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Looking at the record. (Composer Commissioning).

One of the established goals of the MTNA Composer Commissioning Advisory Committee is to improve visibility, awareness and participation in the MTNA Composer Commissioning Program. When the committee met last March at the MTNA National Conference in Cincinnati, they suggested I write a column about the scope and breadth of the program.

I wasn't sure exactly how to proceed. Finally, I decided to just look at the record and, of course, that means knowing some history.

MTNA began the Composer Commissioning Program in 1969, when four states participated. Since the beginning the mission of the program has remained the same, i.e. to encourage the creation of new works by American composers by annually providing funding to the affiliated state associations for the generation and performance of new music.

In the past few years, approximately thirty-two states have participated in the MTNA Composer Commissioning Program. So just how many pieces of American music have been created under the MTNA Composer Commissioning Program?

Since its inception, forty-seven different states have participated in the MTNA Composer Commissioning Program, creating nearly 800 new American compositions. This alone seems like evidence of the scope and breadth of the program. Looking further at the record, there are fifteen states (California, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas and Washington) that have participated in the program every year for the past ten years.

In 1969, the Distinguished Composer of the Year Award also was established as part of the Composer Commissioning Program. Thirty-two composers have been selected to receive this honor. I talked with a couple former distinguished composers to garner their thoughts on the impact and influence of the program. Elisenda Fabregas comments:
 It was a great honor to be the 2000 MTNA-Shepherd Distinguished Composer of
 the Year for my solo piano work, Portraits I. The most immediate benefit of
 the award was an increased national visibility.... The MTNA award also
 refocused my attention into piano writing. I have recently completed Album
 for the Young, a three-volume collection of thirty-four pieces for the
 early to late-intermediate level. Finally, the award indirectly motivated
 me to establish Hidden Oaks Music Company, my own publishing company My
 music is now available online at and through selected

The 1999 MTNA-Shepherd Distinguished Composer of the Year Laurence Bitensky touts the program:
 Being selected as MTNA composer of the year meant a tremendous amount to me
 both personally and professionally. As someone who is dedicated to teaching
 as well as creating, I was honored to be singled out by an organization
 that does so much to support music education in this country. This award
 helped very much in bringing national recognition to my work, and I am
 extremely grateful for the additional recognition that my work has received
 thanks to this award. It is hard to know exactly how the Composer of the
 Year Award affected further commissions/awards, etc. Subsequent to winning
 the award, I received a commission from the Fromm Foundation at Harvard

So, looking at the record, the Composer Commissioning Program has had some real successes. Examine the list of states that have participated and the number of pieces each state has commissioned since the beginning to further measure the program's influence.

Now how about your state? Are you planning your next or your first commissioned work? Why not start now!
States in the MTNA Composer Commissioning Program (Number of

Alabama (9)
Arizona (9)
Arkansas (6)
California (30)
Colorado (18)
Connecticut (9)
Delaware (21)
Florida (29)
Georgia (25)
Hawaii (9)
Idaho (3)
Illinois (1)
Indiana (4)
Iowa (15)
Kansas (26)
Kentucky (29)
Louisiana (19)
Maryland (l1)
Massachusetts (22)
Michigan (28)
Minnesota (9)
Mississippi (20)
Missouri (28)
Montana (17)
Nebraska (16)
Nevada (12)
New Hampshire (14)
New Jersey (9)
New Mexico (28)
New York (28)
North Carolina (28)
North Dakota (24)
Ohio (21)
Oklahoma (25)
Oregon (16)
Pennsylvania (17)
South Carolina (4)
South Dakota (17)
Tennessee (30)
Texas (15)
Utah (9)
Vermont (8)
Virginia (29)
Washington (25)
West Virginia (4)
Wisconsin (4)
Wyoming (16)

--Thomas Ediger, NCTM MTNA Composer Commissioning Program Nebraska City, Nebraska He is director of choral activities and professor of music at Peru State College.
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Title Annotation:history of composer commissioning program
Author:Ediger, Thomas
Publication:American Music Teacher
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 1, 2002
Previous Article:Pauses that refresh. (College Faculty Forum).
Next Article:The possibilities of time II: flow. (Independent Music Teachers Forum).

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