Winners of The American Prize in Composition,

Complete listings of finalists and semi-finalists in The American Prize competitions may be found on our Please scroll down for winners and runners-up in earlier competition years.

Winners and runners-up are listed by year. Scroll down to the category:

Theater Music

Orchestral Music

Choral Music
Band Music
Chamber Music

The American Prize in Composition (Theater—Professional Division), 2014

The American Prize winner:

for "Night of the Living Dead: the opera"
Midland  PA

TODD GOODMAN has been described as “one of America’s promising young composers.” His works are performed all over the world by a wide variety of players, including principal members of many major symphony orchestras—Chicago, Pittsburgh, Boston, Singapore, Florida, Iceland, and Seattle. Goodman currently serves as the resident composer for the Lincoln Park Performing Arts Center ( located outside Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His works have won international praise from the British Trombone Society [Trombone Concerto]; the Tuba Repertoire Initiative and the International Tuba Euphonium Association [Tuba Concerto]; the International Project Piccolo Rebirth [Echos: prelude and dance]; the Center for Contemporary Opera [Night of the Living Dead: the opera]; and The American Prize [Bass Clarinet Concerto]; He holds degrees from the University of Colorado [B.M.], Duquesne University [M.M], and Kent State University [Ph.D. ABD]. Also, Mr. Goodman in 2014, was selected from over 30,000 applicants, as a quarter-finalist for the first ever Grammy Award for Music Education.


Among judges' comments: "...audacious, scary, sometimes campy—but always dead serious..."


2nd Place:

PETER VAN ZANDT LANE for "HackPolitik—a ballet in two acts for chamber ensemble and electronics"
Belmont  MA


Peter Van Zandt Lane (b. 1985) is an American composer of instrumental and electroacoustic music. His works have been critically praised for their “appeal to musicians and audiences, no matter their personal musical aesthetic” (Asymmetry Music Magazine). His recent full-length ballet, HackPolitik, was hailed as "angular, jarring, and sophisticated...very compelling...ballet needs live music, and this one offered it at the highest level." (Boston Musical Intelligencer). Peter has received fellowships from Yaddo, MacDowell Colony, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and has received commissions from the Barlow Endowment, the Wellesley Composers Conference, and Dinosaur Annex, among others. His music has been played by top-tier ensembles such as the Cleveland Orchestra, International Contemporary Ensemble, the New York Virtuoso Singers, and the Lydian String Quartet. Peter holds degrees from Brandeis University and the University of Miami. He studied composition with Melinda Wagner, Eric Chasalow, and David Rakowski, and bassoon with Luciano Magnanini.

3rd Place:

ERIC SAWYER for "The Garden of Martyrs"
Amherst  MA

The music of Eric Sawyer receives frequent performances on both coasts, including at New York’s Weill and Merkin concert halls and at Tanglewood, as well as in England, France, and Germany.  Many of his larger works connect to American historical subjects.  Sawyer’s first opera "Our American Cousin." was premiered in 2008 by the Boston Modern Orchestra Project and released on the BMOP/sound label.  A second opera, "The Garden of Martyrs", received its premiere from the Springfield Symphony in September 2013.  Other recent works including Fantasy Concerto: "Concord Conversations", composed for the piano trio Triple Helix and the Concord Orchestra. A chamber collection, String Works, and the cantata "The Humble Heart" are available on CD from Albany Records.  Mr. Sawyer has received the Joseph Bearns Prize, awards from the Tanglewood Music Center and the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He is on the music faculty at Amherst College.


"Extraordinary Use of Technology to Expand the Boundaries of Performance"

MATTHEW BURTNER for "Auksalaq"
Charlottesville  VA

Matthew Burtner ( is an Alaskan-born composer and sound artist specializing in chamber music and interactive new media. His work explores ecoacoustics, embodiment and multimedia. First Prize Winner of the Musica Nova International Electroacoustic Music Competition (Czech Republic), a 2011 IDEA Award Winner (USA), and a recipient of the Howard Brown Foundation Fellowship of Brown University, Burtner’s music has also received honors and awards from Bourges (France), Gaudeamus (Netherlands), Darmstadt (Germany) and The Russolo (Italy) international competitions. He is the composer of three evening-length multimedia opera/theater works — Ukiuq Tulugaq (Winter Raven), Kuik, and Auksalaq. He is a professor of Composition and Computer Technologies in the Department of Music at the University of Virginia where he Directs the Interactive Media Research Group (IMRG) and the VCCM Computer Music Center.


Among judges' comments: "through sound and is immersed in the beauty—and recognizes the fragility—of the natural world."



ROBERT FRUEHWALD for "Double Blind Sided"
Cape Girardeau  MO

Composer and teacher, Robert Fruehwald, grew up in Louisville, Kentucky where he played flute in the Louisville Youth Orchestra. He attended the University of Louisville receiving a Bachelor of Music in Composition (with honors). While in Louisville, he studied composition with Claude Baker, and Dan Welcher. He earned his Master of Fine Arts degree at the California Institute of the Arts studying with Mel Powell, Morton Subotnick, and Leonard Rosenman. He returned to the midwest to work on a Ph.D. at Washington University in St. Louis. There, he studied under Robert Wykes and finished his doctorate in 1985. Before accepting a teaching position in the late 1980s, Dr. Fruehwald developed a series of programs to print musical examples for scholarly journals and books. In 1989 he took a teaching position at Southeast Missouri State University. For more information see:

The American Prize in Composition (Orchestra—Professional Division), 2014

The American Prize winner:

GREGG WRAMAGE for "La tristesse durera"
Atlantic Highlands NJ

Widely recognized as one of the leading composers of his generation, Gregg Wramage has been both a finalist for the Rome Prize and a two-time semi-finalist for Opera Philadelphia's Composer-in-Residence program. “The Sea-longing”, a chamber concerto commissioned by The Barlow Endowment for violist Brett Deubner will be premiered in 2015 by conductor Renee Baker and Chicago Modern Orchestra Project—the culmination of a two-year residency with the ensemble that will also feature the Chicago premieres of Mr. Wramage’s first symphony, and as part of a New Music USA/League of American Orchestras Music Alive: New Partnerships residency grant, “in shadows, in silence.” “La tristesse durera,” an orchestral work premiered by the Minnesota Orchestra, received both the 2007 Copland House Sylvia Goldstein Award and the 2008 international EAMA Prize. Mr. Wramage resides in Atlantic Highlands, NJ, and serves on the faculties of Eugene Lang College and Montclair State University.


Among judges' comments: "...lovely timbral combinations and many interesting instrumental effects."


2nd Place:

KENNETH A. JACOBS for "Approaching Northern Darkness"
Knoxville  TN

Kenneth A. Jacobs (DMA University of Texas Austin) has received International New Music Composers Award, Bergen Festival Award, City College of New York Electro-Acoustic Prize, Brown University Choral Prize, Tennessee Orchestral Prize, the Texas Music Educators Association Prize, two from Tennessee Music Teachers Association, and Phi Kappa Phi Outstanding Artist Award. Over 100 presentations of his dozen multimedia works have occurred.  These feature his artwork and photography and soon will be available on DVD. Directing the composition program at the University of Tennessee, he is published by Boosey and Hawkes, Seesaw Music, and North/South Editions.  17 solo compact discs have been released on the Opus One, Impact, ERM, and Zyode labels.  His music, artwork, and photography are featured at


3rd Place:

PAUL LOMBARDI for his Piano Concerto
Vermillion  SD

Paul Lombardi (Ph.D., University of Oregon) is an assistant professor of music theory and composition at the University of South Dakota. His music has been performed in more than 20 states across the US, as well as in other areas in North America, South America, and Europe. Recordings of hismusic are available from Capstone Records, Zerx Records, and ERMMedia. Dr. Lombardi's theoretical work focuses on mathematics and music, and is published in the Music Theory Spectrum, Indiana Theory Review, and Mathematics and Computers in Simulation, among other places.

The American Prize in Composition (Orchestra—Student Division), 2014

The American Prize winner:

TEXU KIM for "Monastic Sceneries"
Bloomington  IN

Texu Kim’s works have been performed by Ensemble Modern, Ensemble Intercontemporain, Alarm Will Sound, Ensemble Reconsil Vienna, Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra, in the Aspen Music Festival and School, Tongyeong International Music Festival, AGO National Convention, ACDA Regional Conference, among others. His music has earned awards and honors from SCI/ASCAP Commission Competition, OSSIA NEW MUSIC Composition Competition, C4 Commissioning Competition, Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute, Isang Yun International Composition Prize, etc. Recently appointed Composer-in-Residence at Korean Symphony Orchestra, he will get premiered two of his orchestral pieces in 2015. Texu’s principal teachers include Claude Baker, Unsuk Chin, Sven-David Sandström, David Dzubay, and Sangjick Jun. He is pursuing a doctorate in composition at Indiana University and holds a master’s degree in music composition and a bachelor’s in composition and chemistry from Seoul National University. For more information on Texu Kim and his music, please visit


Among judges' comments: "Immensely developed technique in handling non-fat instrumental combinations across the orchestral choirs."


2nd Place:

RODRIGO BUSSAD for "Depois da Chuva (after the rain)"
Miami  FL


Rodrigo Bussad is a highly active composer in the Miami New Music scene. His music has been premiered and performed in several local concert halls, Biennals and art galleries. He is the winner of the 2013 Frost Symphony Orchestra Concerto Composition Competition and was awarded second place in the 2013 American Prize for Composition: Chamber Music Student Division. In both 2012 and 2013, Bussad was selected as a one of the composers featured in the Emerging Composers Concert —Festival Miami. Recently, he was selected as one of the four composers (worldwide) to participate at the II Bienal Musica Hoje, a prestigious international festival in Curitiba (Brazil) where he received lessons and master classes with the composer in residence, Marcos Balter (Columbia College Chicago.) His piece: La Couleur de L’invible was commissioned by the II Bienal Musica Hoje and premiered by the ensemble (Stuttgart.) Bussad was a participant in the SoundSCAPE Festival in both 2011 and 2012 (Italy) having three of his pieces premiered there, and also received private lessons and master classes with the composers Lei Liang (UCSD), Josh Levine (Oberlin), Brian Hulse (College of William & Mary) and Marcela Pavia (National University of Rosario.) Currently, Bussad is worked with the Ensemble Paramirabo (Montreal), in a new commission “Loin” that was performed in London, Toronto and Montreal during January of 2014 and is now working the percussionist Svet Stoyanov in a new commission for this spring. He is actively pursuing his Masters Degree in Composition at the University of Miami Frost School of Music, under the tutelage of Lansing McLoskey. Bussad is also a forming member and artistic director of the Ensemble Gaoshan Liushui, the first South American ensemble that researches and performs traditional Chinese music.


3rd Place:

PATRICK O'MALLEY for "Superimpose"
Auburn  IN

Patrick O’Malley is a composer whose works explore both the cinematic and concert mediums. O’Malley’s works include pieces for large orchestras, chamber ensembles, electronics, and solo and duo performers. His love of music’s storytelling and atmospheric qualities also spur his passion for composing film, theater, and video game music. Pieces for the concert stage have featured collaborations with the East Coast Contemporary Ensemble, Northwestern Contemporary Music Ensemble, Northwestern University Symphony Orchestra, American Academy of Conducting at Aspen, Northwestern University’s Symphonic Wind Ensemble, Fulcrum Point New Music Project, and Fifth House Ensemble. In 2010 Patrick was announced as the winner of Northwestern’s Student Composition Competition for his orchestral work Superimpose, was a finalist for ASCAP’s Morton Gould prize in 2012, and was featured on Fulcrum Point New Music Project’s Discoveries series for emerging composers in 2013. O’Malley currently studies at the University of Southern California with Frank Ticheli.



The American Prize in Composition (Choral—Professional Division), 2014


The American Prize winner:

DOMINICK DIORIO  selected works
Bloomington  IN

Called "a forward-thinking young composer filled with new ideas, ready to tackle anything," conductor and composer Dominick DiOrio was recently named Best Composer 2011 by HoustonPress for Klytemnestra, his opera with Divergence Vocal Theater. His second opera, The Little Blue One, will have its premiere in April 2014 with Juventas New Music Ensemble. He has been awarded prizes in composition ASCAP and ACDA, among others. His work is published with Alliance, Boosey & Hawkes, Éditions à Couer-Joie, Edition Peters, G. Schirmer, Lorenz, Mark Foster, Oxford and Santa Barbara. DiOrio is assistant professor of choral conducting at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, where he directs NOTUS: IU Contemporary Vocal Ensemble. He earned the DMA degree in conducting from the Yale School of Music and the BM in composition from Ithaca College. He currently serves as Treasurer on the Executive Board for the National Collegiate Choral Organization (NCCO).


Among judges' comments: "His depth of vision, mastery of compositional technique and unique style, set him in a category by himself."


2nd Place:

DANIEL ELDER for "Three Themes of Life and Love"
Nashville  TN


As a writer of choral, vocal, and instrumental music, Daniel Elder (b. 1986) ties these genres together to create forms and aesthetics that are at once lyrical and textural, with impressionistic leanings. Critics have hailed his works as “deeply affecting,” with emotional evocations ranging from lush lyricism to jagged polyphony. Domestically, Elder’s compositions have been extensively performed by high school All-State and regional honors choirs as well as renowned college ensembles at both regional and national conferences. Internationally, he has been performed at festivals in Italy, Spain, and a recent recording in London by the Grammy Award-winning Eric Whitacre Singers.  The first major recording of Daniel's choral works, "The Heart's Reflection - Music of Daniel Elder" was released in October 2013 by the renowned Westminster Choir and Naxos of America.  Daniel is currently published by GIA Publications, Inc. and Imagine Music.  Learn more at


3rd Place:

JOCELYN HAGEN for "Sanctus"
Minneapolis  MN

Jocelyn Hagen (b.1980), a native of Valley City, North Dakota, composes music that has been described as “dramatic and deeply moving” (Star Tribune, Minneapolis/St. Paul). Her first forays into composition were via songwriting, and this is very evident in her work. The majority of her compositional output is for voice: solo, chamber and choral. In 2012 she collaborated with choreographer Penelope Freeh to create Slippery Fish, a quartet for 2 dancers, soprano and viola, and the piece was reviewed as "completely original in all respects." (Star Tribune, Minneapolis/St. Paul).  Currently she is Artist-in-Residence at the North Dakota State University School of Music, where she teaches, writes curriculum and brings in collaborators to perform her work. Jocelyn holds degrees in Theory, Composition, and Vocal Music Education from St. Olaf College, as well as a Masters degree in Composition from the University of Minnesota.  Her training also includes summer study at the European American Musical Alliance in Paris, France, where she studied with Philip Lasser of the Juilliard School of Music. Other former teachers include Judith Lang Zaimont, Peter Hamlin, David Maslanka, Mary Ellen Childs, and Timothy Mahr.




The American Prize in Composition (Choral - Student Division), 2014


The American Prize winner:

SAUNDER CHOI selected works
Cambridge  MA

Saunder Choi (b. 1988) is an emerging Filipino composer who has written a wide variety of works, from contemporary classical instrumental, vocal and choral works to jazz charts and popular music arrangements. His works have been performed in various concert halls, including Merkin Hall at the Lincoln Center in NY, the UNESCO headquarters in Paris, the world famous Teatro Colon opera house in Buenos Aires, the National Center for the Performing Arts in Beijing, and in different international goodwill tours and concerts, such as the Philippine Madrigal Singers’ 2009 UNESCO Artists for Peace awarding ceremony, the 2010 Guido d’Arezzo Polifonico Choral Competition in Italy, the 2011 World Choral Symposium in Argentina, the 2012 World Choir Games in Ohio and the 2013 Oregon Bach Festival Composers Symposium. Select works have also been performed, recorded and read by the Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, the Philippine Madrigal Singers, the Peninsula Women’s Chorus, the Salt Lake Choral Artists, the Kalistos Chamber Orchestra and the Oregon Bach Festival Composers Symposium Chorus.


In 2007, his arrangement of Malinac Lay Labi was chosen as one of the 15 winning, published entries in Awiting Bayan para sa Korong Pilipino, a national Philippine folksong choral arranging competition sponsored by the National Commission for Culture and Arts in the Philippines. He was a 2012 ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Award finalist and received the 2013 Leroy Southers Award from the Berklee College of Music Composition Department. He was also one of the composers selected for the 1st Young Composers Initiative call for scores by the Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra.

Born in Manila, Philippines, he holds a Bachelor of Arts major in Communication Arts degree from the De La Salle University-Manila and a Bachelor of Music in Composition, minor in Conducting, summa cum laude, from the Berklee College of Music. He is currently pursuing his Master of Music in Composition at the USC Thornton School of Music, studying with Donald Crockett. He studied composition with Andrew List, Marti Epstein and Vuk Kulenovic, and had master classes with Stephen Hartke, Chen Yi, Robert Kyr and Adam Gorb. He studied conducting with Isaiah Jackson and Francisco Noya. His works are published with Santa Barbara Music Publishing and Earthsongs.


Among judges' comments: "...his work is thoughtful, well crafted, stylistically interesting and full of joyousness."


2nd Place:

EDWARD F. DAVIS for "My Sun and Song and Spring," "Silver Bells," Requiem Aeternam
Chicago  IL)

Edward F. Davis (b. 1989) is a Chicago-based, English-American composer and bass-baritone. He graduated with Honors in music composition from Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois, and is currently pursuing a Master of Music in composition at Roosevelt University's Chicago College of the Performing Arts. His music has been performed throughout the United States, including at the IMEA All-State Conference in 2011, as well as in the Catalunya region of Spain.

Davis has studied composition with Drs. Bruce Polay, Thomas Benjamin, Marta Ptaszyńska, Rob Deemer, and Stephen Andrew Taylor, and currently studies with Drs. Stacy Garrop and Kyong Mee Choi. He works as a sound designer and composer of original music at Rare Terra Theatre, and proudly serves as Composer-in-Residence for the Chicago Chamber Choir. He also works as a freelance professional singer in the Chicagoland area, performing with groups such as Bella Voce, Chicago Choral Artists, and Peregrine Vocal Ensemble (of which he is a founding member).


3rd Place:

ZACHARY J. MOORE for "I Will Lift My Eyes"
Wind Lake  WI

Zachary J. Moore (b. 1992) is an American composer and arranger currently studying Music Education at the University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire. Moore, who is a native resident of Wisconsin, attended Muskego High School and began composing at the age of fifteen. In 2010, he sent in his first composition to the Wisconsin State Music Association’s young composer contest, earning third place. Moore has since had the opportunity to receive composition lessons from Ethan Wickman, Ola Gjeilo and Eric Barnum. Over the past year and a half he has received an increasing amount of commissions from choral groups and societies all over the nation including a commissioned work by the North Central American Choral Directors Association for their 2014 conference. Moore’s choral works have recently been published through Colla Voce. For more information on Moore:



The American Prize in Composition (Band—Professional Division), 2014


The American Prize winner:

LAURENCE BITENSKY for "Fearsome Critters"
Lancaster  KY

Known for music described as "extraordinarily sensitive and beautiful" and "speaking directly to the heart,” composer and pianist Laurence Bitensky has been hailed for works that are satisfying for performers and communicative to audiences.  With their emotional intensity, directness, lyrical and sinuous melodies, and funky, polyrhythmic grooves, his works range from wistfully nostalgic, deeply sad, and evocative, to exuberant, playful and ecstatic. Born in 1966 in New York, and educated at Skidmore College, the New England Conservatory of Music, Ithaca College, and Cornell University, Bitensky’s works have been recognized by numerous foundations and institutions.  His music has been performed by numerous ensembles and at various festivals around North America, Europe, and Asia. Bitensky is an Associate Professor of Music at Centre College where he teaches composition, music theory, musicianship, and world music.  For more info see


Among judges' comments: "A very engaging piece, with clever orchestrations and original sonic colors."


2nd Place:

KYLE KINDRED for "Variations on a Tango"
Humble  TX


Kyle Kindred (b.1978) is Associate Professor of Music and Director of Composition Studies at Sam Houston State University.  Kindred holds degrees in composition from Wichita State University and The University of Texas at Austin where his teachers were Walter Mays, Dean Roush, Donald Grantham and 2012 Pulitzer Prize winner Kevin Puts.  His witty, lyrical and occasionally theatrical works for winds and percussion have been performed by the North Texas Wind Symphony, the Lone Star Wind Orchestra, the Florida State University Wind Orchestra, the San Jose State University Wind Ensemble, the St. Louis Wind Symphony, the United States Navy Band, the Indiana University of Pennsylvania Wind Ensemble, the TAD Wind Symphony of Japan and the Showa University of Music Wind Ensemble in Kawasaki City, Japan.  Kindred is a contributing author for GIA Publications’ Composers on Composing for Band, Volume 4, edited by Mark Camphouse.  For more information, visit


3rd Place:

DAVID AVSHALOMOV for "The Last Stand"
Santa Monica  CA

A third-generation composer and conductor based in Santa Monica, David Avshalomov is also an accomplished bass vocalist. He composes in an accessible neo-tonal, modern Romantic style that balances a lyric gift with characteristic rhythmic vitality and pungent harmonies. His influences include the great 20th-century tonal composers (plus his father Jacob and grandfather Aaron). He has written for forces ranging from solo instruments to full orchestra, band, and chorus, from songs and incidental pieces to full-length oratorio. Currently he focuses on vocal and band music, with an increasing number of regional commissions. His music has been performed professionally across the US, in Europe, Russia, and the Far East, and recorded on Albany and Naxos. He has won prestigious grants and competitions, including a 2012 citation from the American Prize for Orchestral Composition, and a 2013 ACDA Silver Platter Award for Choral Composition.


He earned his B.A in Music at Harvard and a D.M.A. in conducting (Krachmalnick) and composition (Bergsma, Verrall, Suderberg) at the University of Washington, studied at Aspen (Morel, Blomstedt, Torkanowsky), and Tanglewood (Bernstein, Schuller, Ozawa), was music director of US orchestras and choruses on both coasts, guest conducted widely, toured in Europe and the Far East, and recorded orchestral music by his grandfather Aaron in Moscow for Naxos. His conducting work has garnered frequent listings in Who's Who in Music and Who's Who in the West.


The American Prize in Composition (Band - Student Division), 2014


The American Prize winner:

WEIJUN CHEN for "Distance"
Buffalo  NY

Weijun Chen (b. 1990) is a Chinese-American composer of contemporary concert music. His music has been performed and read by ensembles such as Eastman Wind Ensemble, Arditti Quartet (UK), Uusinta Ensemble (Finland), Freya String Quartet, Cuong Vu Trio, Ensemble Son (Sweden), Either/OR, Sound ExChange, Drum Joy Ensemble, and Birch Crescent Duo, among others. Currently, Weijun is pursuing his PhD at State University of New York at Buffalo with Presidential Fellowship, where he studies composition with David Felder. He has studied composition with Ricardo Zohn-Muldoon, Lisa Bielawa, David Liptak, Carlos Sanchez-Gutierrez, and Robert Morris. Weijun holds two BMs from the Eastman School of Music in both composition and music theory (Highest Distinction), as well as an Arts Leadership Certificate. He is also a member of Pi Kappa Lambda, a national music honor society. For more information, please visit


Among judges' comments: "stunning use of hymn tune fragments in a thoroughly contemporary sound world…deeply affecting."


2nd Place:

MATT LAROCCA for "Arctic Voices"
Sommerville MA

Matt LaRocca (b. 1980, NJ) is a composer, performer and educator from Somerville, MA.  He holds a B.A. from Middlebury College in chemistry and music, a M.Mus. from Carnegie Mellon University in music composition, and is currently a doctoral candidate at Boston University.  After spending several years as a chemist after college, he switched professions so he could focus on music.  As a composer, much of his inspiration is drawn from the natural world, the environment, and historic events.  In addition to composing, Matt is an active performer in many different genres of music on both the guitar and viola.


3rd Place:

TED KING-SMITH for "Manhattan"
Kansas City  MO

Ted King-Smith's music is a hybrid of vernacular and contemporary music, exploring the vast sonic space between an energetic drive and a surreal stillness. Hailing from the Hudson Valley of New York, Ted began his studies in music on the saxophone at age 8, and then went on to attend and graduate from the Hartt School of Music in 2010, and Washington State University in 2012. He is currently pursuing his DMA in composition at the University of Missouri – Kansas City where his current teachers include Chen Yi and James Mobberley. Awards for Ted’s music include the 2012 Washington-Idaho Symphony Young Artist Competition and 2011 Sinfonian Saxes Composition Competition, as well as selected performances at College Music Society Conferences in Vancouver, British Columbia and Knoxville, Tennessee. Notable performers and ensembles include the Saxophilia Saxophone Quartet, University of Tennessee Symphony Band, and others. For more information visit




The American Prize in Composition (Chamber Music—Professional Division), 2014

The American Prize winner:

PIOTR SZEWCZYK for "Piano Trio No. 1 " and 
"Twisted Dances" (ob, vl, vc, pno)
Jacksonville  FL

PIOTR SZEWCZYK is a violinist in the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra and the Composer-In–Residence at the Florida Chamber Music Project. He holds the degrees of B.M. and double M.M. in violin and compo­sition from University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and is currently pursuing Doctorate at Florida State University. He has received many awards including those from Rapido! Composition Contest, American Modern Ensemble, Third Millennium Ensemble, American Composers Forum, JSO Fresh Ink and many others.

His music has been performed by numerous ensembles and was featured on NPR Performance Today and CBS Early Show. His piece Apparitions was recently released on Navona records NOVA CD and was called “magical” in a review in Gramophone Magazine.
As a violinist Szewczyk is the creator and performer of the Violin Futura Project, a series of recitals of solo violin pieces written for  him by renowned composers from around the world. More at:


Among judges' comments: ", exhilarating, and fresh..."


2nd Place:

ROBERT J. BRADSHAW for "At the Root of Identity" (laptop and ensemble)
Gloucester  MA


Robert J. Bradshaw’s music is frequently heard in concert halls around the world from New York to Australia.  Commissions and recordings of his works have been supported by leading arts organizations such as the National Endowment for the Arts, The Aaron Copland Fund for Music and New England’s Music Drives Us Foundation.  Bradshaw’s music explores and expresses emotions associated with social, historic and contemporary issues and events, and includes operas, ballets, symphonies and a long list of chamber and solo compositions.  In addition to the high demand for his music, Bradshaw devotes time to teaching and advocating for music education for all children and runs a record label dedicated to releasing compositions by contemporary composers.  Website:


3rd Place (there was a tie):

for "String Quartet No. 2—Kwasi's Revenge"
Santa Monica  CA

Awards include:  National Academy of Music Prize, Borromeo String Quartet Contest, Brandenburg Chamber Music Prize,  Aaron Copland Award,  Ettelson Award from Composers Inc., AMC CAP Grants, Fellowships at the Aspen Institute under Druckman, NEH Award at Schoenberg Institute.

Albany Records CD - Arditti Quartet recorded Aspen Quartet.

Composed for trailers for: Mirror, Mirror; X-Men 3; Elizabeth; The Closer; Herbie Fully Loaded; Aliens in the Attic; Sleeping Beauty; 21; Veggie Tales and many others.

Taught composition, electronic music and music theory at: UC Santa Barbara,, UCLA, El Camino College; Scripps; and the CSU Campuses at Long Beach and Los Angeles.
Past President of the Independent Composers Association.

3rd Place (there was tie):

JOYCE EAGLE for "Hunting Fireflies" (Version I: fl, cl; Version II: duet for mallet percussion)

Joyce Eagle is a Chinese-born composer whose work fuses a multitude of global aesthetic styles to contribute to a responsible globalization of civilizations through universal love and music. Her journey includes a Bachelor of Arts degree from the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, a Master of Music degree from the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, and summer semesters studying at the Freie Universität Berlin under Professor Samuel Adler of The Juilliard School of Music. Her dream is to discover her own identity in the universe according to God's original specific purpose, respond to God's unique calling for her life, and let Jesus Christ's love and light shine forth throughout the whole world. Through her music, she hopes to convey the way, truth, and life to poor, hungry, weak, sick, disabled, mentally ill, brokenhearted, desperate, dispossessed, marginalized, unemployed, and homeless people around the world.



The American Prize in Composition (Chamber Music - Student Division), 2014

The American Prize winner:

for amplified chamber ensemble

Bussad’s music has been described: “Roaring at a rapid pace through sections, with dark textures and a fantastic use of the instruments and their less conventional techniques. -- Paolo Griffin, New Music Toronto. He is the winner of the 2013 Frost Symphony Orchestra Concerto Composition Competition and was awarded second place on the 2014 American Prize in Composition: Orchestral Music Student Division and 2013 American Prize in Composition: Chamber Music Student Division. Bussad was selected as a one of the composers featured in the Festival Miami for three years in a row. He was selected as one of the four composers (worldwide) to participate at the II Bienal Musica Hoje, a prestigious international festival in Curitiba (Brazil.) This year, he worked with the Ensemble Paramirabo (Montreal), in a commission “Loin” and had its USA debut in NYC during the Mise-en festival of New Music this June and recently was a guest composer at the Curto-Circuito Internacional de Saxofone Brasil/Canada with the saxophonist Allison Balcetis (Sao Paulo-Brazil.) Recently he is a guest composer at the Curto-Circuito Internacional de Saxofone Brasil/Canada with the saxophonist Allison Balcetis (Sao Paulo-Brazil) where he also had the premiere of his piece, Kundalini. Also will be working with the Greek pianist Ermis Theodorakis during the festival SiMN 2014 (Curitiba-Brazil.) Bussad is also a forming member and artistic director of the Ensemble Gaoshan Liushui, the first South American ensemble that researches and performs traditional Chinese music.


Among judges' comments: "...a complete range of techniques is exploited to advantage..."

2nd Place (there was a tie):

SHUYING LI for "For Lutoslawski" (string quartet)
Ann Arbor  MI

Composer Shuying Li has received prizes and recognition from the Seattle Symphony’s Celebrate Asia Composition Competition, the International Alliance for Women in Music, the Florence String Quartet Call for Scores, the Foundation for Modern Music’s International Robert Avalon Composition Competition, The American Prize, the MacDowell Club of Milwaukee Young Composer Competition, the International J. Dorfman Composition Competition, the Chinese New Performing Arts Start Competition, and the Qingdao City Piano Competition, among others.


Shuying studied at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music and the Hartt School. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree at the University of Michigan where she studies composition with Michael Daugherty. Upcoming performances of her works include those given by the Seattle Symphony Orchestra, the Hartt Wind Ensemble, the orkest de ereprijs (Netherlands), the Cecilia Quartet (Canada) and the Avanti! Chamber Orchestra (Finland). Her prior composition teachers include Ye Guohui, Robert Carl and Larry Alan Smith. For more information, please visit


2nd Place (there was a tie):

IAN NG for "Grand Jete on a Violin" (violin and piano)
Long Island City  NY

Ian Ng is an award-winning composer based in New York City. He is currently finishing his fully sponsored Master's Degree in Music Composition at New York University. As the winner of the 2012 NYU Composition Competition,  his commissioned composition, Cité en l’air, had its premiere in February 2012 at Symphony Space in New York City. He won First Prize at the 2012 Robert Avalon International Music Composition Competition, and the ASCAP young composer’s award for his Grand Jeté on a Violin, which had its US premiere as a dance piece choreographed by Marcelo Gomes, principal dancer of the American Ballet Theatre, in April 2012 at Lincoln Center.  He has also conceived, composed and co-directed two theatre pieces: Pas d'Electronique and Bang. Mr. Ng has composed music for different music groups and dance companies. A new ballet set to an original score by Mr Ng, featuring dancers from NYC Ballet and American Ballet Theatre, will have its premiere in NYC in the Spring of 2014. website



3rd Place:

SIMON FRISCH for "Provost" (string quartet) 
and "Red Book" (cl, b cl, vl, vc)
New York  NY

Simon Frisch is New York-based composer. This year his music is appearing in numerous New York venues and on screen nationally in the short film "Dream Girl" (IFQ's "Best Comedy" of 2013), as well as on pianist David Aladashvili's New York Times-acclaimed debut solo recording. Recent performances of note include the Juilliard premiere of his string quartet, Provost; Madrid, for choir and organ, on war texts of Pablo Neruda, commissioned by the Amor Artis Chamber Choir; and the 'Red Book' Variations for mixed quartet. A proponent of new music, he co-founded the Brittany-based Festival Daniou chamber music residency to offer compelling programs of 20th and 21st-century music to the north-western region of France. Born in 1990, Simon is the recent recipient of an ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer award, as well as the Richard-Wagner-Stipendienstiftung, and is pursuing graduate studies at Juilliard under the Georgia Shreve and Richard Rodgers scholarships.


The American Prize in Composition (Orchestra—Professional Division), 2013

The American Prize winner:

Alessandra Salvati (Miami, FL)
"TEKTOSYNE" Three Architectures for Orchestra

Alessandra Salvati was born in Naples, Italy, where she was trained as a pianist and composer. Her repertoire includes works for symphonic orchestra, chamber ensembles and theater. Her music has been described as "potent," "moving" and able to create "a strong connection with the audience" (L. Budmen, South Florida Classical Review). Ms. Salvati moved to the United States in 2009. Among her many accolades, she was a finalist for The American Prize 2012, she was selected for the Emerging Composers Concert of Festival of Miami (2011), and was a two-time winner of the University of Miami's Concerto Competition (2010 and 2012) with two symphonic works. Her music has been performed by prestigious ensembles, including the Penderecki String Quartet. She is currently working as a lecturer in the Music Theory and Composition Department of the University of Miami.

Among judge's comments: "The Three Architectures for Orchestra is a monumental, richly orchestrated work, a sonic landscape, taking a listener on a journey of time and space..."


2nd Place:

Ofer Ben-Amots (Colorado Springs, CO)
"FROM DARKNESS TO LIGHT" concertino for clarinet, mandolin and chamber orchestra


Ofer Ben-Amots is an award-winning composer, whose compositions are performed regularly in concert halls and festivals worldwide.

Currently serving as Professor and Chair of the Colorado College Music Department, Ben-Amots started his studies at Tel-Aviv University and continued at the Conservatoire de Musique in Geneva and the Music Academy in Detmold, Germany. Upon his arrival in the United States in 1987, Ben-Amots studied with George Crumb at the University of Pennsylvania where he received his Ph.D. in music composition. He is the winner of major international competitions including the Kobe International Competition for Flute Composition in Japan, the Vienna International Composer's Competition, The Aaron Copland Award, and many others. Ofer Ben-Amots' works have been repeatedly recognized for their emotional and highly personal expression. The interweaving of folk elements with contemporary textures, along with his unique, imaginative orchestration, creates the haunting dynamic tension that permeates and defines his musical language. For more information please visit:


3rd Place:

Daniel McCarthy (Akron, OH)
"TURN THE PAGE" for orchestra and electric guitar solo

Daniel McCarthy is Professor and Chair of The Composition and Theory Section at The University of Akron School of Music. He formerly held the Theodore Dreiser Distinguished Creative/Research Award at The Indiana State University School of Music where he was Co-director of The ISU Contemporary Music Festival with The Louisville Orchestra. U.S.A. Today describes his music as "intriguing, inviting, shimmering..." while The Cleveland Plain Dealer has written that his music is "Colorful, infectious and touching--." His music has been described as "Contemporary in the best sense of the word" by The Music Connoisseur magazine, and 21st Century Music Magazine proclaims his music to be "Sassy, foreboding, refreshing and kicky--it's called style." McCarthy's has over 30 recordings of his music on Albany, Centaur, d'Note Classics, Gasparo, and Klavier Records, and over 100 publications of his his titles with C. Alan Publications.


SPECIAL JUDGE'S CITATION: Unique Skill in Combining Classical Techniques with Popular Idioms

Bradley Sowash (Worthington, OH)

Bradley Sowash is a concert jazz pianist, multi-instrumentalist, recording artist, author/educator and composer/arranger. As a musician, he has performed in every imaginable setting from living rooms, churches and jazz clubs to major concert venues both here and abroad for over thirty years. His broadcast credits include seven seasons of appearances on the PBS-TV series, The Piano Guy, and National Public Radio has aired selections from his nine CDs. As an educator specializing in improvisation, he teaches master classes nationwide and currently serves as Pop/Jazz chairperson for the Music Teachers National Association. The Neil A. Kjos Music Company publishes his many instructional books and Augsburg Fortress Press has published several volumes of his hymn arrangements. Additionally, he writes and self-publishes works for ballet, big band, choir, film, orchestra, solo piano and string quartet.

The American Prize in Composition (Orchestra - Student Division), 2013

The American Prize winner:

Michael-Thomas Foumai (Ann Arbor, MI)

Named Composer of the Year by the Sioux City Symphony Orchestra, Michael-Thomas Foumai was awarded the 2012 Jacob Druckman Prize from the Aspen Music Festival. He has beeen awarded two BMI awards and was named winner of the Merle J. Isaac Composition Competition. His works have been performed across the United States, Japan, China, South Korea, Indonesia and Thailand with performances by the Buffalo Philharmonic, New England Philharmonic, Honolulu Symphony and Chorus, Alarm Will Sound and many more. Michael holds degrees from the Universities of Hawaii and Michigan. He is currently a doctoral fellow at UofM. Please visit for more information on this artist.

Among judge's comments: "Exciting music, due largely to an active carving across the flow of the beat, displaying a sophisticated and personal command of rhythm."


2nd Place:

YoungWoo Yoo (Champaign, IL)

Born in Seoul, South Korea, YoungWoo Yoo began her classical composition studies at the age of 15 and earned prizes in several national and international competitions. Her works have been performed in Italy, France, Netherlands, Albania, Greece, U.S., and South Korea. Ms. Yoo was the first-prize winner of the 2006 ValTidone International Music Competitions-'Edigio Carella Composition Competition' (Italy) and the finalist of the 2007 International Contest of Composition Henri Dutilleux (France), the 2008 Ton de Leeuw International Competition for Young Composers (Netherland, Albania). In 2008, she was a Distinguised Musician of the IBLA Foundation Master Prize for Competition (Italy), she received the International Music Prizes (Greece) in 2009 and Manhattan Prize 2010 (USA, Manhattan School of Music). YoungWoo was also selected participant for Master Classes with Samuel Adler and Matthias Pintscher at Manhattan School of Music. Ms. Yoo holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Ewha Womans University-College of Music and Master of Music degree from Manhattan School of Music, where she studied with Dr. J Mark Stambaugh. She is a doctorate student (DMA) and studies with Dr. Sever Tipei at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.


3rd Place:

Geoffrey Pope (Denver, CO)

Geoffrey Pope (b. 1986) has been recognized through numerous commissions and appointments as a composer and conductor. Pope received his undergraduate degree in composition at the University of Southern California, and went on to receive Master's degrees in composition and conducting at the Eastman School of Music, where he was awarded the prestigious Walter Hagen Conducting Prize. A proponent of contemporary music, Pope seeks to present provocative and engaging programs that have a strong cultural impact. As a composer, Pope has enjoyed performances by various ensembles and individuals across the United States and Europe. His current project is an opera based on a true story from the Bosnian War—Sarajevo Vespers—with a libretto by forensic archaeologist and novelist Courtney Angela Brkić, is due to be completed in 2013. Visit for more information.



The American Prize in Composition (Choral—Professional Division), 2013

The American Prize winner:

Jonathan Santore (Plymouth, NH)
selected choral works


Jonathan Santore is Chair of the Department of Music, Theatre, and Dance at Plymouth State University and Composer in Residence for the New Hampshire Master Chorale, which received a "Best of NH 2008" Award from New Hampshire Magazine for his settings of texts with strong New Hampshire connections. He has won honors for his works including the 2011 Award for Distinguished Scholarship from Plymouth State, where he has taught composition since 1994, a 2010 Individual Artist Fellowship from the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts, and awards from national and international composition contests. His compositions have been performed and broadcast nationally and internationally, published by firms including Alliance Music, Walton Music, and Yelton Rhodes Music, and recorded by artists on Albany and Centaur Records. His biography was selected for the 2013 edition of Marquis Who's Who in America. For more information about Santore and his work, please visit for more information on this artist.

Among judge's comments: "This composer displays impressive skill, expressivity and contrast in every musical selection offered in the portfolio. The listener is drawn in from the start..."


2nd Place:

Paul John Rudoi (Minneapolis, MN)
selected choral works

The music of Paul John Rudoi, recently deemed both "lush" and "lyrical" by Minneapolis' Star Tribune, is fast becoming an important force in the worldwide choral community. In 2011 alone his compositions won grand prizes in competitions hosted by the Milwaukee Choral Artists, the Young New Yorkers Chorus, and VocalEssence, and in 2012 he was a finalist for the Svanholm Singers' Composition Award. His works have been commissioned and performed by various ensembles nationwide, including Cantus, the Vancouver Chamber Singers, The Singers: Minnesota Choral Artists, the Anglican Singers, and the National Lutheran Choir. He has received support and grants from the Jerome Foundation, MSAB, and the American Composers Forum, and his works are self-published and commercially published through Graphite Music Publishing and Santa Barbara Music Publishing. Visit Please visit .


3rd Place:

John Muehleisen (Mukilteo, WA)
selected choral works

Composer John Muehleisen is increasingly in demand for commissions and performances nationally and internationally, particularly from choral ensembles. John has served as Composer-in-Residence for Opus 7 Vocal Ensemble almost continuously since 1996, for the Dale Warland Singers (2003–2004), and for Choral Arts (2011–2012). He has also received commissions from Conspirare, The Esoterics, Northwest Girlchoir, Seattle Pro Musica, the South Bend Chamber Singers, Volti, and Seattle's Choral Arts, which commissioned Pietà, a concert-length oratorio premiered in March 2012 to instant critical acclaim. More than 40 of his choral works have been recorded commercially, most recently by the John Alexander Singers, Volti, and Opus 7, which will release a CD featuring numerous previously unrecorded pieces. John won the 1988 Louisville Orchestra Composition Competition, and his works have been featured at the Sixth World Choral Symposium, the 2007 NEA American Masterpieces Choral Festival in Austin, TX, and at multiple ACDA conferences.



The American Prize in Composition (Choral—Student Division), 2013

The American Prize winner:

Liza Sobel (Cresskill, NJ)


Liza Sobel is a composer and singer studying at Rutgers University's Mason Gross Conservatory for an MA/PhD in composition. She studies composition with Robert Aldridge, Tarik O'Regan, and Gerald Chenoweth. She previously studied at Cornell University (BA), Manhattan School of Music (semester exchange program), Bowdoin's International Music Festival, nief-norf Summer Festival Composition Workshop, and Chamber Music Institute. Her past teachers include Steven Stucky, Richard Danielpour, Derek Bermel, and Kevin Ernste. Liza was a Fulbright Scholar at Newcastle University, England in the summer of 2010 and was Cornell's endorsed candidate and/or finalist for the Rhodes, Marshall, Fulbright, and Keasbey scholarships. Additional awards include a commission from the NJ Composers' Guild to compose a new piece for the Cygnus Ensemble, a finalist in the 2013 BMI Student Composers Awards and a finalist in the 2013 American Prize in the orchestral division and a semi-finalist in the chamber division.

Among judge's comments: "A well-written and conceived piece, utilizing many interesting compositional techniques and devices..."


2nd Place:

Elizabeth Lim (New York, NY)

Elizabeth Lim is a third year doctoral candidate at the Juilliard School, where she studied composition with Dr. Robert Beaser and Dr. Samuel Adler. She completed her undergraduate studies at Harvard University, where she graduated magna cum laude with highest honors. For her musical contributions at Harvard, she was awarded the 2008 Louis Sudler Prize in the Arts and was recognized as one of "Fifteen Most Promising Seniors in the Arts." While at Juilliard, her orchestral work, "Paranoia," was a winner of the annual composers' competition and was premiered by Jeff Milarsky and the Juilliard Orchestra in Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Concert Hall. More recently, Elizabeth's orchestral piece, "The Remains of Truth," was premiered by the Alabama All-State Orchestra during their annual music festival. The American Composers Orchestra also selected "Disharmony of the Spheres" for a reading by the Buffalo Philharmonic as part of the Earshot Composer Reading series, and the American Composers Forum and VocalEssence co-presented her choral work, "The Tempest," during the 2012 Essentially Choral readings, directed by Philip Brunelle. Following the readings, Elizabeth received a commission to write for VocalEssence's WITNESS Concert in February 2013.


3rd Place:

Joseph Gregorio (West Chester, PA)

Joseph Gregorio (b. 1979) has studied composition with Steven Stucky, David Conte, and Richard Brodhead. Gregorio's music has been broadcast, recorded, and performed in the United States and abroad by numerous and renowned soloists and ensembles. His choral music is published by E. C. Schirmer Music Company, the National Collegiate Choral Organization, and Treble Clef Music Press. Also active as a conductor, Gregorio is the founding director of prize-winning choir Ensemble Companio, and has served as assistant and guest conductor to several collegiate and community choirs. He holds a M.M. in composition with departmental honors from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, a M.M. in choral conducting from Yale University, and a B.A. magna cum laude from Cornell University. Gregorio has taught music theory and musicianship at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and Temple University.

The American Prize in Composition (Band—Professional Division), 2013



The American Prize winner:

Aleksander Sternfeld-Dunn (Wichita, KS) "FIREWORKS"

Aleksander Sternfeld-Dunn grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, was educated on both coasts and now finds himself in the middle of the country. His music combines a frenetic rhythmic language, lean textures and lyrical sensitivity. His music has been recorded and performed throughout the U.S., Europe, Canada, and Asia by ensembles and organizations including the Kiev Philharmonic, The Contra Costa Chamber Orchestra, Huntsville Alabama Army Band, Composers Inc, Conundrum, The Yale Brass Trio, Scott/Garrison Duo, and Vox Novus. Soloists like Richard Kriehn, Diane Maltester, Craig Hultgren, and Robert Young have also been champions of his music. His works are published by FJH Music, Dorn Publications, Trevco Music, Alry and Boom Crash Music and can be heard on the ERM and Capstone Labels.

Among judge's comments: "My favorite entry from the moment I heard it, it stood out not only for its color and rhythmic drive and vitality, but for its integration of the soloist with the ensemble...."


2nd Place:

Darren Mitchell (Kirkland, WA)


Darren Mitchell was born in Dallas, Texas, November 14th, 1964. Mr. Mitchell is best known for his music for video games (Turok: The Dinosaur Hunter; Turok 2: The Seeds of Evil, Ghost Recon 2: Summit Strike, and numerous other titles), which have garnered several awards and recognition around the world. In addition to his music for video games, Mr. Mitchell is rapidly becoming known for his music for live ensembles and has had his music performed all over the country by Universities, Orchestra's, High Schools, and Jr. High Schools. Mr. Mitchell holds a Bachelor's of Music Degree from the University of North Texas where he studied composition with Dr. Cindy McTee and Larry Austin. Mr. Mitchell and his family currently reside in Kirkland, Washington.


3rd Place:

Lansing McLoskey (Miami, FL)

Described as "a major talent and a deep thinker with a great ear" by the American Composers Orchestra, "an engaging, gifted composer writing smart, compelling and fascinating music" by Gramophone Magazine, and "a distinctive voice in American music" composer Lansing McLoskey has had his music performed in fourteen countries on six continents. He has won more than two dozen national and international awards, including the prestigious Goddard Lieberson Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the inaugural International Joint Wind Quintet Project Commission Competition. Recent performances include concerts in Italy, Spain, England, New York, Los Angeles, Boston, Philadelphia, Cincinnati, Miami, and Melbourne, Australia, and performances at fourteen music festivals in the past two seasons. Associate Professor at the University of Miami, McLoskey's music is released on Albany, Wergo Schallplatten, Capstone, Tantara, and Beauport Classics and published by Theodore Presser, Reed Music, ACA, Subito, and Odhecaton Z Music. Please visit for more information on this artist.



George Sweet (Piedmont SC)

George Sweet (b.1979) received Masters Degrees in Composition and Instrumental Conducting from Northern Arizona University and a Bachelors Degree in Music Education from Mars Hill College. His compositions have been performed worldwide and have been heard at various Honor Band and Orchestra Festivals, Disney's Magic Music Days, Bands of America, the College Band Directors National Association Southwest Conference, and the Midwest Clinic. George's various commissions include those from professional performers, public schools, university ensembles, and also a video game. He is a winner of the Southwest Region Music Teachers National Association Young Artist Composition Competition and is an award-winning member of ASCAP. George is also a member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, MENC, and is an honorary member of Kappa Kappa Psi. His music is published exclusively by Carl Fischer Publications of New York. Please visit for more information on this artist.



The American Prize in Composition (Band - Student Division), 2013

The American Prize winner:

Jae Lee (Johns Creek, GA)

Jae started playing the piano at the age of eight and has been prolifically composing and improvising ever since. After settling in the United States at age ten, he was introduced to jazz and broadened his horizon in many genres of music. He is not only a gifted composer, but also an accomplished pianist and saxophonist. Jae has already won many state and regional piano competitions and has also been invited to perform at many public events as a jazz pianist.

Jae Lee has been selected as the high school winner for the National Association for Music Education Composers Contest and was chosen as the national finalist for the Music Teachers National Association Composition Competition. Jae has also won prizes from ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composers Competition, MuSE Young Composers Competition, Georgia Bach Competition, Georgia Music Educators Association Piano Competition, Georgia Music Teachers Association Piano Competition, and more. His works have been performed by many ensembles including "The President's Own" United States Marine Band, MuSE String Quartet, and Atlanta Academy String Quartet in venues such as The John F. Kennedy Center in D.C., Fox Theatre, The Secret Theatre, Convention Center, and Gwinnett Civic Center. He will go on to study with Christopher Rouse at the Juilliard School starting in the fall of 2013.

Among judge's comments: "Of all the pieces I had the good fortune to listen to in this competition, I have to give this one the prize for taking the most chances. The abrupt changes in texture and the suddenly exposed writing are daring but effective...."


2nd Place:

Viet Cuong (Marietta, GA)

Viet Cuong (b. 1990) is a young, "show-stealing" (Baltimore City Paper) composer who has had works performed in venues across the United States, Canada, Eastern Europe South Africa, Singapore, and Japan. Viet is currently a Naumburg and Roger Sessions Ph.D. Fellow at Princeton University, where his teachers include Steve Mackey, Donnacha Dennehy, and Paul Lansky. Viet holds Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from the Peabody Conservatory, where he studied with Oscar Bettison and Pulitzer Prize-winner Kevin Puts. During past summers he studied at the Aspen and Bowdoin music festivals and held residencies at the Atlantic Center for the Arts and the Ucross Foundation. Viet's music has been featured at the Midwest International Band and Orchestra Clinic, Gamper Festival at Bowdoin, Aspen Music Festival, International Double Reed Society Conference, and US Navy Band International Saxophone Symposium, among others. Please visit for more information on this artist.


3rd Place:

David "Clay" Mettens (Covington, KY)


David "Clay" Mettens is a senior composition and clarinet major at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, SC. He is a recipient of the McNair Scholarship, the top award given to out-of-state students. His primary composition teachers have been John Fitz Rogers and Fang Man. Recently, his works have been played at the NewNowNorse New Music Festival at Northern Kentucky University, the New Voices Student Composer concerts at USC, student recitals at USC, in an orchestra reading at the Aberystwyth MusicFest in Aberystwyth, Wales, and in a reading by the USC Wind Ensemble. Clay was a finalist for the 2011 ASCAP Foundation Morton Gould Young Composer Awards and a regional finalist for the 2012 SCI/ASCAP Student Commission Competition. He was selected by the USC School of Music to be the 2012 recipient of the Cantey Award for Excellence and the John and Lucretia Herr Composition Award.

The American Prize in Composition
(Chamber Music—Professional Division), 2013

The American Prize winner:

Michael Deak (Gig Harbor, WA)
INTROSPECTIONS, for two guitars


Michael Deak was born in Los Angeles 10/10/1942. His father was a concert pianist who studied with Franz Liszt's students and Bela Bartok. Imre died in 1945, a month after his friend, Bartok, thus depriving Michael of his father's great experience. Michael grew up in Pasadena, but didn't pursue music until he was 19. He studied with Morten Lauridsen and Ellis Kohs at USC. Michael has won two competitions, was a finalist in a Greek competition this past March, and has been recorded twice. Michael has had a broadcast of his piano music on KUSC-FM in L.A., and he has been published. Michael and his wife, Barbara, now live in Gig Harbor, Washington.

Among judge's comments: "an extremely attractive and skillfully written work with an impressionist flavor that shows range and variety, imagination, an individual voice..."


2nd Place:

Nancy Bloomer Deussen (Mountain View, CA)

American composer Nancy Bloomer Deussen is well known as a composer, performer and arts impressario. She is a leader in the growing movement for more melodic, tonally oriented contemporary music and is co-founder and President Emeritus of the SF Bay Chapter of the National Association of Composers, USA. Her original works have been performed in the USA, Canada, Europe, Australia, China and Indonesia and she has received numerous commissions both locally and nationally. Ms Bloomer Deussen holds BM and MM degrees from The Manhattan School of Music and a BM in Music Ed from the USC School of Music and her teachers of composition were Vittorio Giannini, Lukas Foss, Ingolf Dahl and Wilson Coker. Recent performances of her works include: "A Field in Pennsylvania" by The Dayton Philharmonic Symphony, "Solstice Circle" at the American Harp Society concert in San Francisco, "Carmel by-the Sea" by the US Army Symphony Orchestra, "Ascent to Victory" by Orchestra Nova of San Diego, "Music From the Heartland", "Adirondak Morn" and "Two American Songs" at the American Pen Women conference in Washington, DC, "San Andreas Suite" by the Divisa Ensemble, and numerous others. Please visit: .

3rd Place:

David P. Sartor (Hermitage, TN)
POLYGON, for brass quintet

Composer and conductor David P. Sartor is Adjunct Professor of Composition at Trevecca Nazarene University. He has received the prestigious Ostwald Award from the American Bandmasters Association, the National Fine Arts Award, and more than two dozen awards from New Music for Young Ensembles, Meet The Composer, Delta Omicron and ASCAP, among others. Sartor is a popular guest composer, conductor and lecturer whose engagements include the Washington National Cathedral, Illinois State University, Middle Tennessee State University, the Nexus Chamber Orchestra and California State University, sponsored by New York City's Meet The Composer Foundation. In 2009, Sartor was inducted as a National Patron of Delta Omicron International Music Fraternity in recognition of his accomplishments as a composer and conductor. His works are recorded on the ERM label, are published by E.C. Schirmer, Shawnee Press, and Metamorphic Music, and are distributed worldwide by J. W Pepper. Please visit: .


The American Prize in Composition
(Chamber Music—Student Division), 2013

The American Prize winner:

Melissa Dunphy (Philadelphia, PA)
TESLA'S PIGEON—for soprano and piano


Nationally acclaimed award-winning composer Melissa Dunphy (b. 1980 in Brisbane, Australia) is best known for her large scale choral work, the Gonzales Cantata, which received rave press from the Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, Harper's Magazine, and MSNBC's Rachel Maddow. Melissa's compositions have been performed by Chanticleer, Simon Carrington Chamber Singers, St. Louis Chamber Chorus, American Opera Theater, Anti-Social Music, Network for New Music, and at various electroacoustic festivals. Dunphy has also received awards from The Tesla Science Foundation, National Association of Teachers of Singing, ASCAP and the Lotte Lehmann Foundation, and written for Ensemble Epomeo, Voice of this Generation, the Kennett Symphony Orchestra and Children's Choir, and Whitman College Chamber Singers. Melissa is currently undertaking doctoral studies in composition at the University of Pennsylvania on a Benjamin Franklin Fellowship. Please visit:

Among judge's comments: "It is this type of mental and musical creativity which is accessible to audiences of all makes and models...beautifully presented..."


2nd Place:

Rodrigo Bussad (Miami, FL)
URIZEN (The Chain of Reason), for c flute, bass flute, guitar

Rodrigo Bussad received his Bachelors at the State University of Campinas (UNICAMP) in Sao Paulo and a certificate as Audio Technician by the Institute of Audio and Video of Sao Paulo. It is currently enrolled for his masters degree at the University of Miami where also works as a TA for Aural Skills class. In 2008 he studied at the Unicamp Winter Festival with Claude Ledoux from the Paris Conservatory of Music. In 2009 he recorded the album TUWA, for instrumental quartet, featuring his music exclusively, financed by the Campinas City Hall Department of Culture. His pieces have been performed in Brazil, the USA and countries in Europe. He participated twice in the SoundSCAPE Festival of New Music in Maccagno, Italy (2011-2012) and had premieres in both of them. He also worked at the 2012 festival as the recording and sound engineer. His piece Ignis Fatuus, for clarinet solo, was released in the album Refractions, recorded by the clarinetist Gleb Kanasevish. Bodisatva, for percussion ensemble, was chosen to be part of the "Emerging Composers Concert" during the Miami Festival of Music in 2012. His worked is heavily inspired by far Eastern philosophy and musical idiom. Currently researching the Chinese oracle, the Yi Jing, and using as what he has learned as a resource for his compositional process, Bussad also studies traditional Chinese music and is one of the founding members and director of the Gaoshan Liushui ensemble, the first traditional Chinese music ensemble in South America.

3rd Place:

Chin Ting Chan (Kansas City, MO)
ICEBERGS, for violin, cello and piano

Raised in Hong Kong, the music of Chin Ting Chan (b. 1986) has gained recognitions from the Interdisciplinary Festival for Music and Sound Art in Vienna, Soli fan tutti Composition Prize, newEar contemporary chamber ensemble, Mid-American Center for Contemporary Music, and performances throughout the United States, Canada, Austria and Germany. He received degrees from San José State University (B.M.) and Bowling Green State University (M.M.), and is currently pursuing a D.M.A. in composition at the University of Missouri–Kansas City. He has studied with Chen Yi, Zhou Long, James Mobberley, Paul Rudy, Marilyn Shrude, Burton Beerman, Andrea Reinkemeyer, Brian Belet and Pablo Furman. Over the first half of 2013, he has been developing electroacoustic music for IRCAM, using Cycling 74's Max 6 program, with instructions from Grégoire Lorieux. Mr. Chan is a founding member of the composer's consortium Melos Music. Please visit for more information on this artist.

Winners of The American Prize in Composition, 2012

Complete listings of finalists & semi-finalists in The American Prize competitions may be found on our Please scroll down for winners and runners-up in earlier competitions.

Orchestra - Professional Division

Orchestra - Student Division

Choral - Professional Division

Choral - Student Division

The American Prize in Composition (Orchestra—Professional Division), 2012

The American Prize winner:


The Whispering Wind

performed by the Cabrillo Festival Orchestra, Marin Alsop, conductor

The music of Michael Gatonska has been performed by the Minnesota Orchestra, the Cabrillo Festival Orchestra, the American Composers Orchestra, the Pacific Symphony, the Hartford Symphony, the Ossia Symphony Orchestra, the Chicago Chamber Musicians, the LOCRIAN Chamber Players, the Talea Ensemble, and string quartet DAFO (Poland) among others. He has received numerous awards for his compositions, including fellowship and grant awards from the Civitella Ranieri Center, the Kosciuszko Foundation, ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Awards, the American Music Center, Meet the Composer, the American Composers Forum, the Roberts Foundation, the Paul Underwood/ ACO Commission, the MATA Festival Commission, the Connecticut Commission on the Arts, the Field, and he is a MacDowell Colony Fellow. His music has been recorded on the Albany Records, MajorWho Media, and Einstein Records labels.

Among judge's comments: "very organic – it flows from one thought or gesture to another...well-balanced between programmatic and abstract moments...warrants future performances."


2nd Place:



Matthew Peterson (b. 1984, Grand Forks, ND) writes music for concerts and the stage. A composer of "considerable imagination and individuality" (Houston Chronicle), his music is "fresh and passionate…beautiful, challenging" (BBC Berkshire). His diverse music ranges from songs of criminals and outcasts, to modern settings of sacred texts, to stunning orchestral soundscapes. Matthew has received commissions from musicians and ensembles in the United States, England, and Sweden, and fifty of his works have been performed across North America and Europe. He has received the Fulbright Grant, and prestigious awards from BMI, ASCAP, Opera Vista, Indiana University, the Boston Choral Ensemble, the National Opera Association, Vocal Essence, ensemble Chanticleer, and others.


3rd Place:

CONCERTO for Piano and Wind Orchestra: "Solar Traveller"

Composer Judith Lang Zaimont (b. 1945) is internationally recognized for her distinctive style, characterized by its expressive strength and dynamism. Many of her 100 works are prize-winning compositions; these include three symphonies, chamber opera, oratorios and cantatas, music for wind ensemble, vocal-chamber pieces with varying accompanying ensembles, a wide variety of chamber works, and solo music for string and wind instruments, piano, organ, and voice. Many of Zaimont's musical compositions have been recorded and have won prizes in national and international competitions. Critics consistently praise her music, terming it "expressive and idiomatic" [CLAVIER], "colorful and commanding" [THE NEW RECORDS], and "exquisitely crafted, vividly characterized and wholly appealing" [NEW YORK TIMES].


The American Prize has also awarded two Special Judge's Citations in Orchestral Composition for 2012.


Trotzky's Train

Santa Monica composer & conductor David Avshalomov () is also an accomplished vocalist. He writes in an accessible neo-Romantic tonal style, displaying a lyric gift and rhythmic vitality, creating works for choir, solo voice, chamber ensembles, band, and orchestra, earning regional commissions and national awards. His music is performed across the US and in Europe and Russia, and recorded on Albany and Naxos. Trained at Harvard, U. Washington, Aspen, and Tanglewood, he conducted orchestras and opera for 20 years, toured in Europe and the Far East, and recorded music by his grandfather Aaron in Moscow. He now focuses on composing and singing.



Make Gentle the Life of This World

Raymond Horton (b. 1952, Jeffersontown, KY) has had a 40-year career as composer, arranger, performer (bass trombone, euphonium), conductor and church musician in his native Louisville, KY, and southern Indiana area since winning the position of Louisville Orchestra Bass Trombonist in 1971 at age 18. With advanced degrees in trombone, composition, and church music, he has made solo appearances locally and nationally, and has had compositions played by orchestras in Louisville, the US and abroad. Horton and wife Terry live in Floyds Knobs, IN, both serve as music staff at nearby Edwardsville United Methodist Church. Horton has a website:



The American Prize in Composition (Orchestra - Student Division), 2012

The American Prize winner:


Mascaras for Orchestra

Mexican native Roberto Kalb is an active Composer, Conductor, and Pianist. Kalb's music has been performed in Mexico, France, Germany and throughout the United States. His piece Le Dormeur du Val (Winner of the 2nd Prize of the Washington International Composition Prize 2012) will be performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. this summer. Kalb holds a Bachelor's Degree in Composition from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, a Master's Degree in Composition from the University of Michigan and is currently a Doctoral Candidate at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, Massachusetts.

Among judge's comments: "expertly orchestrated...holds interest with telling details of instrumental color. Finely evocative, the harmonic language is bold and clear, as is the melodic material..."


2nd Place:

Berlin Songs

Jason Thorpe Buchanan (b. 1986) is an American composer. His works have been described by critics and leading composers in the U.S. and Europe as "sharply-edged," "shimmering," "symphonic," and "ambitious." Jason spent 2010-2011 in Hamburg, where he was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship at the Hochschule für Musik while conducting research in regard to compositional process and aesthetics. In 2011 his Berlin Songs were premiered in Berlin, later recorded at the Melos New Music Festival in San Francisco, conducted by the composer. Jason is a Ph.D. candidate at the Eastman School of Music, director of the composer's consortium Melos Music.


3rd Place:


Liza White's music has been featured at top venues including REDCAT, the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, the Bowdoin International Music Festival, and the Composers' Conference at Wellesley College. Liza's work has been performed by Alarm Will Sound, Fifth House Ensemble, the Charlestown Symphony Orchestra Brass Quintet, ALEAIII conducted by Gunther Schuller, and many other world-class musicians. Liza has won the Craig and Janet Swan Prize, the Margaret Blackburn Composition Competition, and an Emil and Ruth Beyer Award. She has held residencies at the MacDowell Colony, the Hambidge Center, and the Virginia Center for Creative Arts. Visit for more information.




The American Prize in Composition (Choral—Professional Division), 2012

The American Prize winner:


Amherst Requiem

words: missa pro defunctis and Emily Dickinson

Largely self-taught as a composer, Brian Holmes usually composes for chorus or solo voice. His works include three operas, two musicals, a Requiem Mass, two extended works for chorus and orchestra, ten song cycles, over one hundred works for chorus, and a variety of works for orchestra, band, and chamber groups. He has numerous commissions, composition prizes, recordings, and publications to his credit. He has been composer in residence to four choruses in the San Francisco Bay area. Holmes is a professor of Physics at San Jose State University, where he teaches a course on the physics of music.

Among judge's comments: "a wonderful composition. Its variety, beauty and introspection are very moving and artistically satisfying."


2nd Place:

selected choral works

Jenni Brandon (b. 1977) is an award-winning composer whose music has been featured by ensembles in venues across the world, including Carnegie Hall, as well as regularly on radio broadcasts across the United States. Commissioned and recorded by many ensembles, her music is also published by Boosey & Hawkes, Graphite Publishing, Santa Barbara Music Publishing, as well as Jenni Brandon Music. Active also as a conductor, she frequently makes guest appearances and currently leads The Concert Singers in Los Angeles. Her first self-produced CD, Songs of California: Music for Winds and Piano was released in 2010. Please visit .


3rd Place:

Thy light has come

Composer and conductor David P. Sartor is Adjunct Professor of Composition at Trevecca Nazarene University. He has received the prestigious Ostwald Award from the American Bandmasters Association, the National Fine Arts Award, and more than two dozen awards from New Music for Young Ensembles, Meet The Composer, Delta Omicron and ASCAP, among others. In 2009, Sartor was inducted as a National Patron of Delta Omicron International Music Fraternity in recognition of his accomplishments as a composer and conductor. His works are recorded on the ERM label and are published by E.C. Schirmer, Shawnee Press, and Metamorphic Music. Web site: .



The American Prize has also awarded two Special Judge's Citations in Choral Composition for 2012.


Soft Footfalls: Song of the Anasazi

Composer Anne Kilstofte has received awards and honors from ASCAP, the American Composers Forum, the Bush Artist Fellowship Foundation, the Jerome Foundation, several McKnight Fellowships and a Fulbright Senior Scholarship. She continues to receive commissions from prominent national and international ensembles from Asia, Europe, and North America. Her work has been heralded for its exceptional variety of tone color and atmospheric display of light and sound. She received her Ph.D. in Music Theory and Composition from the University of Minnesota, studying with Pulitzer prize-winning composer Dominick Argento. Her website offers listening and information about her works.

The American Prize in Composition (Choral—Student Division), 2012

The American Prize winner:


selected choral works

An accomplished singer and pianist, Joshua Fishbein is a natural fit as a composer, choral conductor, and music teacher. A native of Baltimore, Maryland, Fishbein studied at The Peabody Preparatory. He won the orchestra prize from Carnegie Mellon University as an undergraduate. Fishbein completed his Master's degree at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, where he won the art song competition. Fishbein has also won competitions sponsored by the Baltimore Choral Arts Society, Shalshelet, WomenSing, The Esoterics, the National Lutheran Choir, the Guild of Temple Musicians, and the American Choral Directors Association. Currently, Fishbein is a PhD student at UCLA.

Among judge's comments: "A composer of excellent gifts, with solid technical skills, experimenting, learning, and worth the listen."

2nd Place:

selected choral works

Jason Michael Saunders was born in 1989 and was raised in the Portland, Oregon area. In December 2011 he graduated from Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington, where he earned a Bachelor of Music Education degree. Saunders has composed since the age of 16, and has conducted the premiere performances of many of his works. His choral compositions have been performed by ensembles across the United States and in Europe. At Pacific Lutheran, Saunders studied composition with Dr. Gregory Youtz and choral conducting with Dr. Richard Nance and Dr. Brian Galante. For more information, please visit .


3rd Place:

Carmen Vocis

Costas Dafnis (b. 1989 in Athens, Greece) is a composer of modern concert music. He is a founding member of Noisi Paintr, a consortium of musicians dedicated to progressive sound. When not composing, Costas spends his time playing mandolin poorly and reading all of the strange, obscure poetry he pretends to like. .

Winners of The American Prize in Composition, 2011

Complete listings of finalists and semi-finalists in The American Prize competitions may be found on our .

Orchestral Prizes

Choral Prizes

The American Prize in Composition (Orchestral Division), 2011

The American Prize winner:

Jesse Ayers,

Canton, OH

The Passion of John Brown, commissioned by the Akron Symphony Orchestra, Christopher Wilkins, music director.

Jesse Ayers's (b. Knoxville, TN 1951) music has been performed in Japan, New Zealand, South Africa, Russia, Poland, Serbia, Slovenia, and over 100 U.S. cities, and has twice been selected to represent the United States at the ISCM World Music Days. His awards include a MacDowell Fellowhip, an Individual Creativity Excellence Award from the Ohio Arts Council, annual awards from ASCAP, and grants from Meet the Composer and the American Music Center. For more about Mr. Ayers and The Passion of John Brown, please visit

Among judges' comments: "Well orchestrated, well voiced...quite moving."


2nd Place:

Lee Actor,

Monte Sereno, CA

Dance Rhapsody

3rd Place:

Todd Goodman,
Midland, PA

Concerto for Bass Clarinet and Orchestra

4th Place:

Robert Wendel,
New York, NY

Towers of Light


The American Prize in Composition (Choral Division), 2011

The American Prize winner:

Ted Vives,

Los Alamos, NM

Castrovalva, Lux Aeterna and Gloria

Ted Vives has received many awards and commissions for his choral and instrumental works. He holds Bachelor's degrees in Music Composition and Education from Florida State University and a Master's in Music Composition and Ph.D. in Music Education from the University of Florida. His composition instructors have included John Boda, Charles Carter, and Budd Udell. He is the musical director for the Los Alamos (NM) Community Winds where he resides with his wife and children. Visit

2nd Place:

John Van Geem,
Mount Prospect, IL