2011 Student Composers Competition Winners

The winning compositions were performed by the U.S. Army Brass Quintet in a Kennedy Center Milennium Stage concert on June 26, 2011.

College/Graduate School Winner: Zach Ashcraft

Hymn for the Forgotten

University of Denver, Denver, CO

Teacher: Howard Weinstein

Listen to Hymn for the Forgotten

Zach Ashcraft is a senior at the University of Denver’s Lamont School of Music, where he will receive his degree in trumpet performance. Following graduation, Zach will pursue a Master’s degree in music education at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

At the University of Denver, Zach has been a member of several ensembles including the Lamont Symphony Orchestra, the Lamont Jazz Orchestra, and was principal trumpet in the Lamont Wind Ensemble. Zach has also performed in several chamber groups at DU. His primary trumpet instructors have been Al Hood, Joseph Docksey, and Art Rocha.

It was at DU that Zach discovered his love for composition. He particularly enjoys writing for winds and chamber ensembles, and is always trying to find ways to incorporate electronics and new innovations into his compositions.

Zach is an alumnus of the Blue Stars Drum and Bugle Corps. From 2007-09, he performed in the corps as a lead trumpet player and served as drum major in 2010. While with the Blue Stars, Zach placed 2nd in the Drum Corps International solo and ensemble competition in the trumpet division and was a member of the 2010 world champion brass ensemble.

High School Winner: Nathan Lutz


West Chester East High School, West Chester, PA

Teachers: Lorraine Huddy, Charles DePasquale

Listen to Horizon


Nathan is a junior at West Chester East High School, where he participates in the wind ensemble and marching band. Currently the principal horn for the Delaware County Youth Orchestra, he has participated in multiple PMEA Festivals, including All-State Orchestra (2010) and All-State Band (2011). He participated in the 2011 Eastern Division MENC conference in Baltimore, MD as a member of the All-Eastern Orchestra. Most recently, Nathan performed Mozart’s Concert Rondo for horn with the Providence Chamber Orchestra (Phoenixville, PA).

Nathan studies horn with Dr. Alfred Blatter, and has studied horn, theory and composition with his teachers at the Luzerne Music Center in Lake Luzerne, NY, including William Schulman, Troy Chang, and Anthony McFarlane. Nathan’s first formal composition was the background music for a group documentary project submitted for a National History Day competition in 2007. Since then, he has written music for a wide range of instrumental ensembles including string quartets, brass and woodwind quintets. Nathan’s composition for woodwind quintet, “Stronghold” (2010), was performed at the 2011 Eastern Division MENC Young Composers Concert in Baltimore. His music for larger ensembles includes “Journey” (2010) for string orchestra, “A Walk In Starlight” (2010) for full orchestra and, for wind ensemble, “Beginnings” (2011).

Nathan is also keenly interested in art and architecture. He enjoys experimenting with computer-aided design software, making digital and actual models of his designs, and drawing. His future plans include the continued pursuit of his interests in music and architecture.

Elementary/Middle School Winner: Victor LaBozzetta

Time Travel!

Selden Middle School, Selden, NY

Teacher: Stephen Normandeau


Listen to Time Travel!

Victor LaBozzetta III is a 14 year-old, eighth grade student at Selden Middle School. Victor plays snare drum, jazz drum set, piano, and French horn, as well as guitar, bass guitar, vibraphone and voice. He began composing when he was 5 years old, assembling loops on the family computer. Victor was accepted into Stony Brook’s Pre-College Music Program at the age of 9 where he studies composition with Phil Salathe and percussion with Chris Graham. Additional percussion studies are with Justin Gallo, and French horn instruction is with Alison Fleming.

Victor’s composition “The Adventures of the Mind” was selected to be showcased at NYSSMA’s Winter All-State Festival in 2008. His composition “The Courage of the Contemplated” was selected for this honor in 2009. In March 2011, “Concerto in Eb”, was performed by The University of Stony Brook’s Orchestra at the Staller Center, featuring Victor as the percussion soloist. Last April, his composition, “The Third Minute”, was performed by Selden Middle School’s 8th grade band.

The Times of Middle Country Newspaper chose Victor as Middle Country’s 2010 Man of the Year in the Arts. Victor is an active member of his school’s drama club, maintains a 98 GPA, and really wants to learn computer animation.

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