Monday, July 1, 2013

Announcing COMPOSITION WINNERS, runners-up (BAND) 2013

The American Prize is honored to announce the winners, runners-up and citation recipients of The American Prize in Composition, Band/Wind Ensemble Division, 2013.

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

Please make us aware of any misprints:

The American Prize in Composition, Band/Wind Ensemble, PROFESSIONAL Division, 2013.

The American Prize winner:
Aleksander Sternfeld-Dunn (Wichita, KS) "FIREWORKS"
Aleksander Sternfeld-Dunn
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 judges' 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) "ASCENSION"
Darren Mitchell

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.

Among judges' comments: "There is a headlong energy to this piece which is very appealing, and the shifting meters are organic and make sense."

3rd Place:
Lansing McLoskey (Miami, FL) "WHAT WE DO IS SECRET"
Lansing McLoskey

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.

Among judges' comments: "Mystery, raucousness and a number of good- humored moments are make this piece successful....concentrated on the coloristic possibilities of the winds and percussion...Mr. McLoskey has a great ear and compositional chops."

The American Prize in Composition, Band/Wind Ensemble STUDENT Division, 2013. 

The American Prize winner:
Jae Lee (Johns Creek, GA) "THE FINAL REDEMPTION"
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 judges' 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) "SOUND AND SMOKE"
Viet Cuong

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. To learn more, please visit

Among judges' comments: "I believe this piece will have a future in the repertoire and I will watch with interest Mr. Cuong’s development as a composer."

3rd Place: 
David “Clay” Mettens (Covington, KY) "A VERY HUNGRY BUTTERFLY"

David “Clay” Mettens

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.

Among judges' comments: "the piece is effective in its use of timbre and texture and takes us somewhere we may not have been before..."


George Sweet (Piedmont SC) "ENCOMIUM"
George Sweet

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. For more information about the music of George Sweet please visit


Congratulations to all winners, runners-up and citation recipients.

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