Commissioned Composer Program

WSMTA participates annually in the MTNA Composer Commissioning Program.  WSMTA commissions a Northwest composer to write a composition to be premiered at the State Conference in June.  MTNA provides $750 and WSMTA provides $750 for a total of $1,500.  The composer may then submit their composition for consideration to the MTNA Distinguished Composer Committee the following fall.  This committee selects one composer to be honored, whose composition is then premiered at the MTNA national conference. All compositions are placed in the MTNA Commissioned Works Library.

Every composer involved to date has shown excitement and enthusiasm for this project, often stating that it gives them an incentive to accomplish something they might not have done otherwise.  The composers are often asked to provide an intermediate-level composition for students to learn.

 If you would like more information please contact:

Steve Nehrenberg
Commission Composer Chair

Commissioned Composer

of the Year


Keva Vaughan-McMorrow

Keva Vaughan-McMorrow, NCTM, BM W.S.U., MMA U.W., and former 2010 Washington State Commissioned Composer, was selected by WSMTA as the 2018 as Commissioned Composer.  She is the first woman to have earned this award twice since the program begin.  Keva has her Permanent Professional Certificate in Piano Performance with an emphasis on teaching theory and composition.  In this last year she has performed in orchestral, chamber and solo venues:  with the CSO in Prokofiev’s Third Symphony and Respighi’s Roman Festivals, as soloist in Saint Saens Carnival of the Animals, she arranged the Faure Sicilienne for harp and piano, as well as preparing for her debut of this year’s commissioned WSMTA work, Antarctic Odyssey for piano solo.

Keva apprenticed with her MTNA teacher back in high school and was active in the Tri-City and Seattle chapters even while earning her performance degrees. She has served as vice president and editor of the Seattle Chapters Staccato Notes, was a charter member, past president, and founder of the Edmonds Chapter newsletter, Noteworthy. She helped start the Time Era Festival and is now chairing the  Annual Student Awards Gala.

Composition has been a life-long love for Keva, who begin composing for puppet shows in her Mom’s art classes, then for her students while she was in college. She first published “Four Piano Pieces,” which included a prelude and fugue, a nocturne, a splashy salon piece for piano solo, and a piano four-hand work. This was followed by a cycle of art songs, entitled “Songs of Love,” more individual art songs, works for clarinet, guitar, and a work for piano and chorus. These compositions are recorded on her millenium CD, “Mandala Awakening -Musical Compositions of Keva Vaughan-McMorrow.”    More recently she published the children’s piano method book (early to intermediate) “Suite Dreams -Eight Lullabies in Ancient Grecian Modes.” This has been a favorite of her WSMTA colleagues.   In November 2009, Keva released a CD of her Christmas and Hanukkah arrangements, “Classic Holiday Favorites.” In June 2010, WSMTA presented her as the WA State Commissioned Composer in a performance of her new octet, “Evening River Echoes” to be recorded and performed with CSO musicians.

Five years ago she was fortunate to take an expedition to Antarctica where she experienced zodiac tours of wildlife and glacier climbing.  To experience the white continent firsthand, was a life changing exposure to the forces of nature which she wanted to express in music, She wrote one movement but felt the force of the journey hadn’t been adequately communicated.  With the receipt of WSMTA’s Commission this year, she was finally able to complete the suite of four piano pieces.  The first movement is  Stasis –Harmonius Balance which communicates the beauty, passion and melancholy of being spiritually  as well as harmonically “stuck.”  The second is Volitilizations –South American Journey where melancholy is vaporized and the flurry of anticipatory emotions begin.  Passages –Antarctic Winds represents the two day crossing through the challenging Drake Pasasage with shrieking 100 mph winds.  The final movement Awakening Zodiac Scenes describes overwhelming and transcendent beauty of the pristine landscape, the frolicking wildlife and cracking of glaciers.  Keva looks forward to sharing this musical experience with our members at the Vancouver Conference.

Ms. Vaughan-McMorrow’s composition was heard on June 21, 2018 at the Young Composers Project and Commissioned Composer Recital as part of the WSMTA-OMTA Joint Conference at the Heathman Lodge in Vancouver WA.

WSMTA Commissioned Composers Since 1975

1975David Robbins
1976William Doppman
1978Wendal Jones
1980Paul Polombo
1981Michael Young
1982Brother Ronald Hurst
1985Alan Hovhaness
1986Tomas Svoboda
1987Bern Herbolsheimer
1988William Bergsma
1989Greg Short
1990Normand Poulshock
1991James Beale
1992William Brandt
1993Roger Briggs
1994Diane Thome
1995David Jones
1996David Asplin
1997Charles Argersinger
1998Carol Sams
1999Clement Reid
2000Jonathon Middleton
2001Greg Youtz
2002Don Caron
2003Greg Yasinitsky
2004B. J. Rosco
2005Robert Lundquist
2006Valerie Roubos
2007Gail Gross
2008Meg Mann
2009Victoria Sabo
2010Keva Vaughan-McMorrow
2011Robert Spittal
2012Ryan Hare
2013Reginald Unterseher
2014Liz Nedela
2015Gay Santerre
2016Gregory Youtz
2017Brent Edstrom
2018Keva Vaughan-McMorrow