2024 Composer Award


The competition is open to composers who currently live in the United States, ages 18 and over. Composers may be at any stage of their careers. Applicants who are or will be students enrolled in degree-granting programs are ineligible. We encourage applicants from a variety of musical aesthetics and backgrounds to apply.


$50,000 commission to compose a new orchestral work, 15 to 20 minutes in length, to be premiered by the Bangor Symphony Orchestra during their ’24-’25 season.

Travel and lodging will be provided for the selected composer to attend the new work’s premiere, preceded by a week-long residency in Rockland and Bangor, Maine leading educational activities, attending rehearsals, and participating in public appearances. The composer will receive a recording of the new work.

During the creation of the new work, the composer will have access to the complete archives of artists Joan Beauregard and John David Ellis and the option to visit and stay at the Foundation headquarters in Rockland, ME.

Review Process

The entries will be judged on artistic excellence by a three-member jury: composer John Harbison, composer Chen Yi, and conductor André Raphel. All applicants will be notified by the end of December.


The application opens on August 1, 2024, and closes on October 1, 2024

There is no application fee.

Application must include:

● Two representative scores (PDF) and corresponding recordings (mp3 files or links). At least one of the two works should show the applicant’s ability to write for orchestra. Your name must be removed from scores/recordings.

● A musical CV/resume or bio.

Applications may be submitted via the Submit button below or via the Submittable website



2023 Awardee




Courtesy of Alex Cooke

Keith Fitch

Cleveland Heights, OH


The Ellis-Beauregard Foundation is pleased to award Keith Fitch from Cleveland Heights, OH its annual $50,000 Composer Award.  With the Award, Fitch will create a new work to be performed during the Bangor Symphony Orchestras 2024-25 season. Fitch was selected through a juried national competition and chosen from over 304 applicants.

“I am thrilled and honored to have been selected as this year’s recipient of the Ellis-Beauregard Foundation’s Composer Award, and I’m very much looking forward to working with Maestro Richman and the Bangor Symphony in the creation of a new work for the Bangor community. As someone who spent much of my early life as a visual artist, I’m particularly excited to explore the work of Joan Beauregard and John David Ellis as I begin gathering ideas for this piece, which I hope will have meaning for the Bangor community beyond the concert hall. I am deeply thankful for the foundation’s support.” said Fitch.

The jury was composed of distinguished professionals in the field, who have this to say about the process and outcome:

“I am very happy that the prize has been awarded to Keith Fitch.  His music is extraordinary- beautifully colored with extraordinary use of the orchestra, structured with drama and propulsion, architecturally stunning. Keith’s voice is sophisticated and at the same time deeply communicative. Congratulations to this superb American composer!” – JoAnn Falletta, Music Director, Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra

“Keith Fitch’s Alee for Orchestra is highly original. It’s full of color in the delicate textures.” – Zhou Long, University of Missouri-Kansas City, Bonfils Distinguished Research Professor of Composition

“His is the work of a mature composer, one of our best. It has depth and mystery, as well as drive and excitement. It is multi-dimensional in its character, color, and texturing. For all the intricacy and careful layering of its construction, it makes a direct and bold statement to the listener.”- Shulamit Ran, Andrew MacLeish Distinguished Service Professor Emerita at the University of Chicago Department of Music

It was an arduous task to review the scores and recordings from 304 excellent composers and the Foundation is extremely grateful to the jurors for their time and expertise,” says Ellis-Beauregard Foundation Executive Director Donna McNeil. We are thrilled to welcome our awardee in this field and look forward to bringing Fitch and his compositions to the residents of Maine. We are additionally grateful for the partnership of the Bangor Symphony Orchestra under the leadership of Music Director Lucas Richman and Executive Director Renia Shterenberg for their guidance throughout the process and their willingness to join us in the commission of a new work to be premiered in Bangor. None of this would have been possible without the generosity of our founders Joan Beauregard and John David Ellis and the vision of our board of directors.”  Board President Ellen Golden adds, The Ellis Beauregard Foundation is thrilled to announce the composer fellowship winner. Music was important to our founders, John David Ellis and Joan Beauregard, throughout their lives. This award continues their legacy in a significant and personal way while expanding opportunities for composers, musicians, and audiences in Maine.”

Fitch will participate in a residency in the cities of Rockland and Bangor leading up to the premiere of the new work during the Bangor Symphony Orchestras 2024-25 season, the orchestras 129th. Details of the full season and Fitchs premiere will be announced in April. Lucas Richman, Music Director & Conductor of the Bangor Symphony Orchestra says, “Keith Fitch writes dramatically evocative music so I’m really looking forward to collaborating on a new work of his which I’m sure will enchant our Maine audiences.”

Keith Fitch currently heads the Composition Department and holds the Vincent K. and Edith H. Smith Chair in Composition at the Cleveland Institute of Music, where he also directs the CIM New Music Ensemble. Called gloriously luminous” by The Philadelphia Inquirer, his music has been consistently noted for its eloquence, expressivity, dramatic sense of musical narrative, and unique sense of color and sonority. Reviewing a performance of his work Totem by Wolfgang Sawallisch and The Philadelphia Orchestra (chosen by Maestro Sawallisch to celebrate the orchestras centennial), The Wall Street Journal praised the sheer concentration of his writing, and its power to express a complex, unseen presence shaping the course of musical events.” The American Academy of Arts and Letters has said, [his] music reveals an individual landscape that concentrates on unusual textures and sounds – all within a strong narrative that drives towards a rich and powerful conclusion.”

A native of Indiana, Keith Fitch (b. 1966) began composing at age seven and began formal musical training on the double bass at age eleven. While still in high school (age sixteen), he received his first professional orchestral performance. He attended the Indiana University School of Music, where he studied composition with Frederick Fox, Eugene OBrien, and Claude Baker, double bass with Bruce Bransby and Murray Grodner, and chamber music with Rostislav Dubinsky, founder of the Borodin Quartet. He also counts Donald Erb and Joan Tower among his compositional mentors. Among his many awards are three each from ASCAP and the National Society of Arts and Letters, an Individual Artist Grant from the Indiana Arts Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts, a Fromm Music Foundation Commission, two Individual Excellence Awards from the Ohio Arts Council, a Copland House Residency Award, the 2016 Walter Hinrichsen Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and a 2023 Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship. He has enjoyed multiple residencies at The MacDowell Colony and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, as well as at Yaddo, The Charles Ives Center for American Music, and the Atlantic Center for the Arts, and he has twice served as Resident Composer and faculty at the Chamber Music Conference and Composers’ Forum of the East.

Highly regarded as a teacher, chamber music coach, and conductor of new music, he has taught at Indiana University, Bard College, and for eleven years served on the faculty of the Mannes College of Music in New York. From 2015-2017, he served as Composer-in-Residence and Director of the Young Artist Seminar in Composition at the Rocky Ridge Music Center.

2023 Jurors

JoAnn Falletta, Music Director, Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra

Zhou Long, University of Missouri-Kansas City, Bonfils Distinguished Research Professor of Composition

Shulamit Ran, Andrew MacLeish Distinguished Service Professor Emerita at the University of Chicago Department of Music



2022 Awardee




Nathan Shields

Traverse City, MI


The Ellis-Beauregard Foundation is pleased to announce that Nathan Shields has received its 4th annual Composer Award.  With the Award of $25,000, Shields has been commissioned to create a new work to be performed by the Bangor Symphony Orchestra in 2024. Shields was chosen from 376 applicants by a jury including composers Chen Yi and John Harbison, and conductor André Raphel.

Responding to the news, Shields said: “It’s a great pleasure to be coming back to Maine, the site of my first performance as a composer over twenty years ago, and of many cherished memories in the decades since. I’m grateful to the Ellis-Beauregard Foundation for its support, and I look forward to collaborating with the Bangor Symphony Orchestra, and to working with local communities in a place that has meant so much to me, both personally and artistically.”

Reflecting on the jury’s decision, Harbison said, “Nathan Shields will surely produce a bold, clearly expressed piece of music for the Bangor Symphony,” with Chen Yi adding, “Nathan‘s music is highly imaginative and expressive, with colorful and idiomatic textures.” André Raphel described Shields as “An original and brilliant compositional voice, who is ready to fulfill the promise of one of America’s most important commissioning prizes.”

The Ellis-Beauregard Foundation Composer Award has received over 1200 submissions in its first four application cycles. The first two commissions resulting from the Award by Reinaldo Moya and Jessica Meyer were premiered last season; the third by composer Kenneth Fuchs, titled Star Gazing, is slated for its world premiere on March 12, 2023, with the Bangor Symphony Orchestra performing. “The Foundation is enormously pleased to be able to give the gift of time to composers through these awards and further to share their gifts with the people who live in Maine through our partnership with the Bangor Symphony Orchestra. Nathan Shields is a stupendous choice who promises to deliver a thrilling composition” adds Donna McNeil, Executive Director of the Ellis-Beauregard Foundation.

2022 Jurors

Chen Yi, composer

John Harbison, composer

André Raphel, conductor




2021 Awardee




Kenneth Fuchs

Mansfield Center, CT


The Ellis-Beauregard Foundation is pleased to announce Kenneth Fuchs is the recipient of its 3rd annual $20,000 Composer Award. With the Award, Fuchs will create a new work to be performed in 2023 by the Bangor Symphony Orchestra. Fuchs, a Grammy Award-winning composer and professor of composition at the University of Connecticut, was selected through a juried national competition and chosen from over 225 applicants.

Fuchs says, “The Ellis-Beauregard Foundation’s support for my music touches me deeply. I admire the Foundation’s mission of promoting community engagement and inclusivity through musical expression and look forward to creating a meaningful work that exemplifies these values in collaboration with my colleagues of the Bangor Symphony Orchestra.”

The jury was comprised of composers Augusta Read Thomas and Adam Schoenberg, and conductor Mei-Ann Chen. Reflecting on the jury’s decision, Thomas said, “Kenneth Fuchs has an exceptional ear for pitch, harmony, rhythm, and timbre which, allied to his vivid and flexible imagination, results in lyrical, elegant, compelling, and personal compositions.” Schoenberg echoed Thomas’s thoughts: “Kenneth is a gifted composer who writes deeply personal and expressive works. His level of craftsmanship, meticulously detailed scores, and gorgeous orchestrations made his music stand out.” Looking ahead to the premiere, Chen noted, “Captivating and engaging, Mr. Fuchs’ music will be an exciting culmination of the wonderful Ellis-Beauregard Foundation Composer Award and a highly anticipated spotlight in the Bangor Symphony’s next season!”

The Ellis-Beauregard Foundation Composer Award has seen nearly 900 submissions over the course of its first three application cycles. In October, the Bangor Symphony Orchestra premiered inaugural award recipient Reinaldo Moya’s Concerto for Piano, Strings, and Percussion with Joyce Yang as soloist. The Orchestra is slated to premiere Jessica Meyer’s The Air of New Places on March 6th, 2022; Meyer was the 2nd annual award recipient.

Composer Augusta Read Thomas went on to say, “The Ellis Beauregard Foundation Composer Award in partnership with the Bangor Symphony and Lucas Richman offers a tour-de-force musical opportunity that allows a fortunate composer and performing artists to do the important work of collaborating together to further music’s flexible, diverse capacity and innate power.”

The Foundation intends to announce details of the 2022 application cycle in May.

2021 Jurors

Augusta Read Thomas, composer

Adam Schoenberg, composer

Mei-Ann, Chen, conductor




2020 Awardee





Jessica Meyer

 New York


The Ellis-Beauregard Foundation is pleased to announce Jessica Meyer is the recipient of its 2nd annual $20,000 Composer Award. With the Award, Meyer will create a new work to be performed in 2022 by the Bangor Symphony Orchestra. Meyer, of New York, was selected through a juried national competition and chosen from over 250 applicants.

Meyer states, “It is an honor to receive this award and have the opportunity to work with these communities in Maine. Two things that inspire me as an artist are becoming acquainted with a specific environment (especially one surrounded by nature) and connecting to the people who live there. I look forward to doing so over time, both while developing the piece and just before the premiere, and I am very thankful for such recognition at this particular moment in my career.”

The jury was comprised of 2020 Pulitzer Prize winner in music Anthony Davis, composer and chair of composition at Carnegie Mellon University Nancy Galbraith, and Paul Haas, music director of the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Davis says that “Jessica Meyer’s music has rhythmic vitality as well as a lush lyricism. She manages to balance both of these inclinations with dramatic and startling affect.” Jurors Nancy Galbraith and Paul Haas echo Davis’s enthusiasm, with Galbraith stating, “Meyer’s music is full of edgy and dynamic energy, with a textural palette rich with imaginative sounds.” Haas concludes, “This is exactly the kind of new infusion the classical world is clamoring for, and I’m excited to see what she comes up with for this important commission.”.

2020 Jurors

Augusta Read Thomas, composer

Paul Haas, conductor/composer

Anthony Davis, composer and 2020 Pulitzer Prize for Music recipient


2019 Awardee

Reinaldo Moya

Northfield, MN


The Ellis-Beauregard Foundation is pleased to award Reinaldo Moya its inaugural $20,000 Composer Award. With the Award, Moya will create a new work to be performed during the Bangor Symphony Orchestra’s 2020-2021 season, its 125th. He will participate in a week-long residency in Rockland and Bangor leading up to the premiere of the new work. Moya was selected through a juried national competition composed of distinguished professionals in the field: celebrated composers Nico Muhly and Gabriela Lena Frank and Grammy Award-winning conductor David Alan Miller. Moya was chosen from over 335 applicants.

Reinaldo Moya is a graduate of Venezuela’s El Sistema music education system. Through El Sistema, he had access to musical training from an early age and was a founding member of the Simón Bolívar Orchestra touring throughout Europe, North and South America. Moya is the Composer-in-Residence at the Schubert Club. He is the recipient of the 2015 McKnight Composers Fellowship, the Van Lier Fellowship from Meet the Composer, and the Aaron Copland Award from the Copland House. He graduated from The Juilliard School with both masters and doctorate degrees, under the tutelage of Samuel Adler and Robert Beaser. He received his Bachelors in Music degree from West Virginia University, where his principal teacher was John Beall.

Moya recently completed the opera Memory Boy, with a libretto by Mark Campbell, which was commissioned by the Minnesota Opera for its Project Opera and premiered in February 2016. Excerpts from his opera Generalissimo (about the life, death, and afterlife of a fictionalized Latin American dictator) have been performed in New York at Symphony Space and Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall. His orchestral piece Siempre Lunes, Siempre Marzo was performed by the New Jersey Symphony and The Juilliard Orchestra. In the fall of 2016, his Passacaglia for Orchestra was chosen by the audience and the musicians of the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra as the winner of the Earshot Composers Competition sponsored by the American Composers Orchestra.

His music has been performed in Germany, Colombia, Australia, Argentina, Venezuela, and throughout the United States by performers such as the Juilliard Orchestra, the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela, the Da Capo Chamber Players, the Attacca Quartet as well as musicians from the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Minnesota Orchestra, and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, among others. Mr. Moya has taught at St. Olaf College and Interlochen Arts Camp, and is currently an Assistant Professor of Composition at Augsburg University in Minneapolis.

2019 Jurors

Nico Muhly, Composer 

Gabriela Lena Frank, Composer in Residence, Philadelphia Orchestra

David Alan Miller, Conductor