2019 Winner, Patrick Lenz (b.1994) is a current M.M. Composition student at Rice University from Eastman, Wisconsin. Patrick completed his Bachelor of Music degree at Baylor University (’17). Patrick has studied with Dr. Anthony Brandt, Dr. Scott McAllister, and Dr. Edward Taylor. Recently, Patrick’s composition for Wind Ensemble, Pillar of Fire, was named the winner of the 2016 Baylor University Composition Contest and the 2018 Red Note New Music Composition Competition, and Funk Shui was selected as the winner of the 2018 International Woodwind Duo Symposium Composition Contest (recorded by Albany Records).

Notable performances include 2016 Baylor University Wind Ensemble under the direction of Dr. J. Eric Wilson, 2018 Illinois State University Wind Symphony at the 2018 Red Note New Music Festival, the Portland Wind Symphony and Oregon State University Wind Ensemble at 2017 Western International Band Clinic. Patrick’s music is often inspired and influenced by the nature world and his religious faith. 

2018 Winner, Darren Schmidt is an active composer and performer from Baltimore, Maryland.  A recent graduate of Towson University, Schmidt is taking a gap year to compose full time and sing with his award winning barbershop quartet, Pratt Street Power.  Schmidt served as principle F Horn in Towson University's Symphonic Band and conducted their premiere of his piece in December, 2016.  Lux In Tenebris Lucet (Light Shines in the Darkness) was also awarded 2nd Runner-Up in the National Band Association Young Mentor Project.  

Having sung in choir from a young age, Schmidt is also well versed in the choral tradition and enjoys utilizing a wide variety of styles to express each text individually; his unique setting of the Wessobrunn Prayer won 1st Prize in the 2016 Diabelli Contest in Munich, Germany.  To listen or learn more, visit

2017 Winner, Matthew Pellegrino, Originally from Long Island, NY, Matthew John Pellegrino is an award winning composer and classically trained oboist. Striving towards honest music with a unique energy and lyricism, Matt seeks artistic expression that honors his artistic influences and background.

Matt has experience writing large ensemble pieces, chamber and solo instrumental music, art songs and choral music, as well as scores for film and other media.  He has had collaborative experience with the Fredonia dance program, film studio, and the animation department.  He has been performed by the Fredonia State University Wind Ensemble, The Kent State New Music Ensemble, the West Islip High School Orchestra, and the Mezzo-Blasto Clarinet Quartet.  Matt is currently pursuing his Master's Degree at the Peabody Conservatory under Oscar Bettison and his primary teachers have been Dr. Rob Deemer, Dr. Sean Doyle, and Dr. Karl Boelter.

The winning composition, Winter Unending, Invincible Summer, will be performed Sunday, March 12, 2017 

2016 (No Winner Selected)

2015 Winner, Charlie Bond, is a composer and musical performer from Los Angeles, CA, currently majoring in composition at UCLA. As an active oboist and pianist, Charlie expanded his musical interests during his sophomore year of high school when he wrote, performed, and conducted his first original composition scored for wind ensemble. He continued composition enthusiastically and now has a keen interest in pursuing film scoring. Charlie studied oboe with David Weiss and performed as principal oboist for the California All-State Wind Symphony and the CSUN Youth Orchestra. In high school, he studied composition privately with Ian Krouse and later enrolled at UCLA where he studies with David Lefkowitz.

Charlie’s compositions have won several awards including the Young Musicians Foundation (YMF) Chamber Composition Competition for his piano trio “Droplets” and Most Original Selection at the National Orchestra Cup for his string orchestra piece “Afflicted.” 

Wind ensemble is Charlie’s favorite instrumentation to write for, and his most common one. He is thrilled to attend the premiere of his winning piece, “Against”. Hear more of Charlie Bond’s music at


2014 Winner, Justin Weiss, is a recent graduate from Albemarle High School in Charlottesville, VA, and will be attending Oberlin Conservatory of Music in the coming fall and majoring in composition. At Albemarle, he was the Principal Horn of the Albemarle High School Wind Ensemble and also played Trombone and Horn in Albemarle High School’s award winning Jazz Ensemble. In addition, Justin was the Music Director and Arranger for Albemarle’s All-Male A Cappella Group, the Minutemen, and also music directed the First Place Play at the Virginia Theater Association in 2010, Man of La Mancha.

Justin’s compositions have had him recognized as a 2013 YoungArts winner in Music Composition. He has also received recognition as an Emerging Composer by Tribeca New Music and has been a finalist for the ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composers Competition.

Justin attended Oberlin Conservatory’s Summer Composition Workshop in 2011 and Boston Conservatory’s Summer Composition Intensive in 2012. In addition, he has studied with Judith Shatin of the University of Virginia and Mark Camphouse of George Mason University. 

The winning composition "Landscapes" was premeired on February 13, 2014 at MMEA at the Minneapolis Convention Center.

2013 Winner, Grant Luhmann, a high school composer living near Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN, has been involved in music studies since fourth grade. He is a student of Libby Larsen, and has also studied with Edie Hill and Sarah Miller. A devoted oboe and English horn player as well as a composer, Grant is a member of the top ensembles of both GTCYS (Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphonies) and MYS (Minnesota Youth Symphonies). His works have been performed by ensembles such as the Grammy-winning Parker String Quartet, the Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra, and the Copper Street Brass Quintet, and he has won recognition on the state, regional, and national levels for his music. Especially in large ensemble works, harmonic and instrumental color are defining qualities of Grant's music. Grant is also a member of ASCAP and publishes through his own company Mondegreen Press. For more information go to

2012 (No Winner Selected)

2011 Winner, Keane Southard, 23, has had compositions performed by ensembles such as the Cleveland Chamber Symphony and the Longfellow Chorus and Orchestra. His music has been described as “highly-professional and well-orchestrated” (Portland Press Herald). 

He has been a recipient of many awards including the Student Composer Award for the American Art Song Competition, a Victor Herbert/ASCAP award from the National Federation of Music Clubs, the Lee Goldstein Composition Award from Baldwin-Wallace College, the Cecil Effinger Composition Award and George Lynn Prize from The University of Colorado-Boulder, and First Prize in the Longfellow Chorus International Composers Cantata Competition. 

He has also twice been a finalist for the ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Awards. Keane is currently a first-year Masters student at the University of Colorado-Boulder studying music composition where he serves as a graduate assistant in music theory. His composition teachers have included Kenneth Girard, Loris Chobanian, Daniel Kellogg, and Jeffrey Nytch.

The winning composition "Waltzing Dervish" for Wind (powered) Ensemble was premeired on Friday, May 13, 2011 at Wayzata Community Church, Wayzata, MN.

Masters Student-Music Composition, University of Colorado-Boulder
Teaching Assistant, Music Theory
Ph: 508-340-5449


2010 Winner, Jack Hughes, 16, is a senior at McLean High School in Reston, Virginia near Washington, DC and is a Young Associate of the National Symphony Orchestra. Jack participated in the Young Composers Program at the Cleveland Institute of Music in July 2007 and 2008 and in the New York Summer Music Festival’s Composition Workshop in July 2009. During the school year he studies composition with Professor Mark Camphouse of George Mason University.

Jack has written for band, orchestra, and various chamber ensembles. Every composition that he's submitted to competition has won recognition. Among those awards are first place in the Arden and Harry Fisher Young Composers Competition in 2006 and 2009, and in the band and orchestra division of the Pike’s Peak Young Composers Competition in 2007. He has twice received Emerging Composer honors from the New York Art Ensemble and has been a finalist for the ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Awards. 

Jack plays principal trumpet in the McLean High School Symphonic Band that is a holder of the Sudler Flag of Honor, awarded by the John Philip Sousa Foundation to only 57 high schools over the past 25 years. He performs in the American Youth Symphonic Orchestra and was a member of the 2009 Virginia All-State Band. Jack also plays piano, violin, viola, and clarinet.

Jack's winning composition is titled "After Rain".

2009 (No Winner Selected)

2008 Winner, James Benhardus, 18, is a 2007 graduate of St Anthony Village High School. James has been very involved in music throughout his high school career. He has studied oboe under Julie Madura for eight years in addition to participating in his school’s Concert Band and Chamber Choir. James has also been a member of the Minnesota All-State Band and the University of Minnesota High School Honor Band, and has performed with the Bethlehem Baptist Church Orchestra for the past two years.

James began composing about two years ago. His compositions were primarily for choir before composing “A Night Voyage to the Moon”, his first work for wind ensemble. However, he has also written works for solo flute, solo oboe, and soprano voice and cello. 

Next year, James will attend Bethel University in St Paul, MN. He plans to major in physics and applied music with an emphasis in composition. He hopes that his four years at Bethel will be enough time for him to decide which major to continue studying. Even so, James intends to continue composing throughout his lifetime either as a career choice or merely for enjoyment.

2007 Winner, Elbert Liu, 17, will be a senior at the Orange County High School of the Arts, where he is in the Instrumental Music Department. Along with his talent as a composer, he is also an accomplished pianist and cellist. Elbert’s primary teachers include, Dr. Carolyn Bremer (composition), Wilhelmina Smith, Margaret Parkins, and Marlin Owen (cello), and Juliet Aucreman and Ms. I-Ming Chen (piano). Elbert is also an active performer in local youth orchestras and has given several solo piano recitals in recent years.

In the summer of 2004, Elbert studied composition at the California Summer Music Festival with David Tcimpedis and Lowell Liebermann, where his piece, “A Townstroller’s Song”, for string ensemble was performed. Performances of Elbert’s other compositions followed in 2005 and 2006 by other various ensembles which include “Of Brazen Gears, Bells, and Pumps” for percussion quartet, “of a stream beneath mystic everglades” for brass quintet, “The Great Wall” for symphony orchestra, and “Fantasia #1” for wind band.

Elbert has continued his passion for composition by participating in the California Summer Music Festival, Eastman Music Horizons Composition Program, and most recently this summer with his acceptance into the Tanglewood Young Composers Program. He is a member of the National Honors Society, has earned a red belt in Taekwondo, and loves his storytelling lessons. He plans to major in composition when he goes to college. 

Elbert’s winning composition “Revolvz” was performed by the Encore Wind Ensemble on February 15, 2007 at the Minnesota Music Educators Convention in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

2006 Winner, Kathryn Salfelder, 18, is a freshman at New England Conservatory in Boston, MA. A 2005 graduate of Fair Lawn High School, NJ, she is an Edward J. Bloustein and National Merit Commended Scholar. Kathryn is the recipient of the 2005 New York Art Ensemble "Emerging Composer" Award, and the MEA Eric Steiner Memorial Award in the 2002-2004 MTNA High School Composition Competitions. Her compositions have been performed throughout New Jersey at The College of New Jersey, Westminster Choir College, and the Jersey Shore Arts Center, as well as at Yamaha Junior Original Concerts in Minneapolis, MN and Phoenix, AZ. Kathryn received New England Conservatory's highest merit award as well as numerous scholarships. She intends to pursue a career in composition. Kathryn's composition "To Venture Into the Realm of the Unknown" was performed during Encore's 2005-2006 concert season.

To learn more about Kathryn's latest compositions visit

2005 Winner, Artun Hoinic, 17, Encore's 2nd annual Charles B. Olson's Young Composer's Contest Winner comes to us from Ankara, Turkey. Artun's 12-day stay in the Twin Cities included trips to the American composer's Forum, University of MN School of Music and the Minnesota Youth Symphonies.

With impressive talent and an already growing portfolio, Artun brought additional compositions for review, including his "Concerto for Orchestra" and "Adagio for Winds", intended to complement his winning piece with Encore, "Sonata for Winds" in a symphonic tribute to the art of wind ensembles. We hope to see more of Artun Hoinic in the years to come!

2004 Winner, Stuart Breczinski, 17, This Golden Valley native wins Encore's first Charles B. Olson Young Composer Contest. This 17-year old Golden Valley native won a very competitive contest and will premeire his composition, Clipper with Encore at our first concert at Burnsville on Thurs. Oct. 23, 2003. Breczinski, an oboe player at Robbinsdale-Cooper High School, is also an award winning pianist and has participated in the all-state band program for 2 years. He has been composing music since the 8th grade. His piece titled "Clipper" illustrates the story of a boat at sea during a storm, as the storm approaches, rages and subsides.

“Whether the boat has survived, or whether its theme is but a memory, can only be determined by the listener”
— Breczinski