Monday, January 23, 2017

COMPOSER WINNERS: band/wind ensemble, 2016

The American Prize is honored to announce the winners, runners-up and honorable mention recipients of The American Prize in Composition, 2016, in the Band/Wind Ensemble category, all divisions. Congratulations!

Complete listings of finalists and semi-finalists in The American Prize competitions may be found elsewhere on this blog. Please use the chronological tool in the right-hand column to find specific results.

All finalists receive written evaluations from a member of The American Prize judging panel.

Please make us aware of any misprints:

The American Prize in Composition—band/wind ensemble, professional division

The American Prize winner:
Perseus—for wind ensemble
Miguel A. Roig-Francolí (, Distinguished Teaching Professor of Music Theory and Composition at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, has been recognized internationally for his work as a music theorist, composer, musicologist, and pedagogue.  His compositions have been widely performed in Spain, England, Germany, Mexico, Italy, Switzerland, Colombia, France, and the USA.  He is the author of Harmony in Context and Understanding Post-Tonal Music, as well as over twenty articles and reviews in leading scholarly journals in the USA and Europe.  Among his many honors are first prize at the National Composition Competition of the Spanish Jeunesses Musicales (1981) and second prize at the UNESCO International Rostrum of Composers (Paris, 1982); the University of Cincinnati’s A.B. "Dolly" Cohen Award for Excellence in Teaching (2007) and George Rieveschl Jr. Award for Creative and/or Scholarly Works (2009); and the Ramón Llull Prize from the Goverment of the Balearic Islands (2010).

2nd Place:
Hill Dance—for concert band (featuring clarinet choir)
A third-generation American composer and conductor based in Santa Monica, David Avshalomov 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. He has written for forces ranging from solo instruments to full orchestra, band, and chorus, from songs and incidental pieces to full-length oratorio, often on commission. Currently he is writing an opera. 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 numerous grants and competitions. He earned his B.A in Music at Harvard and a D.M.A. in conducting at the University of Washington, studied at Aspen, 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.

3rd Place:
Shouting at the Gates to the Neon Wasteland—for wind ensemble
James Young is a composer of music. He has been read and performed by many groups across the US including the Baltimore Symphony, the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, the Talujon Percussion Quartet, Waco Symphony Orchestra, and the avant-garde music troupe, Bonecrusher.

Continuing to work in and around Baltimore, James has enjoyed a growing connection with the city, helping to foster a young, growing art community. He has enjoyed a diverse compositional career in Charm City, scoring music for the Occasional Symphony to accompany horror films of the silent era and working with Maryland Institute College of Art students as part of the Synesthesia concert series. He has underscored the work of videogame designers and has improvised via laptop accompanying voice as a part of the personally curated concert series, outerspaces.

James has received a doctorate in music composition from the Peabody Institute under the guidance of Michael Hersch.

Honorable Mention:
HARRY BULOW—West Lafayette IN
Rapid City Overture
Harry Bulow was born in Des Moines, Iowa, in 1951. He received his B.A. with distinction in music from San Diego State University (1975), and his M.A. and Ph.D. in music theory and composition from UCLA (1978, 1983).  Bulow also holds a Performer’s Diploma in Saxophone Performance from Trinity College of Music, London, England. His principal composition teachers include Aaron Copland, Peter Mennin, Henri Lazarof, Roy Travis, David Ward-Steinman and Henry Mancini.
His works have received numerous awards including 1st Prize at the International Composers Competition in Trieste, Italy, the “Oscar Espla” Prize from the city of Alicante, Spain, a National Endowment for the Arts Composer Fellowship, and 33 consecutive ASCAP/Plus Awards from the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers. Bulow’s compositions have been performed by the Omaha Symphony, San Antonio Symphony, Honolulu Symphony, Eastman Wind Ensemble, New England Conservatory of Music Wind Ensemble and the Moscow National Symphonic Band. His music is published by Alfred Publications, Northeastern Music Publications, Imagine Music and Silver Mace Publications. Recording are available on Nonesuch Records, North/South Consonance Records, Society of Composers, Inc. and Crest Records. He has held positions at the University of Hawaii, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and Lamar University in Beaumont, TX.  He is Professor of Music and Head of the Patti and Rusty Rueff School of Visual and Performing Arts at Purdue University in West Lafayette, IN.

Honorable Mention:
Joseph T. Spaniola (b. May 7, 1963) is a composer on a passionate quest to engage the hearts and minds of audiences and performers through the communicative powers of music.  Dr. Spaniola is active as a composer, arranger, educator, conductor, lecturer, producer, clinician, and adjudicator.  He has composed works for band, orchestra, chamber ensembles, solo instruments, voice, choir, and electronic tape.  His award-winning compositions have been performed and recorded by ensembles in the North America, Europe, Japan, South America, Israel, China, Australia, Taiwan and Singapore.  He is a faculty member at the University of West Florida.  Prior to joining UWF, Dr. Spaniola was the Chief Composer/Arranger for The US Air Force Academy Band.  Works by the composer are available through Musica Propria, Kagarice Brass Editions, Tuba Euphonium Press, and directly from the composer at He studied music at the University of North Texas, Michigan State University and Boston University.

The American Prize in Composition—band/wind ensemble—student division

The American Prize winner:
We Seven—for wind ensemble
Derek M. Jenkins (b. 1986, Frankfurt am Main, Germany) has received performances of his music throughout the United States, Europe, and Canada including performances by the Fountain City Brass Band, U.S. Army Materiel Command Band; and university and college bands at the Univeristy of Missouri-Kansas City, Florida, Northern Arizona, Arkansas, Arizona State, Iowa State, and Western Michigan. Jenkins has received recognition from the National Band Association, MMTA/MTNA, MACRO, ASCAP, UMKC, and at conferences and festivals across the U.S. and abroad. He has been commissioned by the Mid America Freedom Band and wind ensembles at UT-Martin, UMKC, and Bethel College.

Jenkins is currently studying at UMKC, and he holds degrees from Rice University and UMKC. Additionally, he has received further instruction at the Kärntner Landeskonservatorium and the Alpen-Adria Universität Klagenfurt.

In his spare time, Jenkins is an amateur scuba diver and daydreams of becoming an astronaut. For more information, visit

2nd Place:
The Jackal's Palace

Composer Dinah Bianchi is currently a student at Wayne State University, located in downtown Detroit.  Her composition style is both aurally descriptive as well as colorfully imaginative.  Dinah is Principal Horn in the International Symphony Orchestra, Third Horn in the Jackson Symphony Orchestra, and performs regularly with many other orchestras and ensembles located within the Metro-Detroit area.  Her extensive performance experience has allowed her an intimate appreciation for a rich palate of instrumental color, which she uses to develop her own creative style.

3rd Place:
New—for wind ensemble
Aaron Mencher is a composer that has done a variety of work ranging from contemporary classical music to film scores to incidental music. In February, the Deviant Septet recorded his piece Fast-Forward. Also, he recently finished scoring the film Maggephah directed by Brad McGaughey.

Aaron’s New for Wind Ensemble won the 2015 NAfME Student Composers Competition. This piece was premiered by the All-National Concert Band. It is now distributed through Murphy Music Press. In The Forest won the 2014 Third Millennium Ensemble Prize Pre-College Division.

Until 2015, he was the composer for The Dancing Goat Theater for many shows including A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Twelfth Night.

He is currently attending University of Missouri on a full tuition music composition scholarship where he is studying under Stephen Freund and William Lackey. More information about Aaron and his music can be found at

Finalist—Honorable Mention:
Poem—for symphonic band
Composer, Conductor, and Trumpeter, Zachary Ploeger is a promising up and coming musician. He currently attends Western Michigan University where he studies composition with Dr. Richard Adams, trumpet with Professor Scott Thornburg, and orchestral conducting with Maestro Bruce Uchimura.

As a composer, Zach writes a wide range of works. His pieces are frequently played on recitals and composers concerts at Western Michigan University and in the surrounding Midwest area. Zach was recently named a Minnesota Public Radio Finalist in their young composers contest. Last year, the Mivos String Quartet read a composition he wrote specifically for them. He also just finished writing a commission for the WMU Premiere Brass Quintet, who premiered the piece in late March 2015. Additionally, his woodwind quintet “Galactic Voyage” was given an honorable mention and was a semi-finalist for the “American Prize” in chamber music composition. Zach is also a published composer, having his pieces on the websites of both J.W. Pepper and Sons, as well as Sheet Music Plus. He also maintains a website where all of his pieces can be viewed, ordered, or heard. Zach is a member of the Society of Composers Inc.


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