Hello all!


Hi, my name is Gwendolyn. I am looking to major in composition in college and pursue a film scoring career.

I graduated last year and intended this year as a gap year, but I discovered the opportunity to take a few online college course offerings for credit, which has been going very well and will surely ease my eventual transition to full time enrollment. I've played the cello (my main instrument) since 2016, I've played piano on and off since 2015, and I also play a little guitar and am currently teaching myself. I've enjoyed writing chamber music and occasionally orchestral music since 2019. My notation software is Dorico 3.5 and my DAW is Cubase Pro. 

I also have a soft spot for jazz, R&B and dream pop, but classical has been my main focus. I joined this site while I was searching for advice on putting together college portfolios and getting recordings for them. I also hope to find out about competitions more easily through this forum.

Here is some of my work:








And here is an arrangement I made a couple of years ago for my chamber orchestra of Amy Beach's piano piece, A Hermit Thrush at Eve:


I look forward to getting to know you all!

You need to be a member of Composers' Forum to add comments!

Join Composers' Forum

Email me when people reply –


  • Hi Gwendolyn,

    I haven't had a chance to listen to any of your work yet, but here's a welcome from me in England.

    Good luck with your studies although I hope you won't limit yourself to film scoring which has become so corporatised these days. The few films I bother to watch because I really don't like the incidental music! It just seems cut and paste. The cello is a lovely instrument and I've written several ditties for it.

    I'll try to listen to some of your work, just a bit tied up at the mo watching the bitcoin graph hoping it goes up a bit tonight. 

    Bests, Dane.

  • Hi Gwendolyn, I'm an amateur composer who is not interested in film music but I have been checking out this YouTube series by a successful young woman film composer that you might be interested in.

    • Hello!

      Thank you for sending this; I just watched it. It's inspiring to see a woman succeeding in the film/video game music industry, and she seems very honest, humble, and generous in sharing practical advice. I can't wait to watch more of her videos.

      ~ Gwen

  • Hi Gwendolyn,

    I wish you all the best with your studies in music. I imagine that by now you have submitted everything for your application and are waiting to hear from the colleges you applidied to, if your applying for fall 2022.

    Like you, I began composing music as a teenager. The best advice that I got from my music teachers back then (half a century ago) was to be open minded, listen to all kinds of music from around the world, and never stop learning about music. The advice that I would add to this is to make composing music a daily routine.

    I did listen to your arrangement of the Amy Beach piano piece. Very nicely done. It would be great to have a read-through with string players--which you could find a way to coordinate with string students at college (maybe a way for you to begin learning some basic conducting skills too?).

    I also enjoyed listening to your January Mood. There were a few moments where I heard suggestions of a holiday tune and I liked how you let the harmony become a little unsettled in the middle section and then return to being more stable in the final section. All of these things helped you to succeed in conveying the nostalgia and blues after the holidays that you were expressing. You might want to consider using dynamics more (cresendos and decresendos; verious levels of louder and softer) to shape the unfolding of the music and for expression.  

    Well done and I wish you much success,



    • Hi Mr. Schreiner,

      Thank you so much for listening to my tracks and the helpful feedback. I will definitely consider varying my dynamics more.

      I actually attended my orchestra's rehearsal of the Beach piece a couple of weeks ago over Zoom (and they're performing it tomorrow!). I got to discuss with the director the parts that needed special attention, and the soloist's interpretation. It was a wonderful experience. I'm not playing in the orchestra this year, but they have been finding ways to keep me involved, this arrangement being one example. It's my hope that it will continue to be played by other ensembles in the future.

      I am taking a gap year after I graduate (this Spring) and applying for Fall 2023. I am just starting to prepare and would appreciate any advice related to the process of applying to a composition program. 

      Thank you again for your response!

      ~ Gwen


      • Congratulations on the performance of you arrangement of the Amy Beach piece! I hope you get an excellent performance of it. Have you arranged to have the performance recorded? This might be helpful as a demo for your portfolio in applying for schools (and other opportunities).

        Since you are taking a gap year, that's a perfect time to fill out your portfolio. I would aim for representing a variety of different types of pieces with different tempos, moods and character. Also, writing for a variety a different instruments. Something for voice too because that can demonstrate setting words to music and treating the voice as a different kind of instrument. As you write for different instruments and different types of groupings, I would seek out examples of to listen carefully to and find scores of these pieces to study as well (older music as well as modern scores).

        It is wonderful that you have a connection with the orchestra and director doing your piece tomorrow. I am sure you will continue your connection with them and maybe find some members of the orchestra willing to answer questions about their particular instruments for you as you add more pieces to your portfolio.

        I think it is great that you have a appreciation for the music of past. I thnk having a good grounding in the history of musical practice and the breadth of musics across different cultures of the world is important to the broad understanding of what music is and can be. There is an overwhelming amount of music of every ilk. None of us can know it all. But it is important to stay current with what composers are doing now--the conservsative ones and well as ones that are looking for ways to stretch beyond the norms.

        When I was a freshman in college (1973), I was interested in figuring out what was really meant by atonal music and how one even goes about writting something meaningful in this style of music. I took this question up with my first composition teacher in the first piece I wrote under his guidance. I was surprised when he had me looking closely at some of Bach's fugues in the Well Tempered Klavier for examples. Though Bach was not an atonal composer, there are transitional moments in some of the fugues that seem to transcent tonality. In the end, I felt I had a better sense of what I was after in the piece I was writing (which sounded nothing like Bach) and a better appreciation for J. S. Bach too! So, being retro is fine and can have contructive benefits to broader understanding--(music isn't only about what is most trendy at the moment).   

        Also, in looking forward to applying to colleges, take a close look at the composition faculty (and music faculty in general) for the colleges you are interested in applying to. Listen to some of the compositions of the faculty and look at their backgrounds and their particular interests. Since you have a gap year to prepare, it would be good to reach out to and talk with a number of people who are musicians/composers who have graduated from college music programs. Gleaning information from many musicians with many different experiences could help you get a more meaningful picture of getting the most from the college experience. 

        All the very best to you and for your performance tomorrow,




  • This reply was deleted.
    • Hi Mr. Gerber,

      Thank you so much for listening to my track!

      I am not very clear on what function a DAW serves, other than to produce and edit audio mock-ups and record live input from a MIDI keyboard. Is this its main purpose? While I think these actions are possible to some extent in my notation software, I do know that I need both a notation software and a DAW and have begun to consider Cubase and Kontakt Player.

      Are you familiar with Cubase and/or Kontakt Player? I don't know the details of these tools, or of any DAW, and would appreciate any information you have to offer. 

      I look forward to discussing this subject that I am very new to!

      With gratitude,



      P.S. I do know that Hans Zimmer uses Cubase. I've been watching his Masterclass, and I am in awe of how quickly he can create a loop from scratch and easily edit its timbre!

      • This reply was deleted.
        • Thank you for explaining. It sounds like Dorico is focused on producing professional scores, while a DAW is focused on producing professional audio, then. 

          I like the lush sound of the woodwinds and the reverb on the strings in the example you sent. The sound overall is much clearer and more precise than that of the sample library I've been using in Dorico, NotePerformer! I will have to get a DAW and find some good sample libraries before applying to college so I can use them to make my portfolio sound its best.

          Is there a way for me to import information from my notation software to a DAW (for example, a musicxml file) so that I can essentially transfer my existing compositions? 

          ~ Gwen

      • This reply was deleted.
        • Yes, that helps a lot. That's amazing, that you can use Cakewalk permanently for free, and I'm glad to learn that it is compatible with Kontakt. I will definitely consider it.

          Thank you!

  • I missed your thread at the time for some reason but have started to listen to some of your works on Soundcloud and was immediately gripped by the very distinctive harmony and sound world. Was particularly impressed by "Windchill" and also "Violet" -- I guess these are among the most recent of your compositions? I don't know how things are going with your studies at the moment but I hope and suspect you have quite a future ahead. And I do hope you will continue to write emotionally distinctive music and not be drawn into doing something too bland just for commercial considerations if you get heavily involved with film scoring.

This reply was deleted.