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CAPMT 2024 Commissioned Composer Program

CAPMT is committed to supporting the careers of California composers. The chosen recipient of the CAPMT 2024 Commission will write a new work to be premiered at the 2024 CAPMT State Conference (date and location TBA).  The 2021 CAPMT Commission fund of $2000 is funded with the support of MTNA. The current Commissioned Composer’s composition will be submitted to the MTNA national competition.

Current Commissioned Composer

Nate May

Nate May (b. 1987) is a versatile American composer, keyboardist, and educator whose music has been heard across four continents: in jazz clubs and DIY spaces, on national television, in museums and modern dance venues, and on mainstage classical events at New York’s Sheen Center and the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. His chamber, choral, and orchestral music, characterized by textural intricacy, rhythmic drive, and repurposed sounds, has been performed by the International Contemporary Ensemble, Ensemble Dal Niente, Wild UP, the Yale Philharmonia, Patchwork Duo, and Quartetto Indaco. Raised in Huntington, West Virginia, much of his work stems from a “fascination, love, and respect for the people” of Appalachia (Soapbox), including his oratorio State, the result of interviews he conducted with Appalachian migrants on a fellowship from the Berea Sound Archives, and “Licorice Parikrama,” a networked performance featuring West Virginians affected by the 2014 Elk River chemical spill.

Also an award-winning educator, he has served as a teaching artist with the American Composers Orchestra and taught courses at Yale University, Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music, Montclair State University, the Walden School, and the Thurnauer school. In 2021 he founded Synthase, a school that nurtures musical creativity for young people through online lessons, classes, and interactive technology.

He holds a doctorate in composition from Yale, supported in part by a Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He also earned degrees from Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music (M.M., Composition) and the University of Michigan (B.F.A., Jazz and Contemplative Studies). His teachers have included Aaron Jay Kernis, David Lang, Christopher Theofanidis, Geri Allen, Stephen Rush, and Michael Fiday.

Past Commissioned Composers

2022 CAPMT Commissioned Composer
Dr. Ron Anderson

Ron Anderson’s choral music is heartfelt, expressive, sincere, and richly layered. The work he wrote for the 2022 CAPMT Commission ‘Let This Mind Be In You’ for SATB, Piano and Clarinet is a shining example of his work!

–Craig Richey, CAPMT Commissioned Composer Chair

2021 CAPMT Commissioned Composer
Amy Stephens

‘I find Amy Stephens' music immediately accessible and richly expressive. Immediately apparent is the way in which Amy incorporates the language of jazz into classical forms. The sophistication with which she does this sets her apart from others who may pay homage to another genre. The result: a fully integrated and individual style.'

––Craig Richey, CAPMT Commissioned Composer Chair

2019 CAPMT Commissioned Composer
Feona Lee Jones

"Fiona’s string quartet Adrenaline struck me instantly with its power and energy and provocative musicality. Not only is it beautifully written for the instruments and the medium, but it possesses sophistication and originality. I am always looking for work that has a true musical voice, a message that speaks out beyond the craft, and is written for performers. Feona’s music does. Watching the performers of this quartet it is clear that they agree!"

--Craig Richey, CAPMT Commissioned Composer Chair

2018 CAPMT Commissioned Composer
D Riley Nicholson

“I immediately sensed in Riley’s music this presence of a thoughtful and deeply conceptual composer, one with a musical, organic, and powerful voice. And upon further discovery, watching interviews on his website, it was clear to me we had chosen a composer with a well-articulated philosophy of music and sense of purpose: an ‘artist-composer.’ We will be most proud to have Riley represent the state of California in the MTNA Distinguished Composer of the Year Program.”

--Craig Richey, CAPMT Commissioned Composer Chair

2017 CAPMT Commissioned Composer
Alexander Elliot Miller

“Alexander’s music is instantly appealing, creative, sophisticated, and socially relevant. CAPMT is excited and proud to premiere his commissioned work at our October State Conference.”

--Craig Richey, CAPMT Commissioned Composer Chair

CAPMT Commissioned Composer Rules and Guidelines


  • The CAPMT Commissioned Composer Program serves to support the careers of professional composers and is not to be confused with the MTNA Student Composition Competitions. As such, composers currently enrolled in high school, undergraduate, or master’s degree programs are NOT eligible to apply. However, submissions from doctoral candidates are accepted.
  • Composers must be residents of the State of California.

Commissioned Composer Application

Submission Process

DEADLINE:  MAY 1, 2024

Important Dates & Deadlines

  • MAY 1, 2024 (WED)

Composer’s submitted materials must be uploaded as part of the CAPMT Commissioned Composer Application Form

  • MAY 15, 2024 (WED)

The Commissioned Composer Selection Committee will notify the winning composer

  • SEPTEMBER 2, 2024 (MON)

Delivery of commissioned composition: PDF of completed score must be sent via e-mail to the CAPMT Commissioned Composer Chair at


Premiere performance of the commissioned composition at the CAPMT State Conference.

  • DECEMBER 1, 2024 (FRI)

Deadline for CAPMT Commissioned Composer Chair to submit the commissioned composition to the MTNA Distinguished Composer of the Year Award Competition

• MARCH 15-19, 2025 (SAT–WED)

MTNA National Conference • Minneapolis, Minnesota

CAPMT Commissioned Composer Application Form will be available in the Spring

  1. All materials must be uploaded as part of the CAPMT Commissioned Composer Application Form
  2.  Composers must submit the following for TWO representative contrasting works (a movement of a multi-movement work is acceptable):
    • PDF of scores
    • Audio recording (MP3) and/or video link
  1. Composers must also submit the following Accompanying Documents:
    • Introductory Cover Letter
    • Résumé and/or Curriculum Vitae
    • List of Complete Works
  1. Composers are also encouraged to submit Supporting Documents, such as:
    • Press clippings
    • Reviews
    • Links to performance videos
    • Composer’s website
    • Any other social media sites that the Composer would like the selection committee to review
  1. A single PDF containing all accompanying and supporting documents and links is acceptable, but not mandatory

Selection Process

The Commissioned Composer will be selected by a committee comprising the CAPMT Commissioned Composer Chair, CAPMT State President, and a third judge chosen by the Commissioned Composer Chair.

Commissioned Composition & Premiere Performance

The selected Commissioned Composer will write a work 10–15 minutes in length for any performance medium. Since the commissioned composition is typically premiered at the CAPMT State Conference on a chamber music concert, a solo or small chamber work, not to exceed seven players, is preferable. CAPMT will provide a stipend of $150 per performer, maximum of $1,050 (7 performers), to engage musicians for the CAPMT State Conference premiere performance. CAPMT offers no additional financial assistance in this regard and does not offer any additional stipend for travel or lodging.