NAfME Student Composers Take Center Stage


Members of MTSU Jazz Ensemble 1 performed the composition “High of 95” by Andrew Herring


On Monday October 28, the winning compositions from the 2013 NAfME Student Composers Competition were performed in concert at the NAfME National In-Service Conference at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee.

The compositions spanned musical genres, and were performed by several faculty members from the Middle Tennessee State University School of Music, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, as well as the MTSU University Chorale, the MTSU Jazz Ensemble I and the composers themselves.

In September, the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) announced the winners of the 2013 Student Composers Competition. Students of Association members from 23 states submitted compositions. Compositions included instrumentation ranging from solo harp to bass clarinet, marimba, and trumpet, to big band.

The compositions were adjudicated by a panel of NAfME composer/educators, and their evaluations were shared with each student composer. Thanks to the generosity of the European American Musical Alliance and the Double R Foundation, the winning composers received a cash prize of $150 each in addition to the performance of their piece.

The winners in the 2013 competition are:

Elementary/Middle School

Elizabeth Wang, Gelinas Junior High School, Setauket, NY Teacher – Daniel Deutsch

Calvin Lu, Marlboro Middle School, Marlboro NJ Teacher – Felicia Ruffman

Alistair Coleman, Thomas Pyle Middle School, Bethesda, MD Teacher – Susan Mathis

High School

Nicholas McConnell, Princeton High School, Princeton, NJ Teacher – David Gordon

Michael Chung Hon Cheng, Clements High School, Sugar Land, TX – Teacher – Ann Witherspoon

Alexandra Bartol, T.S. Wootton High School, Rockville, MD Teacher – Valerica Maican

Gabriel Montague, Newton North High School, Newton, MA Teacher – Todd Young

Andrew Herring, Central Dauphin High School, Harrisburg, PA Teacher – Matthew Ceresini


Ryan Diefenderfer, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN

Christopher Harris, Ithaca College, Ithaca, NY

Immediately following the concert Daniel Deutsch, chair of the NAfME Council for Music Composition, gathered the students for special “Composers Meet Composers” session.  He asked how many of them composed on paper or electronically. A few composed with a pencil, at least but most did so digitally.

Many of the composers said they will continue composing and already are at work on new works.


Photo by Randi Radcliff


Roz Fehr, NAfME Managing Editor for News, October 29, 2013. © National Association for Music Education