Composer Commissions

Deanna Wehrspann was chosen by the Board of Directors as the SDMTA Commissioned Composer for 2015. The intermediate piano suite has six movements in varying styles, inspired by phrases she’s selected from poetry by Ivan Fuller, former Chair of Augustana Performing and Visual Arts. Professor Fuller has been a frequent lyric collaborator for Ms. Wehrspann’s works. The title for the suite is Poetic Preludes and some of the movements include "An Order of Fries", "Her Empty Window", "Invisible Violets", and "This Ice-Breath". Poetic Preludes was performed at the SDMTA State Conference in June 2015. You can learn more about Ms. Wehrspann's works on her website.

SDMTA participates in a composer commissioning project in conjunction with Music Teachers National Association’s Award for the Shepherd Distinguished Composer of the Year. SDMTA commissions composers with South Dakota connections–either current or past. The membership determines the nature of the work and asks for applications. These applications are reviewed by a committee after which the selected commission is awarded. The completed work is premiered at the fall conference, with the composer present. It is then submitted to the MTNA national office for consideration for the Shepherd award.

The MTNA Composer Commissioning Program is dedicated to encouraging the creation of new works by American composers. The Distinguished Composer of the Year Award is sponsored by Sylvia Shepherd of California. Further information concerning composer commissions through MTNA can be found here.



Year Composition Composer and Location
2015 Poetic Preludes
(intermediate piano)
Deanna Wehrspann, Sioux Falls, SD
2012 Five Moments
(soprano, piano)
Symeon Waseen, BHSU
2009 The Catbird Seat
(2 pianos, 4 hands)
Jeremy Hegg, Sioux Falls, SD
2005 Nomadic Nocturne
(piano, clarinet, percussion)
Paul Kolar, Eureka, SD
2002 To Make a Prairie
(soprano & piano)
Awarded Sheperd Distinguished Composer of the Year, MTNA
Timothy Hoekman, FSU, Tallahassee, FL
2000 South Dakota Suite
(intermediate piano)
Published as An American Portrait: Scenes of the Great Plains by FJH Music #FF1317
Valerie Roth Roubos, Spokane, WA
1999 Dakota Sunset
(intermediate piano duet)
Published by Belwin/Warner Brothers #PA9907
David Karp, SMU, Dallas, TX
1998 Sanguine
(violin/piano)
William Wieland, NSU
1995 Dachsie Dance
(piano, 4-hands)
Stephen Yarbrough, USD
1993 Finding Athène
(youth piano concerto)
Joint Commission with Colorado, Iowa, Minnesota & Nebraska
Alf Houkom, Iowa City, IA
1992 Contemplations
(SATB choral 4 movements)
Merlyn R. Aman, BHSU
1991 Resonet in Laudibus
(SATB choral)
Stephen Yarbrough, USD
1990 Four Pages from the Old Testament
(choir/piano/mallets)
Allan Jacobson, NSU
1989 A Little Brassy Jive
(brass quintet)
Lori Neprud, Augustana
1988 Circle Dance
(clarinet, piano, percussion)
Anthony Lis, SDSU
1987 A Trilogy of the Old West
(SATB choral)
Merlyn R. Aman, BHSU
1986 Sonata for Unaccompanied Cello Robert Marek, USD
1984 (percussion ensemble) Louis Pape, DSU
1983 December 26
(SATB choral)
Paul Royer, SDSU
1982 Three Short Pieces
(piano, 4 hands)
Lewis Hamvas, YC
1980 Landscape III--Autumnal Equinox
(piano solo)
Brian E. Belét, Rapid City
1978 Songs from Corn Belt
(vocal solo, piano)
Joel Hardyk, Huron College
1976 West River Country
(chamber orchestra)
Walter May, Augustana
1975 commission not fulfilled because composer moved James Stepleton, Augustana
1974 The Miracle of Forgiveness
(choral cantata with narrator)
Louis W. Pape, DSU
1973 Song Cycle on Texts by Alfred Lord Tennyson
(soprano, piano)
Ann Gebuhr, NSU
1972 Vocalise for Choral Group Brass Quartet,
Woodwind Quartet, Tympani & Organ
Maynard F. Berk, SFC
1970 (flute, clarinet, bassoon) Floyd A. McClain, YC
1969 Fantasy 69
(violin/piano)
Paul Royer, SDSU
1968 Sonnet to Jessica(voice, piano)
Unto Thine Altar Lord We Come (wedding song)
Merritt Johnson, NSC
1967 Fantasias for Brass Quartet Robert Marek, USD

You can download a complete list of the commissioned compositions here