2018 Grand Valley Wind Band Commission


Commission Winner - Kent Baker

After reviewing over 200 entries through a three-tiered blind review process, we are excited to announce that Kent Baker has been commissioned to write a new work for the GVSU Symphonic Band. We heard many exciting compositions, and thank everyone that submitted compositions for consideration.

Kent Baker is a lifelong musician who is currently the Executive Director of Music City Drum Corps in Nashville, Tennessee. Before leading DCI’s newest World Class corps, he spent twenty-two years as a renowned composer, hornist, and Assistant Drum Major for The United States Air Force Band at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, DC.

Before performing with The USAF Band (DC), he has also performed as a hornist with the Fairfax Wind Symphony (VA), Peoria Symphony Orchestra (IL), Prince George's Symphony Orchestra (MD), The Arlington Players (VA), and currently performs with the Quintessential Brass Quintet (VA). He donates his time to teach the students of the W. O. Smith School of Music. Kent is also a designer and educator for multiple Bands of America (BOA) marching bands, including 4-time BOA Regional Class Champion James Madison HS (VA). He was on the brass staff of The Cavaliers when they won their first DCI title in 1992, and recently on staff in 2014 and 2015 with The Cadets.

Kent's works have been featured on NBC's The Today Show fifteen times, Fox & Friends, The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade twice, USAF Twilight Tattoos, The USAF Band 75th Anniversary Concert, Kennedy Center Honors, with works recently performed by the St. Louis Brass Band (MO), Oklahoma City University Wind Philharmonic (OK), Mississippi State University (MS), Quintessential Brass Quintet (VA), and Barclay Brass (MD). He has received recent commissions from The McLean Orchestra, euphoniumist Brandon Jones, trumpeter Michael Brest, and tubist Dr. Ryan Robinson.

Kent's works have won numerous awards, including recent winners The Eternity Gate and The Tannhauser Gate, winners of the 2016 and 2017 Dallas Winds (TX) Fanfare Composition Competition, The Common Good, winner of Bay Colony Brass' (MA) 1st Annual Composition Competition, Wichita Falls, After the Rain, winner in the Musica Merida (Mexico) Orchestra Composition Competition, and 75.29.30, a winner in the United States Air Force Media Contest. His works God Bless America for brass and percussion ensemble and In Pursuit for Solo Oboe and Wind Ensemble have been included on USAF Band CD Projects Home of the Brave and Breaking Barriers

Commission Process Recap:

Grand Valley State University announces the Grand Valley Wind Band Commission. One composer will be commissioned to compose a work for the Grand Valley State University Symphonic Wind Ensemble.

The world premiere will be given by the ensemble during the 2018-2019 concert season, during a residency of the winning composer. The performance will be broadcast live on the web, will be included on promotional videos by GVSU ensembles, and may be included in a future album. The current wind band repertoire reflects a discrepancy between the diversity of the contemporary composer community and the catalog of regularly performed and newly commissioned works. We believe that diverse experiences are an intellectual asset and that a range of thoughtful perspectives and a commitment to open inquiry strengthens our liberal education tradition. Therefore, all composers are invited to apply, but we would like to especially encourage women and/or composers who are from underrepresented populations at GVSU. 

Expiration of Opportunity - We are no longer accepting submissions

February 1, 2018, 12:00 AM U.S. Eastern Standard Time. The legal definition of 12:00 AM is the first minute of that date.

All submissions received before February 1 will be considered. Applications that were received after the deadline (February 1 or later) will not receive a response or be considered.


Entry Fee



All composers are invited to apply, but we would like to especially encourage women and/or those individuals who are from underrepresented populations at GVSU.  Current Grand Valley State University students, faculty, and staff may not participate.

Entry process

We are interested in commissioning the strongest composer, regardless of having written for wind band previously. You may submit works of any instrumentation that demonstrate your highest level of accomplishment.

  1. Applications not adhering to these guidelines will not be considered.
  2. Applications must be sent as attachments to gvwindbandcommission@gmail.com. If you must link to a cloud service, place ALL files in ONE folder and submit the folder link.
  3. Composers must submit 2 representative compositions.
  4. Compositions may be of any length or instrumentation, with or without electronics.

Applicants should prepare the following for each submission:

  1. Information sheet with composer's name, pseudonym, email address, phone, title of works submitted, instrumentation, duration, name of performers/ensemble on recording.
  2. One PDF of each score submitted labeled with the title and pseudonym.
  3. A recording from a live performance or studio recording for each submitted score. No MIDI or other computer realizations. No exceptions.
  4. Program notes (separate from the score as a PDF file).
  5. Naming conventions for files:
    1. TITLE_Pseudonym_score.pdf
    2. TITLE_ Pseudonym _recording.mp3, recording.wav, recording.aif
    3. TITLE_ Pseudonym _prognote.pdf. For lengthy titles, truncate to the first 10 characters.
    4. Composer_LastName_First_Name_Information Sheet

Submission deadline: February 1, 2018, midnight EST.


 $5000 (U.S.) Commission


  • Entries will be judged Grand Valley State University composers and conductors.
  • After the evaluation of the submitted works, the committee will choose one applicant to compose a new work for modern concert band. Exact instrumentation of the commissioned work will be determined in consultation with the ensemble director.
  • Notifications by: May 1, 2018. Winner will be contacted by email and announced on this website.
  • The duration of the new work must be 10-15 minutes.
  • The new work (score & parts) must be submitted by: November 1, 2018
  • The commission fee is $5,000 (U.S.)
  • The winning composition will be performed by the Grand Valley State University Symphonic Wind Ensemble during the 2018-2019 concert season, during a residency by the composer.
  • The composer will receive travel, lodging, and meal expenses during the residency.
  • The composer will receive a professional quality audio recording of the performance and dress rehearsal, along with a multi-camera professional video shoot of the performance.
  • Composers will retain copyright and all rights to publication of the music. GVSU will retain performance rights, including web broadcasts of performances, inclusion in promotional materials, and recording rights, including first recording rights.
  • Questions may be directed to the 2018 GVSU Wind Band Commission staff at gvwindbandcommission@gmail.com.

Page last modified July 24, 2018