Young Composers Project

2016 Texas Young Composers Festival
Composition Contest

The Texas Young Composers Festival is intended to identify and encourage exceptionally talented young composers in Texas. High school, undergraduate, and graduate students in Texas under the age of 30 (at the time of submission) are invited to submit original music compositions for evaluation. Submitted compositions are evaluated on the basis of artistic merit, technical mastery and originality. Recordings are encouraged, but not required.

From these submissions, four winning composers are selected to receive cash prizes, and have their works performed by professional musicians on May 8, 2016 at SMU prior to the Voices of Change concert. Complete details will be sent with submission confirmation.

For the 2016 season, composers are invited to submit works of 3- 5 minutes for any combination of the following instruments: violin, clarinet, and piano. The scores should be received by Voices of Change no later than March 15, 2016.

Attendance to the working rehearsal is open to all submitting composers, a public performance of all winning works, the Voices of Change concert at 3:00 p.m. in Caruth Auditorium at SMU, and a reception following.

Note: Winning composers must be present to receive their cash awards at the VOC evening concert.

Cash prizes for winning composers will be awarded as follows:

College Level:    1st Place – $500    2nd Place – $300
High School Level:    1st Place – $200    2nd Place – $100

Deadline for submissions: March 15, 2016
Decisions announced by April 8, 2016

Voices of Change Contact Information: (214) 378-8670 or


A Heritage Left by Russell Horn

The Young Composers Project continues the Voices of Change tradition
of The Annual Russell Horn Young Composers Competition which was established
in 1998 by Russ Horn (1916-2006). He was a board member, treasurer,
box office manager, donor and volunteer for Voices of Change for over
twelve years. Russ donated the prize money for the competition every
year and it was named in his honor. To continue this tradition, his
daughters, Linda Horn and Janet Horn Hemming, continue to donate the
prize money. Russ left a legacy worthy of our classical music community.

Jamie Allen, Director of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra Education Department,
our collaborator on this project staring in 2006, expressed his commitment
to the Young Composers Project:

“I can’t think of two things that go much better together than
young people and new music. Music is the way we can express the inexpressible,
and every student I’ve ever worked with has had something unique and
inexpressible inside them that was just dying to get out. I have reveled
in the chance to experience the scores of the many talented young composers
we have in North Texas, and am excited at the prospect of hearing an
ensemble of the caliber of Voices of Change perform the selected works.
I encourage everyone with even a passing interest in self expression
and evolving culture to join me in this experience.”


Please share this information with all music students, music teachers
and music department heads who know young composers in North Texas.

2010-2011 Season Winners

College Division Winners
1st place: Syrlane Moura de Albequerque Rondo for flute and piano
2nd place: Adam Giese fragments for flute and piano

High School Division Winners
1st place: Christopher Poovey Aqua for solo piano
2nd place: Chase Dobson Prelude for Piano Trio

2008-2009 Season Winners

College Division Winners
1st place: Kohsuke Tajima (UNT) String Quartet No. 1 (A Vision of

2nd place: David Sterrett (SMU) The Cross for viola & harp

High School Division Winners
1st place: Michael Taylor (home schooled) Three Scenes for viola
and piano
2nd place: Kwanzaa Bennet (BTWHSPVA) When I Think of You for
piano and alto saxophone

Kohsuke Tajima (b.1985) started learning composition and the double bass at age 14 in his hometown of Shizuoka, Japan. In 2005, after his graduation from Fujieda East High School, he arrived in Texas and entered the jazz studies program at University of North Texas. During this time his interest in composition expanded, and he switched his study to composition. Currently, he is working on a Bachelor of Music in composition at UNT.

Michael Taylor, (b. 1991) from Arlington, TX, studies piano with Tamás
Ungár, violin with Jan Mark Sloman, and has studied composition with
Simon Sargon, Michael Cox, Blaise Ferrandino, and David Tcimpidis. Michael
began composing at age 10 at the suggestion of his violin teacher, writing
little rondos and string quartets for his chamber group. This summer
he will attend Tanglewood Festival’s Young Artists Composition Program
on full scholarship. Read his performance bio under About the Artists
in this program book.

2007-2008 Season Winners

College Division
Seeker for flute, oboe, clarinet, violin, viola and 2 percussion
by Kris Peyson (b.1986) $500

High School Division
Farewell for 2 violins, viola, cello, double bass and piano by
Jake Vandermeer (b.1990) $250

Honorable Mention in College Division
Da-Jeong Choi, University of North Texas
Dan Lazarescou, Southern Methodist University
Michael Bryon, University of Houston
Jordan Kuspa, Shepherd School of Music, Rice University

2006-2007 Season Winners

College Division
Sail Away for violin, cello, clarinet and piano by Chien-Wen
Cheng (b.1972) University of North Texas $500

High School Division
Equinox for flute, cello and piano by Jason E. Ballmann (b.1989)
Hewitt High School $250

Honorable Mention
Anne Strickland, $250
Ryan Manchester, $250

2005 -2006 – no competition

2004-2005 Season Winners

Takuma Itoh, $1,000, Sounds and Shapes for flute, clarinet, violin,
cello, piano, percussion
Jonathan Kolm, $500, Crystal Fantasy for flute, clarinet, violin,
viola, violincello
Peter Askim, $300, Eight Solitudes for bass and piano

Honorable Mention
Gabriel Lit: Pigdogs go to War March for clarinet, flute, drums,
Terry Alan Lee, On to… for violin, piano, string bass

2003–2004 Season Winners

Kyle Kindred, $1,000, The Beast, Sonata for alto saxophone and
Devin Collins, $500, Anthem for string quartet
Jonathan Anderson, $300, Burke, Rawls, Harley for clarinet, viola
and piano

Honorable Mention
Austin Jacquith, Sextet for Strings
John A. Dribus Life Cycle

2002-2003 Season Winners

Mark Feezell, $1000 Songs of Consonants, for mezzo-soprano and
Lane Harder, $500, Circus Plenus Clamor Ingens Ianuae Tensae,
variations for six marimbists.

2001-2002 Season Winners

Dr. Leonard Mark Lewis, $1,000, Concerto for Six Players for
flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano, percussion
Jennifer Shaffer, $500, Prague Piano Quartet
Andrew Pierce, $300, Quartet for Four Violas

2000-2001 Season Winner

Leonard Mark Lewis, $1,000