Congratulations to Daniel Fleury (Rochester, MN) and Ian Handeland (Dayton, MN) for their selection as Minnesota Varsity Showcase Composers! Their pieces, Paraphrases for Violin and Cello (Fleury) and Fields Red for piano trio (Handeland) will receive world premieres at Ted Mann Concert Hall on May 11th. Thank you, Classical Minnesota Public Radio for supporting this unique program for high school musicians!

Minnesota Varsity showcases the top high-school musical talent from Classical Minnesota Public Radio’s terrestrial broadcast area (includes parts of MN, WI, ND, SD, IA and the UP of Michigan). Teens in these regions are invited to compete in Minnesota Varsity as performers or as composers.

For seven seasons ACF has partnered with Minnesota Public Radio to offer this distinctive composition contest for students ages 14-18 and grades 9-12. Students submit one original piece for the selected instrumentation, which changes each year to offer new creative challenges.

Edie Hill, Composer Mentor

The composer mentor and panel of performers play through all the submissions and select five pieces that show good playability, creativity, structure, and overall musical effect. These five students advance to the featured round of the competition, where they participate in a full day of coaching and workshopping their pieces, plus recording interviews at MPR’s Studio M.

This season we’re excited to welcome nationally celebrated composer Edie Hill as our program mentor! After edits are turned in and reviewed, two composers are selected for the Showcase Concert: a live radio broadcast from Ted Mann Concert Hall, which is later available to stream on the MPR website.


Click below to watch composition videos about each instrument, and to go behind the scenes with MN Varsity showcase composers.

Instrumentation varies each year, and in past seasons students have composed for:

  • 2019 concert: piano, cello, violin
  • 2018 concert: flute, clarinet, alto saxophone
  • 2017 concert: trumpet, cello, piano
  • 2016 concert: violin, viola, cello & tenor voice
  • 2015 concert: piano, french horn, clarinet
  • 2014 concert: piano, cello, violin
  • 2013 concert: flute, oboe, clarinet
See pictures from past seasons!

This Season

Teen musicians: what original melodies and textures can you imagine for piano, violin & cello? A solo, a duet, a trio? All the combinations are available to you in this year’s Minnesota Varsity composer category, and we’re eager to hear what you create!

Composers (ages 14-18 and grades 9-12) are invited to submit one original score (3-7 minutes in length) for any combination of the specific instruments listed below. To participate, read all the rules and apply online here:

Important Dates

  • Monday, December 3 @ 9:00am: the final deadline to submit your composition. Late entries are NOT accepted.
  • Saturday, 2/23/2019: Mentoring Day in Saint Paul
  • Saturday afternoon, 5/11/2019: Showcase Concert at Ted Mann Concert Hall

This season’s instrumentation

will be three performers:

  1. piano (video)
  2. violin (video)
  3. cello (video)

You may compose/submit a trio for all three players; a duet (piano and violin; cello & violin, cello & piano); or an unaccompanied solo for piano, violin, or cello. Music for any other instruments will not be accepted for this year’s competition.



Reid Spreiter
Isadora White
Seamus Hubbard Flynn
Nicholas Christenson
Sam Hanson
Austin Kraft
Austin Kraft
Louisa Byron
Louisa Byron
Ava Huebner
Ava Huebner
John Kuntz
John Kuntz
Riona Ryan
Riona Ryan
Grant Luhmann
Grant Luhmann

Please enjoy these photos from the MN Varsity Workshop day on 2/23/2019!