Graduate Music Composition Portfolio - Do piano sketches (guides) count?

I am new here, and took me a looong time to find where to post a new thread…!
Thanks to collegeconfidential and to all of you in advance.
I intend to return to the US for grad school as soon as I am ready.
I started a Master´s in Cello/Early Music performance a few years ago.
Now, after many years of music teaching and some orchestra performing, I am where I originally was when I first entered college a couple of decades ago, which is, in composing.

I am finally composing seriously, even though with no teachers.
Some listened and saw my manuscripts (including music professors/conductors) and admired it.
My question is:
I do have a couple of pieces ready (the piano sketch) to be copied to Finale or Sibelius (I have been composing on paper). Though, these pieces will likely be orchestrated sometime later, possibly this year.

Can I (is it advisable, or at least acceptable) to send that, a piano guide/sketch for each piece, for graduate school admission at a major university?<br>
I can also send a recording of myself playing them at the piano; the same version.

It will take me a long time to orchestrate and copy each instrument for each of the pieces (I just stated taking my first steps in orchestration, and am specially new to those computer notation programs), and I want to go STUDY…! I am older and do not want to lose time, and I do think I have music of interest to be shown.

Any advice will be more than welcome! I have looked all over the internet and could not find an answer for this.

I am also a fan of Gyorgy Ligeti (may be posting a new thread), and would love to know where to find a teacher who may have studied with him or, his style, in depth.

You are best off contacting the actual Music Departments with this question. It would do you wonders to actually communicate via email and/or phone with both the Admissions Office as well as a professor or two within the Music Department itself.

I certainly wouldn’t make the case that it would take “too much time” to orchestrate the piece. Either you will do it or you won’t. And if orchestration is needed for a grad program, any way you slice it, you will just need to hunker down and gain that skill.

The question about Ligeti - try some basic internet searching first - but once you have a small lead or find someone with at least a tangental connection - email/call that person and start networking until you find what you are looking for.

What I sense most is that you are passionate about music and composing, but that you have some serious legwork/research to do before finding a good “fit.” Don’t rush into grad school - what you want is fairly specialized in terms of type of music AND you seem to want to be mentored. (If the mentored part is wrong, that is fine, just enter your own expectation there.) You want to find schools that are a fit - that YOU want to be there and THEY want you as well!

You may find that to get accepted into the grad program you want that you need to bolster your application. More/better/diversified music portfolio perhaps. Or maybe you are ready – either way – start making the connections and keep working on your portfolio regardless if you get into grad school this year or 3 years from now. Best of luck.

Composers who have studied with Legeti and now are on university music faculty include Martin Bresnick (Yale), Michael Daugherty (U-Michigan) and Roberto Sierra (Cornell).