Texas Music Teachers Association

Commissioned Composer

MTNA is dedicated to encouraging the creation of new works by American composers and annually assists its affiliated state associations in the generation and performance of new music through the national composers commissioning program. The TMTA commissioned work premiere performance is at the TMTA annual convention.

To further promote and recognize outstanding contributions to American music, MTNA annually has its state affiliates submit their commissioned works to a panel of recognized composers for selection of the MTNA Distinguished Composer of the Year. The new work of the selected composer is presented in a performance at the next MTNA national conference, and the composer is proclaimed the MTNA Distinguished Composer of the Year. The selected composer also receives a check for $5,000, funded by the MTNA Foundation.

Qualifications: The nominee does not need to be a member of TMTA nor MTNA but must be a legal resident of the state of Texas. The nominee may be any composer who is known to your Local Association and who will agree to the terms of the application and the rules and regulations of the competition.

Rules and Regulations: Composers are invited by a local association of TMTA to submit a dossier including the following:

1) One copy of a vita or prose biography (maximum one side of one page, 8.5” x 11", 12 pt. font, 1" margins). This file may be uploaded in the space provided on the Commissioned Composer Application, which is completed by the Local Association President.

2) Nominated composers should also submit mp3 files containing no more than 15 minutes of original music, either complete selections or excerpts directly to the Commissioned Composer Chair either through email or dropbox link. Files should be labeled with titles of works ONLY. ABSOLUTELY NO IDENTIFICATION OF COMPOSER IS TO BE INCLUDED IN THE FILE NAME. Any files submitted with composer identification will be disqualified.

Timeline: The TMTA committee selects three finalists (January/February). The TMTA Board awards commission to one of the three finalists (March/April). The composer is announced at the June convention.  

Awards: The MTNA-TMTA Commission award is $1,500. The commissioned work will be presented at the TMTA Convention under the directions of the Commissioning and Convention Chairs. Following the TMTA Convention premiere, the commissioned work is submitted as TMTA’s entry in the MTNA Distinguished Composer of the Year event. The winning composition of the MTNA Competition is performed at the MTNA National Conference.

Deadline: November1 (Nomination form can be found on the Local President's Management Bar)

Past Winners
2024Dan Cavanaugh (pictured)
2023Nicky Sohn 
2022Dylan Love 
2021Mona Rejino
2020Dr. Martin Blessinger
2019Dr. David Davies
2018Michael Springer
2017Andrew Nishikawa
2016Caleb Wenzel
2015Dr. Jeffrey Cottrell
2014Paul English
2013Kris Becker
2012Dr. Scott McAllister
2011Peter Lieuwen
2010Debra Scroggins
2009Pierre Jalbert, MTNA National Winner
2008Dr. Robert Nelson
2007Dr. John Sharpley
2006J. Todd Frazier
2005Dr. Ann Gebuhr
2004Simon Sargon
2003Dr. Stephen Lias
2002Douglas Briley
2001Dr. Ann Rivers Witherspoon
2000Elisandra Fabregas, MTNA National Winner
1999Kristopher Carter
1998Dr. Joseph Packales
1997Kathryn Mishell
1996George Chave
1995Dr. Michael Cox
1994Simon Sargon
1993*Dr. Lawrence Weiner
1992Donald Grantham
1991Fisher Tull
1990Mary Jeanne Van Appledorn
1989Martin Mailman
1988Dr. David Ashley White
1987Robert Avalon