named a Beulah and Harold McKee Scholar, one of three top awards for students within the WMU School of Music.

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Convergences was conceived as a continuous set of short variations on cyclic motion and alignment constructed from fragmented cycles of timbre and gesture. Over the duration of the opening section, recurrence becomes apparent with increasing density of alignments. After the establishment of these ideas, a spacious, amorphous sound world is formed. Performers are given cycles of musical gestures, within which they are free to shape durations and dynamics in a manner congruent with the ensemble as a whole. The goal is for the performers, through carefully listening and reacting, to shape the material and create moments of significance through alignment (in whichever musical manner alignment may be interpreted). The conclusion of the piece is thought of as a saturation point where these materials are once again recollected and cycled through in a more organized manner until the dense texture gives way to delicate, wavering tones oscillating in and out of tune. This piece was written for the Mizzou New Music Ensemble in observance of the 2017 North American solar eclipse. 


First Fig is a work for an amplified ensemble consisting of Mezzo-Soprano, Cello, and Piano. The amplification is necessary due to the delicate and often subtle techniques asked of the performers. The piece slowly develops through a dark and gentle sound world to illustrate the weariness of the text's author: Edna St. Vincent Millay. It is the third and final movement of a work in progress, titled Hymns for the Still Night.


soliloquy was written as a part of an ongoing experiment working within Max. In it, I explore several effects and processes that can be used to expand the technical capabilities of the electric guitar. A spacious expanse is created within this piece (reminiscent of some Post-Rock styles), within which sounds are seemingly suspended in the air indefinitely, creating a spectral sea of colorful and textural washes.


bodies in motion is a classical guitar quartet composed for the 2015 highSCORE Festival in Pavia, Italy. It was written for Quartetto Apeiron and premiered at the Church of Saint Luke on August 13. Additionally, It is currently being adapted to be performed by electric guitar quartet. 


Upcoming Performances

  • 2017 BGSU Graduate Conference in Music / February 25, 2017 / Moore Musical Arts Center, BGSU OH

At 8:30 PM in Bryan Recital Hall, I will be performing soliloquy for electric guitar and live processing.

  • 2017 SCI National Conference / March 31, 2017 / Western Michigan University School of Music, Kalamazoo MI

I am honored to have the opportunity to present First Fig, for an amplified ensemble of Mezzo-soprano, cello, and piano, at the 2017 SCI National Conference.

  • Chancellor's Arts Showcase / April 10, 2017 / Missouri Theatre, Columbia MO

Premiere performance of Transfiguration, commissioned by Dr. Jeanne Sinquefield for the University of Missouri Philharmonic Orchestra.

  • Eclipse Symphony Debut / April 29, 2017 / Bond Life Science Center Auditorium, Columbia MO

Myself, along with three peers, will have works performed celebrating the 2017 North American Solar Eclipse. This concert will be the first in a series to showcase these works.

  • Eclipse Symphony Reprise / May 5, 2017 / St. Louis Science Center, St. Louis MO

The reprise performance of the eclipse themed works.

  • Eclipse Symphony Finale / August 21, 2017 / Lowry mall, Columbia MO

The finale of the Eclipse series will feature recordings of the four themed works to be played coinciding with the occurrence of the natural phenomenon, in addition to a ritualistic drumming performance.


October 3: I am thrilled to be able to announce that I have been selected as the recipient of the 2017 Sinquefield Composition Commission! As part of this award, I have been commissioned to write a piece for the University of Missouri Philharmonic Orchestra, which will be premiered at the Chancellor's Arts Showcase on April 10, 2017. I am incredibly excited for this opportunity, made possible by the generous support of Dr. Jeanne Sinquefield!

July 22: Today I am very excited to announce that I will be beginning my Masters in Music Composition this Fall at the University of Missouri! While it is sad to say goodbye to city of Kalamazoo and the wonderful arts community that is thriving there, I cannot wait to begin the next step of my career. This Fall I will begin studying with Dr. Stefan Freund, a composer and cellist who performs regularly with famed new music ensemble Alarm Will Sound. For my studies in Columbia, I was also offered the assistantship for the Mizzou New Music Initiative: a program aimed at fostering the creation and performance of new music at the University of Missouri. I cannot express how grateful I am for this opportunity and am incredibly excited to begin my studies!

June 13-19: Performance of soliloquy at the 2016 New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival. The work will be presented at the Abrons Arts Center.

February 11-13SEAMUS 2016 National Conference at Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, GA, where I was invited to perform soliloquy. The work will be performed on February 11 at 4:30pm in the Downtown Blackbox Theatre.


November 22, 2015: Presentation of my senior recital at 7:30pm at the WMU School of Music Recital Hall. The program will feature the following works: bodies in motion for electric guitar quartet, Dark, dark my light for string trio, soliloquy for solo electric guitar, and the third movement of Insomnis Hymns for the Still Night, a new work for voice, cello, and piano, which features the texts of Edna St. Vincent Millay.

November 9, 2015: New Music Concert at 10pm at the Union in downtown Kalamazoo. This concert includes two performances of my work: bodies in motion (which has been adapted for electric guitar quartet) and soliloquy, for solo electric guitar. Also featured are pieces by Kevin Kerr and Nathan Haering.

August 2-15: highSCORE Festival in Pavia, Italy. Including the premiere of bodies in motion, a classical guitar quartet for Quartetto Apeiron.

March 19: The selected works for the Society of Composers Region V Student Mixtape have been announced. As Region V Student Representative, I was proud to curate this release and thoroughly enjoyed hearing the diverse styles present in Region V. Congratulations to all the selected composers!

February 22: World premiere of Resonant Forms by the WMU Symphonic Band at Miller Auditorium.


November 24: Student Composers Concert II at the WMU School of Music Recital Hall, including a performance of Dark, dark my light.

October 24: Analytical presentation on George Crumb's Vox Balaenae in Dalton Center, Room 2004, at 2pm. This presentation primarily focuses on formal ideas, Crumb's harmonic language, timbral development, and how these support the aesthetic goals and extramusical themes of the work.

June 9-22: Fresh Inc Festival in Kenosha, WI. Including the premiere of Three Short Conversations by Magic Deuce Duo on June 22 at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside.

March 26: Dither Quartet reading of Pursuit, a new game piece for electric guitar quartet, at the WMU School of Music Recital Hall.

Selected Works

Large Ensemble

Transfiguration | symphony orchestra | 7'15" | 2017

  • 3222 4331 timpani, 3 percussion, piano, coloratura soprano, strings
  • Commissioned by the University of Missouri for the 2017 Sinquefield Composition Prize.


Resonant Forms | symphonic band | 6' | 2014

  • Commissioned by Western Michigan University for the Ron Nelson Composition Award.

Chamber Ensemble

Convergences (cycle variations) | flute, bass clarinet, soprano saxophone, violin, cello, piano, percussion | 7'30" | 2017

  • Composed for the Mizzou New Music Ensemble in celebration of the 2017 North American Solar Eclipse


Hymns for the Still Night | voice, cello, piano (amplified ensemble) | 20' | in progress

  • A three movement setting of various texts by Edna St. Vincent Millay.


Periphery | mezzo-soprano, tenor saxophone, clarinet, cello, electric guitar, electric bass, 2 percussion, piano | 7' | 2016

  • A text setting of 'Periphery,' a poem by Savannah Belle Gonsoulin. Written for Emergency Stopping Only.


bodies in motion | classical guitar quartet | 5' | 2015

  • Written for Quartetto Apeiron for the 2015 highSCORE Festival in Pavia, Italy.


Three Short Conversations | flute, clarinet | 8' | 2014

  • Written for Magic Deuce for the 2014 Fresh Inc Festival.


Pursuit | electric guitar quartet | 6' | 2014

  • Tile-based board game for four players.


Dark, dark my light | violin, viola, cello | 9' | 2013


soliloquy | electric guitar and live processing | 6' | 2015


A Thousand Lights Danced Upon the Water | electric guitar and live processing | 4'30" | 2014


With the Species We Are | fixed media and dance | 5' | 2013

  • Collaboration with choreographer Alex Hlavaty


Rockpile | 20' | in progress


Strangers | 8' | 2015

  • Collaboration with Wes Wheat (director) and Ryan Nichols (producer)

For inquiries, feel free to use the form below, or contact me directly at douglas.w.osmun[at]gmail[dot]com

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