MTNA fosters new music creation through its annual composer commissioning program

What is a Commissioned Composer

MTNA is dedicated to encouraging the creation of new works by American composers and annually assists affiliated state associations in the generation and performance of new music through the national composer commissioning program. Each year one state commissioned composer is selected by their State Affiliate, e.g. NCMTA, to receive the MTNA Distinguished Composer of the Year Award.

2021 Recipient

Travis Alford photo

Travis Alford (b. 1983) is an American composer, trumpeter, improviser, educator, dog owner, husband, and father (not exactly in that order).

Travis has worked with a number of ensembles and musicians, including Transient Canvas, the Lorelei Ensemble, Talujon Percussion, ECCE, the Boston New Music Initiative, the Meridian Arts Ensemble, clarinetist Christopher Grymes, soprano Sharon Harms, and trombonist Benjamin Herrington, on the creation and performance of his music, which has been described as “graceful” (NY Times), “truly sublime” (Boston Classical Review), and “overwhelming and other-worldly” (Boston Music Intelligencer). In 2019, Travis was awarded the Goddard Lieberson Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, which praised his “keen sense of pacing and overall design” and “exquisite attention to every interval and subtlety.” Other recognition for his work includes the American Prize in Music Composition (2015), the League of Composers/ISCM Composers’ Prize (2012), and the ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composers Award (2010), as well as fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, the Atlantic Center for the Arts, the Composers Conference at Wellesley College, New Music on the Point, June in Buffalo, the Oregon Bach Festival, and the Summer Institute for Contemporary Performance Practice. He has been a Composer-in-Residence at the UT-Knoxville Contemporary Music Festival, the Nief-Norf Summer Festival, the SCI National Conference, and the FSU Festival of New Music.

Travis is currently an Assistant Professor of Music Composition & Theory and Director of the NC NewMusic Initiative at East Carolina University. He holds degrees from Brandeis University (PhD, Music Composition and Theory, ’14), the New England Conservatory (MM ’08), and East Carolina University (BM ’05), having studied with Yu-Hui Chang, Eric Chasalow, Lee Hyla, Edward Jacobs, David Rakowski, Mark Richardson, Britt Theurer, and Melinda Wagner. Travis and his wife, Lauren, live in Clayton, NC with their son, Owen, and their dog, Toby.

Learn about Past Commissioned Composers.

Visit our Historic Perspective page.