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Tom Davoren, doctoral candidate, wins major composition award from National Band Association

Tom Davoren

Doctoral candidate in wind conducting Tom Davoren has been announced as recipient of the 2020 Merrill Jones Award for Composition, presented by the National Band Association (NBA).  

"I’m surprised, delighted, and humbled to share that my work 'A Midwestern Suite’ has been selected as winner of the Merrill Jones Composition Award 2020, presented by the National Band Association,” Davoren commented. "This is a special piece to me, commissioned by a group of friends and colleagues to celebrate our love of — and connection to — the Midwest.

Founded in 1960, the NBA is the largest professional organization for bands in the world. The University of Kansas is proud to have a long association with the NBA, with Director of Bands Emeritus Robert E. Foster and former Director of Bands Kenneth Bloomquist both serving as presidents.  Additionally, the Merrill Jones Award was started in 1991 by Foster to support young composers writing for the wind band medium.

Announced last night at the NBA annual meeting, Tom’s new work "A Midwestern Suite" was given this honor. The work was described by the selection committee as, "the ideal honor band piece", "immaculately scored", and "rich in melody, reminiscent of the great Clare Grundman."

"To everyone involved with this piece, a huge thank you for bringing it to life.” Davoren said. “To the National Band Association I offer the biggest thank you! In the social media age it’s often difficult to be heard as a compositional voice, the work the NBA does to shine a light on composers through development projects, and the Revelli, Merrill Jones, and Alfred Young competitions, is so appreciated and of immense value to composers and conductors.”

The KU Wind Ensemble performance of "A Midwestern Suite”, recorded in the Robert E. Foster Rehearsal Room at the University of Kansas:


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Music students present hundreds of public concerts every year
Students perform in KU choirs, concert bands, pep bands, ensembles, symphony orchestra, and jazz combos
The school owns one of the greatest jazz record collections in the world
KU Wind Ensemble performed the world premiere of the symphony "In the Shadow of No Towers" at Carnegie Hall
One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
44 nationally ranked graduate programs.
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Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
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