The American Composers Forum (ACF), in partnership with MakeMusic®, is proud to acknowledge the influential teachers of the 2017 NextNotes® High School Composition Awards winners. NextNotes is a national program designed to nurture the next generation of creative voices in music composition regardless of musical style. The following winners were selected for their compositional skills and strong creative voices: Stephanie Chow (Bloomington, IL), Alistair Coleman (Bethesda, MD), Nathaniel Heyder (Alexandria, VA), Natsumi Osborn (Katy, TX), Sammy Sussman (Bedford Hills, NY), and Evan Tiapula (Brisbane, CA). Each of these composers have teachers in their lives—educators who help them craft their voices and grow as young artists and citizens. The following teachers were thoughtfully selected for their dedication to the NextNotes winners:

Two of the 2017 NextNotes winners speak on the impact of their teachers:

“Dr. David has and continues to provide me with the tools required to bring honest music to fruition, and for that I am extremely grateful. He is a good friend and guides my thinking and actions with ease and “tough-love.” He is a selfless and thoughtful human being and an incomparable musician. Thank you Derek!” – Evan Tiapula

“Since meeting her in fourth grade, Dr. Kim McCord has always been one of my greatest supporters in music. From nurturing my interest in jazz to opening up opportunities to share my music with others (without her effusive encouragement, I was too timid to have submit my first pieces anywhere let alone Downbeat or ACF), she has been vital to my growth as a musician and I certainly would not be here without her. Dr. McCord’s passion for granting everyone the benefit of music shines through in her many projects from forming music ensembles for people with disabilities to leading her self-titled “Granny band” of middle-age-and-older music novices! Her kind spirit and inclusive philosophy to music inspired me to try and become not only a more honest musician, but a person who can inspire similar kindness in others.” – Stephanie Chow

ACF and MakeMusic will honor all of these significant educators by awarding them a subscription to SmartMusic®, an interactive music software program for use in their classrooms. SmartMusic provides guided practice, assessment and documentation, and an extensive repertoire library to bolster student learning. The 2017 NextNotes winners will also receive Finale® notation software as a part of their larger award package.

In June, the NextNotes winners will travel to Minneapolis, Minnesota for continued mentorship with leading composers Carol Barnett, Joshua Clausen, and Joseph Horton, as well as rehearsals and performance of their winning works by professional musicians. The NextNotes Showcase Concert will take place at 7:30pm on June 24th at the Lab Theater (700 N 1st St, Minneapolis, Minnesota.) The Showcase is free and open to the public.

ACF and MakeMusic are thankful to these exceptional educators, and look forward to helping more of their students thrive due to their dedication and inspiration.

2018 NextNotes High School Composition Awards applications are now being accepted.

Students in grades 9-12 are invited to apply with a single composition in any genre or style by the deadline of January 8, 2018 for the fourth year of the NextNotes High School Composition Awards. Interested high school composers are encouraged to visit the website and connect via Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and Instagram.

NextNotes applications are submitted electronically through an online process. Six composers will be chosen to receive a scholarship along with travel to Minneapolis-St. Paul for a two-day workshop with professional composer mentors and professional musicians in June 2018. The workshop will conclude with an awards ceremony and culminating concert of the winning works.

The NextNotes High School Composition Awards are generously supported by The Augustine Foundation, the Rosemary and David Good Family Foundation, The Katherine B. Andersen Fund of The Saint Paul Foundation, and the Dr. Fred Noah Gordon Charitable Fund of The Minneapolis Foundation.

For more information, please visit or or email Laura Krider, Director of Education and Community Partnerships, at For more information on MakeMusic, please visit

Download a PDF of the NextNotes press release here.