Music Education student wins national composition contest

Dakota Pederson, a senior Music Education major from Cedar Lake, Indiana, is gaining accolades as a composer.

On Oct. 11, Pederson won this year’s Phi Beta Mu Claude T. Smith Composition Contest for Young Musicians for his piece, Armory. He won a $5,000 cash prize and has been invited to a luncheon hosted by Phi Beta Mu – Lambda Chapter in Missouri in January to celebrate the award.

Armory will premiere at the joint concert of the ISU Wind Orchestra and Wind Symphony at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 18 at Tilson Auditorium. Pederson says Armory will also be performed by the St. Louis Wind Symphony during one of its upcoming concerts this season and the University City Summer Band during the summer.

Pederson started composing in middle school. “By my 8th-grade year, my band director chose to perform a piece I had composed,” he said. “This performance and premiere solidified my decision to continue to pursue composition.”

“As a sophomore in high school, I won another composition contest and published my first piece of music. This early success led to me strengthening my skills and winning more competitions. To date I’ve had five world premiers, two published compositions, and have won four composition contests.”

Last year, Pederson won the 2020-21 Association of Concert Bands Young Composers Composition Contest in partnership with the John Philip Sousa Foundation for his work, Ambush.

The piece premiered during the Indiana State Wind Orchestra concert in February and will be performed by the convention band — conducted by Captain Christina Muncey of the U.S. Air Force Band —  at the 2022 Association of Concert Bands Convention in Santa Fe, New Mexico. It will be published by Alfred Music for its 2022 band catalog.

Pederson’s work is currently published and sold by Grand Mesa Music.