CMS Young Composers Competition

2018-2019 YCC Winners

Since 2004, the Young Composers Competition has recognized and encouraged the efforts of those between the ages of 12 and 21 who are involved in the creative process of composing music.  This program, unique to the St. Louis region, is an open competition which has received submissions nationally and internationally.  

Each year brings a new nationally-known guest composer who is passionate about working with future generations of composers. Past guest composers have included Claude Baker, Zack Browning, John Cheetham, Dino Constantinides, Steven Dankner, Beth Denisch, Don Freund, Lansing McLoskey, James Mobberly, Shulamit Ran, Jared Spears, Chen Yi, Elizabeth Ogonek, Kyong Mee Choi, Niloufar Nourbakhsh and Angélica Negrón.  

Awardees have their works performed by musicians from Chamber Project St. Louis at a public concert that is professionally recorded. Each awardee receives a written critique of his/her work and a conference with the guest composer.

More about the Young Composers Competition

2020-2021 Young Composers Competition Winners

Level One (12-16 years of age)

1st Place: Luca Pasquini, 16, from Denver, CO - for Danse Orphique

2nd Place: Frazar Henry, 14, from Bonita Springs, FL - for Song and Celebration


Level Two (17-21 years of age)

1st Place: Daniel DiMarino, 20, from Cleveland, OH - Cleveland Institute of Music for Three Sketches

2nd Place: Connor Johnson, 20, from Dexter, MI – Michigan State for ( [shift 9] 

2020-2021 Young Composers Competition Winner Biographies

Level One (12-16 years of age)

1st Place: Luca Pasquini, 16, from Denver, CO - for Danse Orphique

2021 YCC Winner Luca PasquiniLuca Pasquini (b. 2004) is a composer/pianist from Denver, Colorado. Inspired by many different genres, Luca’s music seeks to discover the wonders of the world through modern classical music. He is currently studying piano and composition at Denver School of the Arts under Mitchell Alpaugh. He also is privately studying piano with Brad Marcotte and composition with Leanna Kirchoff and is a member of the Denver Young Artist Orchestra. At the DSA program, he has collaborated with Ben Thompson, as well as the members of Conrad Kehn's Playground Ensemble, and was chosen twice to be featured in the Playground Ensemble's Colorado Composer's Concert as the K-12 Winner. Luca was a Western Region winner in the National Federation of Music Club's Junior Composer Contest placing 2nd on the National Level. Recently he was a part of the 2020 Boston Conservatory at Berklee’s Summer High School Composition Intensive, studying with Jim Dalton, Jonathan Bailey Holland, and Mischa Salkind-Pearl.


2nd Place: Frazar Henry, 14, from Bonita Springs, FL - for Song and Celebration

Frazar P. Henry is the critically acclaimed and award winning, home-schooled ninth grade composer/pianist residing in Bonita Springs, FL. who—days before our worlds came to a screeching halt due to the COVID-19 pandemic—scored a musical hat trick in just one weekend, meriting the 1st Prize in three different competitions: the Miami Music Teachers Foundation Composition Contest, the Frost International Young Artists Piano Concerto Competition, and the Frost International Young Artists Solo Piano Competition! In addition to winning the ASCAP Foundation 2018 Morton Gould Young Composer Award for his orchestral overture In Exordium—Henry’s second ASCAP/Morton Gould honor in three years—he won 1st Prize for Piano in the 2019 Music Foundation of Greater Naples Scholarship Competition and has been the State Winner (Florida) of the MTNA Composition Competition two years running. Henry has also garnered notable awards and recognition from the Tribeca New Music 2020 National Young Composer Competition, the 2019 Tampa Bay Symphony 4th annual Call for Scores Composition Competition, and the 2019 Metropolitan Youth Orchestra of New York’s Emerging Composers Competition, as well as multiple First Place finishes in the FGCU/Steinway Piano Society Young Artist Piano Competition.


Level Two (17-21 years of age)

1st Place: Daniel DiMarino, 20, from Cleveland, OH - Cleveland Institute of Music for Three Sketches

2021 YCC Winner Daniel DiMarinoDaniel DiMarino was born in the greater Philadelphia area of Pennsylvania in 2000. He spent five years of his life in Pleasanton, California, and has been living outside Philadelphia since 2005. Daniel grew up studying piano and violin, and started to explore the world of composition at age 8. He began his formal music theory and composition training when he was 13.

His most recent classical works include a three-movement work for piano, clarinet, and cello, Zeal and Whimsy for woodwind quartet, Artisan’s Tools for Marimba and Harp, and a short piece for violin and piano. Daniel has also written electronic and soundtrack-style music. He was selected as the Youth Category winner of the CINE Marvin Hamlisch Film Score Contest in 2018 with his film score for a student-made short film, Virtus Vitae.

Daniel is a junior, double-majoring in violin performance and music composition at CIM. He composition with Dr. Keith Fitch, and violin with Dr. Olga Kaler.


2nd Place: Connor Johnson, 20, from Dexter, MI – Michigan State for ( [shift 9]

2021 YCC Winner Connor JohnsonConnor Johnson is a Michigan-based trumpet player and composer. He is pursuing his bachelor’s degree in trumpet performance at Michigan State University studying under Justin Emerich, as well as studying composition with Dr. Alexis Bacon. Recently, Connor’s “[shift-9]” for Pierrot ensemble was named Honorable Mention in the 2020 Blue Mountain/Forecast Call for Scores, and his saxophone quartet “Scenes Unseen” was selected as a runner-up in the Sinta Quartet’s 2020 Composition Competition. Several of his other works have been recognized by groups including the Hypotenuse Trio, the Additive Color Ensemble, and Tribeca New Music. Connor is also an accomplished performer, recently having been selected as a finalist for the 2020 Next Generation Trumpet Competition.

2020-21 Guest Composer: David Werfelmann

David WerfelmannDavid Werfelmann is an award-winning American composer of instrumental, vocal, and electronic music whose works are widely performed and recorded by ensembles and soloists throughout the United States. His orchestral music has been performed by the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra as well as the major orchestras of the USC Thornton School of Music, IU Jacobs School of Music, and the Lawrence University Conservatory of Music. David’s Arclight Alley, commissioned and premiered by the Lawrence University Wind Ensemble, has also been performed by the wind ensembles of USC Thornton School of Music, CSU Stanislaus, and the SCSBOA Honors Band. Among the many saxophone quartets that perform his work Hypercolor are the Zzyzx, Red Rock, Lawrence University, and Georgia Southern University Quartets, as well as the Fischoff Award-winning Barkada Saxophone Quartet.

David’s music is heard frequently at conferences, festivals, and recitals around the United States and Europe, including the CMS International Conference in Belgium (2019), the C4 Premieres Workshop, the USF New Music Festival, the NOW HEAR Festival, NACUSA and SCI conferences, North American Saxophone Alliance conferences, the Society of Electroacoustic Music in the United States convention, the CSU Fullerton New Music Festival, the Berkeley Arts Festival, the Navy Band International Saxophone Symposium, the Los Angeles Composers Project, the Zeltsman Marimba Festival, the Institute for European Studies in Vienna, and at concerts in Bologna and Ravenna, Italy. Among the many honors David’s works have received, his orchestral work The Mad Machine won the BMI Student Composer Award in 2011.

Saturday, March 20, 2021

Workshops (TBA)

Young Composers Concert:  featuring winning works from the 2020-21 Young Composers Competition and music by our guest composer David Werfelmann, performed by Chamber Project St. Louis.


*Dates and event presentation subject to change.

Guest Composer:  Dr. Claude Baker
Level 1
First Place: Benjamin Hart, St. Peters, MO
Second Place: Andy Oster, Festus, MO
Level 2
First Place: Daniel Godsil, St. Louis, MO
Second Place: Michael Dunsmoor, O’Fallon, MO 

Guest Composer:  Dr. John Cheetham
Level 1
First Place: Yan Zhu, Brentwood, MO
Second Place: Jack Popper, St. Louis, MO
Honorable Mention: Charlie Capps, St. Louis, MO
Level 2
First Place: Louis Goldford, Ballwin, MO
Second Place: Benjamin Hart, St. Peters, MO
Honorable Mention: Daniel Winfield, St. Charles, MO

Guest Composer:  Dr. James Mobberley
Level 1
First Place: Jack Hughes, Reston, VA
Second Place: Yan Zhu, Brentwood, MO
Honorable Mention: Gabriel Maichel, St. Louis, MO 
Level 2
First Place: Elizabeth Lim, Cambridge, MA
Second Place: Timothy Eshing, Maryland Heights, MO
Honorable Mention: Adam Schumaker, Elsah, IL

Guest Composer:  Dr. Jared Spears
Level 1
First Place: Yan Zhu, Brentwood, MO
Second Place: Gabriel Maichel, St. Louis, MO
Honorable Mention: Cole Perkinson, Portland, OR and
Jack Hughes, Reston, VA
Level 2
First Place: Daniel Winfield, O’Fallon, MO
Second Place: Benjamin Hart, St. Peters, MO
Honorable Mention: William Bryant,  Murphysboro, IL and
Matthew Mendez, Cambridge, MA

Guest Composer:  Dr. Dinos Constantinides
Level 1
First Place: Cole Perkinson, Portland, OR
Second Place: Riley Crabtree, Vancouver, WA
Honorable Mention: Ian Evans Guthrie, Washougal, WA
Level 2
First Place: Kristen Walker, Liberty, MO
Second Place: William Bryant, Murphysboro, IL
Honorable Mention: Marta Sofia Botelho Vieira, Evanston, IL/Portugal 

Guest Composer:  Dr. Chen Yi
Level 1
First Place: Jack Hughes, Reston, VA
Second Place: Riley Crabtree, Vancouver, WA
Honorable Mention: Sam Reising, Portland, OR
Level 2
First Place: Anthony Hernandez, Columbia, MO
Second Place: Lauren Wells, Kansas City, MO
Honorable Mention: Cole Perkinson, Portland, OR

Guest Composer:  Shulamit Ran
Level 1
First Place: Alexis Lerner, Upper Saddle River, NJ
Second Place: Andrew Stock, St. Louis, MO 
Honorable Mention: Jared W. Hedges, Lindenhurst, IL and
Sidarth Jayadev, Saratoga, CA
Level 2
Co-First Place: Daniel McCallum, London, UK and
Mahlon Berv, Stamford, CT
Honorable Mention: Alexander Blank, Rock Hill, MO  and Riley Crabtree, Vancouver, WA

Guest Composer:  Dr. Stephen Dankner
Level 1
First Place: Ari Korotkin, Birmingham, MI
Second Place: Eleanor Bragg, Brookline, MA
Honorable Mention: Michael Parsons, Stirling, NJ and 
Felix Jarrar, Bridgeport, CT
Level 2
First Place: Thomas Feng, Fremont, CA 
Second Place: Wesley Devore, Centennial, CO
Honorable Mention: Riley Crabtree, Vancouver, WA

Guest Composer:  Dr. Zack Browning 
Level 1
First Place: Michael Parsons, Stirling, NJ
Second Place: Stuart Ross Carlson, Dexter, MI
Level 2
First Place: Jack Hughes, Reston, VA
Second Place: Wesley Devore, Centennial, CO

Guest Composer:  Dr. Beth Denisch 
Level 1
First Place: Joseph Jordan, New York City, NY
Second Place (tie): Molly Monahan, Holland, MI and Paul Novak, Reno, NV
Level 2
First Place: Cooper Minnis, St. Louis, MO
Second Place: Gus Knobbe, St. Louis, MO

Guest composer:  Dr. Don Freund
Level 1
First Place:  Paul Novak, Reno, NV
Second Place:  Julia Riew, St. Louis, MO
Honorable Mention:  Molly Monahan, Holland, MI
Level 2
First Place:  Erin Hoerchler, Jefferson City, MO
Second Place:  Gus Knobbe, St. Louis, MO
Honorable Mention:  Kelly Stathis, Poughquag, NY

Guest composer:  Dr. Lansing McLoskey
Level 1
First Place: Simon Cohen, Chicago, IL 
Second Place: Stella Gitelman Willoughby, Cambridge, MA
Level 2
First Place: Alex Berko, Solon, OH
Second Place: Alex Williams, Columbia, MO

Guest composer:  Elizabeth Ogonek
Level 1
First Place: Stella G. Gitelman Willoughby from Cambridge, MA 
Second Place:  Li Chibing from Beijing, China
Honorable Mention: Andrew Courtney from Corona del Mar, CA
Level 2
First Place: Alex Williams from Kansas City, MO
and Lucy McKnight from Los Angeles, CA
Honorable Mention: Shiwei Liu from Shanghai, China
Best from St. Louis: Zach Fendelman

Guest composer:  Kyong Mee Choi
Level 1
Co-1st Place, Solomon Ge, 14, from San Jose CA
Co-1st Place, Bo Huang, 16, Rutherford NJ
Co-2nd Place, Brinson Moore, 15, Greenwood, SC
Co-2nd Place, Avik Sarkar, 16, Chestnut Hill, MA
Level 2
1st Place, Josiah Sprankle, 21, Kansas City, MO
2nd Place, Julian Freyo, 21, Cleveland, OH

Guest Composer:  NIloufar Nourbakhsh
Level 1
First Place: Yusei Hata, 16, New York City, NY 
Second Place: Caroline Bragg, 15, Brookline, MA 
Level 2
First Place: Paul Novak, 20, Reno, NV 
Second Place: Jenny Yao, 18, Cambridge, MA
Honorable Mention: Nathaniel Heyder, 19, Cleveland, OH

Guest Composer:  Angélica Negrón
Level 1
First Place:  
Noah Tan, 16, Stevensville, MI
Second Place: Madeline Cheng, 15, Los Altos, CA
Level 2
First Place: Jane Meenaghan, 18, Los Angeles, CA
Second Place: Sami Seif, 21, Cleveland, OH 

AGES:  Level 1: students ages 12-16; Level II: students ages 17-21

FEES:  $20 application fee made payable to Community Music School of Webster University

AWARDS:  Awardees are recognized at a public performance of their winning compositions by musicians from Chamber Project Saint Louis, plus a professional recording of the concert.  Each awardee receives a written critique of his/her work and a conference with the guest composer. 


FORMAT:  Compositions should be for 2-7 member music ensembles and 3-15 minutes in length. 

MEDIUM:  Traditional manuscript and audio recording or MIDI realization required.

Melody, Harmony, Rhythm, Style, Form, Instrumentation, Labeling, Notation, Musicality

THE PANEL OF JUDGES INCLUDE: Published composer(s) and school/university theory & composition faculty

SUBMISSION DEADLINE: All submissions must be postmarked or received by October 19, 2020.  The winners will be announced no later than January 1, 2021.


  1. Each applicant may submit only one work for consideration.
  2. Compositions must fulfill the formatting and medium requirements listed above.
  3. Compositions must be wholly original works composed by the applicant.
  4. Composition should be performable by university faculty level professional musicians.  Works requiring amplification, computer, tape, or CD are not eligible.
  5. Composer’s name should not appear on the score. Scores should be identified by pseudonym.
  6. Previous first place winners not eligible to enter the competition for one year.  Exception being if level I winner aged into level II for the following year. 



  1. Complete the online entry form.  After you have submitted the form you will be directed to pay the entry fee by credit card online.  All submissions must be accompanied by payment to be considered.
  2. Upload the computer-engraved score & parts, program notes and composer bio (each 200 words or less) where indicated on the form (ALL IN PDF FORMAT).
  3. Email your instructor and ask them to complete this online Teacher Certification Form
  4. Email audio recording/MIDI realization, in MP3 format to

You will receive an automatic email response if you've completed the Entry form correctly.  You will also receive email notification when the Teacher Certification Form has been completed by your instructor.  THE TEACHER CERTIFICATION FORM MUST BE COMPLETED to be considered.


Email with the following materials: 

  • Computer-engraved score and parts, in PDF format
  • Audio recording/MIDI realization, in MP3 format
  • Copy of completed Entry Form (PDF)
  • Program Notes and Composer Bio (each 200 words or less)

And the following via post:  (Community Music School of Webster University; Attn:  Young Composers Competition  470 E. Lockwood Ave., St. Louis, MO  63119)

  • $20 application fee payable to Community Music School
  • a completed Entry and Teacher Certification Form