CAPMT 2021 Commissioned Composer Program

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

Current Commissioned Composer

Amy Stephens


Pianist Amy Stephens is an award-winning Third Stream and jazz composer.  Her solo piano works include Scenes of San Francisco and Becoming: Suite for Solo Piano.  She has recorded several albums of her jazz ensemble compositions with her critically acclaimed quartet, Amy Stephens Group. 

Teaching privately since 1993, Amy is a Nationally Certified Teacher of Music.  Amy earned two Bachelors, a Masters, and Performer’s Certificate in classical & jazz piano from Indiana University.  Her jazz and classical mentors include David N. Baker, Lynne Arriale, Luke Gillespie, Marius Nordal, and Evelyne Brancart.  Amy also enjoys serving as a clinician and evaluator for festivals and adjudications.  She loves living in San Francisco and exploring the coast with her family.  For recordings and scores:  www.amystephens.com.

"Receiving the CAPMT Commissioned Composer 2021 award is absolutely beyond words for me--I hope to capture in music how incredibly grateful I am for this honor!"

––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



Past Commissioned Composers

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.


Submission Process

DEADLINE:  JUNE 15, 2021


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

  3. Composers must also submit the following Accompanying Documents:

    • Introductory Cover Letter

    • Résumé and/or Curriculum Vitae

    • List of Complete Works

  4. 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

  5. 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. The 2020 CAPMT Conference TBA.


Important Dates & Deadlines

  • JUNE 15, 2021 (TUE)
    Composer’s submitted materials must be uploaded as part of the CAPMT Commissioned Composer Application Form

  • JUNE 22, 2021(MON)
    The Commissioned Composer Selection Committee will notify the winning composer

  • SEPTEMBER 1, 2021 (WED)
    Delivery of commissioned composition: PDF of completed score must be sent via e-mail to the CAPMT Commissioned Composer Chair at craigrichey@me.com

  • October 2021 (FRI–SAT)
    Premiere performance of the commissioned composition at the CAPMT State Conference TBA

  • December 1, 2021 (WED)
    Deadline for CAPMT Commissioned Composer Chair to submit the commissioned composition to the MTNA Distinguished Composer of the Year Award Competition

  • March 26-30, 20202 (SAT–WED)
    MTNA National Conference • 


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