MTNA is dedicated to encouraging the creation of new works by American composers and annually assists its affiliated state associations in the generation and performance of new music through the national composers commissioning program. A newly commissioned composition receives its premier performance at the conference of the state association that commissions the work.
To further promote and recognize outstanding contributions to American music, MTNA annually has each state affiliate submit their commissioned compositions to a panel of recognized composers for selection of the MTNA Distinguished Composer of the Year. The new work of the selected composer is presented in a performance at the MTNA national conference, and the composer is proclaimed the MTNA Distinguished Composer of the Year. The selected composer receives $5,000 award.