Commissioned Composer Program

To encourage the creation of new music by American composers, the Washington State Music Teachers Association partners with the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) to commission new works.   Each year, WSMTA commissions a Washington State composer to write a composition to be premiered at the State Conference in June.  Commissioned composers will receive $2,500.

The composer may then submit their composition to the MTNA Distinguished Composer of the Year committee the following fall.  This committee selects one composer to be honored as the National Distinguished Composer of the Year, whose composition is then performed 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 have questions, please contact Commissioned Composer Committee Chair Louise Nedela.

2023 Call for Composers!

Submissions Accepted
February 1, 2022 – April 15, 2022

To encourage the creation of new music by American composers, the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) annually assists its State Associations with a Composer Commissioning Program.  Each State commissioned composition is digitally submitted to MTNA for selection of the National Distinguished Composer of the Year, which is presented in concert and receives $5000.  The composer retains ownership of the composition.

In conjunction with MTNA, the Washington State Music Teachers Association (WSMTA) is seeking candidates for the 2023 Commissioned Composer of the Year (CCOY) to prepare a new composition according to the requirements below.  The selected commissioned composer will receive $2500 when the composition is premiered at the June 2023 WSMTA state conference.  

The selected State Commissioned Composer (as well as the selected National Distinguished Composer) will be responsible for financial and logistics regarding performers, rehearsals, and performance of the selected composition at the conference, and also provide copies for archives.   To keep composer’s costs to a minimum, it is suggested that the piece be for one or two performers.

 The WSMTA 2023 composition requirements:

  • For Advanced or Professional level for any instrument or voice
  • Composer must reside in Washington State
  • Membership in WSMTA or MTNA is not required
  • Previously commissioned composers and current employees of WSMTA are ineligible to apply

For further contract responsibilities, rights of a commissioned composer, and other information contact Louise Nedela.  

To be considered, please submit the following by April 15, 2022 to Louise Nedela:  

  1. Two of your original compositions that you have in your catalog that you feel will be representative of your compositional ability for this project; format–pdf scores and mp3 recordings; (arrangements not accepted)
  2. A short bio
  3. Contact information
  4. A synopsis of your intended project that adheres to the requirements   

The selected composer will subsequently prepare a new composition as stated above.  

Please feel free to contact Louise Nedela with any questions:, phone: 360-448-8572

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
2019Bruce Stark
2021Dawn Sonntag

Commissioned Composer

of the Year


Shlomo Farber

Shlomo was born in Israel and relocated to the Portland/Vancouver area to be close to family. With passion for jazz, classical music, folk tunes, and film music, Shlomo earned degrees in piano performance, composition, and Cinematic orchestration. A former member of the Portland Symphonic Choir, Shlomo won their competition for choral music composition in 2018. As a multi-disciplinary musician, Shlomo has played
in various jazz ensembles in the Portland area and is pursuing a career as a film composer.

Maintaining a teaching studio, Shlomo works with students of all ages and has developed learning games for his students. Shlomo’s music has been performed by various orchestral and choral ensembles including the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra.  Shlomo has recently joined Oregon’s National Guard band and is a recent
graduate of the U.S. Army school of music

Nocturne for Cello and Piano

The past years have been giving humanity a large dose of adversity. As music is a form of therapy, this piece encapsulates a combination of an existential struggle along with the yearning for a resolution and a hope for a brighter future. The harmonic language is largely influenced by jazz and film music and the structure combines various elements of traditional forms such as sonata and rondo. The piece is entitled “Nocturne” as it features a melodic line with repetitive accompanying textures. However, it brings a new
interpretation to the genre. In this context, the nocturne is featuring some of the darkness that the night brings along with a few glimpses of light.