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Emerging Composer Competition

Emerging Composer Competition

Past Winners


Minato Sakamoto is a Japanese composer from Osaka. Ranging from classical concert music to electronic music with heavy uses of computational technologies, his compositions practice the unserious seriously, fuse spontaneous and organic qualities, and demonstrate a clear connection to the past.


Minato is currently studying towards his Ph.D. in composition at Duke University. He previously studied at Amherst College and graduated summa cum laude in 2018. His current and past composition teachers include Scott Lindroth, Stephen Jaffe, John McDonald, and Eric Sawyer.


Minato is a Japanese chess lover and Accredited Meteorologist of Japan Meteorological Agency. As a railway addict, Minato constantly wastes his time to explore unique railways in the world. Favorite composer: Johannes Brahms. Favorite locomotive: China Railway DF4 Type.


Originally from Colombia, Juan Calderon has been a resident of New York City since 2008. His music blends classical, modern, and avant-garde elements. He draws from his experience as a recording and touring rock guitarist in Colombia and Miami, his studies of East Asian music, inspired by interaction with musicians and artists in China, Japan, and Indonesia, and his teaching practice. 

He recently released the album “Preludes and Etudes for the Guitar.” His composition “Reino Incierto” has been performed at Carnegie Hall and the Sounds of the City Concert Series in New York. His Three Movements for Guitar Quartet is included on an album of prominent Colombian composers titled “Entre la huella y el grito.” His guitar sonata Schwarzfahren is being published by Cristiano Porqueddu for Edizioni Curci.


Juan Calderon earned a master’s degree in Composition from the Manhattan School of Music. He has recently studied classical guitar with Mark Delpriora. His mentors include composers Susan Botti, Reiko Fueting, and electronic music pioneer Joel Chadabe. He earned a Bachelor of Music from the University of Florida, where he studied jazz guitar with Tom Lippincott and composition with Susan Epstein-Garcia.

Juan is also an avid cartoonist, collector of rare books, and long-distance runner.

Keaton Garrett (b. 1995 Arlington, TX) is a collaborative composer and saxophonist based in Lansing, Michigan.  His work is most often informed by his experiences performing in large and chamber ensembles as a classical saxophonist, while also being influenced by his eclectic listening pallet. His creative interests changing daily, though are presently fixated on creating structures that explore the idea of making, acquiring, or giving space for individual performer’s identities within and outside of set musical parameters. His musical grammar varies piece to piece but at its core synthesizes concepts of collaboration, audible/tangible processes with an emphasis on timbre and texture, and deep listening.


Having recently completing graduate studies in composition and saxophone performance at Michigan State University with Dr. Alexis Bacon, Dr. Lyn Goeringer, Dr. David Biedenbender and Professor Joseph Lulloff. Keaton has also completed a degree from Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, TX studying music education, composition and saxophone under Fred J. Allen, Dr. Stephen Lias and Dr. Nathan Nabb, respectively. Keaton is currently the saxophonist for the Hypotenuse Trio the Zenith Reed Quintet, and Myriad Saxophone Trio.  His saxophone and wind ensemble music is published by MurphyMusicPress.

Marcus Norris’ first foray into making music came in the form of producing rap beats on pirated software, installed on a Windows 98 computer that he Macgyvered together from spare parts while laying on the floor of his childhood bedroom. Though he came to composing concert music later, he transferred that same imagination and ingenuity to writing music of all kinds. Marcus has been called a “New Musical Talent in our Midst” by Chicago’s N’digo Magazine, and has made a number of achievements, including being awarded the prestigious Cota-Robles fellowship for pursuing his PhD at UCLA, being chosen in 2020 for the LA Philharmonic’s National Composers Intensive, and in 2017 winning 1st prize in the Southeastern Composers League Competition. His violin concerto “GLORY” opened to three sold-out performances when premiered by the Jackson Symphony Orchestra in 2019, and then was subsequently performed in Guangzhou, China later that year. His Dance Suite “I Tried So Hard for You” premiered in Havana in 2018, closely following the Russian String Orchestra premiere of “My Idols Are Dead” in Moscow. In 2020 he founded South Side Symphony – the only orchestra that would perform “Back That Thang Up” on the same concert as Beethoven.


For more information on Marcus and his music visit and 

Steven Crino is a composer primarily interested in simplicity,  compositional craft, and emotional immediacy. His music has been performed  by ensembles and soloists, such as Peter Sheppard Skaerved, The Podcast  Opera Company, The Boston New Music Initiative, The Philadelphia  Experimental Theatre Ensemble, and The Temple University Singers. 

Steven is the winner of the 3rd International A.D. Kastalsky Choral  Music Competition, The Composers Concordance Competition. and was  selected for Peabody’s 2019 Honors Ensemble Project, and the Baltimore  Choral Arts Society’s Student Composer Project. He is the recipient of the Ada  Arens Morawetz Memorial Award, the Richard M. Duris Scholarship for  Excellence in Classical Music, and the Florence Gould Foundation Scholarship.  

Steven is a doctoral candidate at the Peabody Conservatory, where he  also completed degrees in Composition (M.M.) and Theory Pedagogy (M.M.),  studying with Michael Hersch, Kevin Puts. He was also a Graduate Assistant,  and Graduate Teaching Fellow of Music Theory at Peabody, working under the  tutelage of Omar Thomas, Ildar Khannanov, and Kip Wile. Prior to his time at  Peabody, Steven studied harmony, counterpoint, and composition privately  with Benjamin C.S. Boyle and attended the E.A.M.A. summer program in  Paris. He currently resides in the Philadelphia area.

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