Young Composers Initiative

Young Composers Initiative

OMEA Young Composers Initiative 2024 Composition Competition

The Ohio Young Composers Initiative was created to encourage, foster, and promote musical creativity across Ohio’s young music students. The founding board members are all professional composers appointed to high level collegiate music programs in the state: 

Dr. Jennifer Merkowitz, chair (Otterbein University), Dr. Marc Ainger (Ohio State University), Dr. Robert McClure (Ohio University), Dr. Marilyn Shrude (Bowling Green State University), and Dr. Aurie Hsu (Oberlin Conservatory).

This year’s performing ensemble is the Nexus Saxophone Quartet.

The Nexus Saxophone Quartet is comprised of veteran music educators and performers from central Ohio. With a shared passion for the saxophone, these musicians have dedicated themselves to the art of saxophone quartet performance. Known for their versatile repertoire, The Nexus Saxophone Quartet strives to highlight the timeless beauty of the saxophone quartet genre as well as champion contemporary music by performing new compositions. Among these works is the mesmerizing piece Day Today which was composed for the Nexus Quartet by noted composer HyeYoung Kim.  Through their commitment to embracing innovative compositions, their goal is to contribute to the growth and evolution of the saxophone quartet genre. Members of the quartet, Ryan Alexis, Rob Cebriak, Matt Guirreri, and Don Nathan, have over 100 combined years of serving the music education community in central Ohio and beyond. For more information visit the website

The board members will serve as judges for the 2024 Composition Competition and will mentor the winning composers through virtual lessons in preparation for the performance of their selected composition at the 2024 OMEA Professional Development Conference in Columbus, OH on Saturday, February 3, 2024.

The details of the 2024 Composition Competition are below:


The Competition is only open to students who meet the following criteria:

            (1) Ohio Resident

            (2) Sponsored by an OMEA member

            (3) Between the Ages of 13-20

Composition Guidelines

1. The submitted composition must be written for 2-4 saxophones. Acceptable combinations include:

Quartet: SATB or AATB

Trio: SAT, AAT, AAA, or ATB

Duet: any combination of soprano, alto, tenor, and baritone saxophones

2. Compositions of any style or aesthetic direction will be accepted.

3. The submitted composition’s duration should be between 3-10 minutes.

4. Each student may only submit ONE composition to the competition.

Submission Materials


OMEA Sponsoring Member and Contact Info
Student Name
Student Age

Student Email
Primary Music Teacher/Instructor
Title of Piece

2. REQUIRED SCORE: Submitted Composition in PDF format. It is suggested that students use a notation program (Finale, Sibelius, MuseScore, etc) to engrave their work. However, scans of legible handwritten scores in pdf format will still be accepted.

3. REQUIRED AUDIO: Recording in .mp3 format. MIDI realizations will be accepted (however, please send MIDI realizations in .mp3 format as well).

4. Students will apply through their OMEA Sponsor. OMEA Sponsors can click on the Submission Form button below to log into the OMEA Member portal and upload the student’s materials.

The board members will select the winning composition(s). Each composer will have two lessons with selected board member composers on their work as they prepare the piece for performance by Nexus Saxophone Quartet at the 2024 OMEA Conference.

DEADLINE EXTENDED for SUBMISSION: October 15, 2023 October 31, 2023. Any questions can be directed to Dr. Jennifer Merkowitz (