St. Mary's University Music Department, Winona, Minnesota

Kaplan Commissioning Project
Saint Mary’s University Concert Band

On Saturday, September 28th 2013, the SMU Concert Band will premiere the most recent Kaplan Commission composition. Katanya is written for concert band and narrator and tells an old Turkish Jewish folktale quite similar to Thumbalina through words and music.

Composer Larry Bitensky ( will be in residency at Saint Mary's starting Wednesday 9/25/13 and will narrate the story at the premiere performance.  The concert is at 2 PM on the Page Theatre stage in the Performing Arts Center as is part of the annual Family Weekend celebration.  A reception will be held in the Ben Miller Lobby directly after the performance to honor the composer. For additional information please contact band director Dr. Janet Heukeshoven,

The Saint Mary's University Concert Band (Winona, MN) sponsors a $5,000 commission made possible by the Helen and Sam Kaplan Charitable Foundation Trust Fund. The funds originally awarded to Saint Mary's University are designed to "…enlarge exposure for the particular talents, skills, expertise and scholarship of recognized Jewish and Israeli intellectuals, leaders, musicians, performing artists and academicians through it's scholar-in-residence program."
In the spirit of the grant, the SMU Concert Band has commissioned a series of band and wind ensemble compositions based on traditional Jewish melodic materials from either religious or folk sources. The commission requires the composer selected for the project must be of Jewish descent and be able to work well with students in an educational setting. Experience with the concert band genre is preferred. The composer will be expected to communicate with the band as the work is being written, and will present a lecture/seminar in conjunction with the premier performance. A travel stipend will be arranged with the composer selected for the project, and other additional involvement (such as conducting the premiere) will be agreed upon by the composer and the SMU Concert Band director.

The next Helen and Sam Kaplan Foundation Commission for a new Concert Band composition written by a composer of Jewish heritage is outlined below. Applications Spring 2015 will mark the eighth Kaplan Commission premiere.

The work will be scored for standard concert band instrumentation, appropriate difficulty level for advanced high school bands and collegiate ensembles. (A “grade 4” level of difficulty by current educational standards.) The orchestration of the 2012 project may be extended to include solo voice or voices.

The composition is expected to be approximately 5 minutes in length.

The composition will be based on Jewish melodic material, either folk or religious sources.

$5,000.00 plus travel/expense allowance for a campus visit at the premier of the composition.

The selected composer will interact with SMU band students regarding the composition. He/she will also be requested to attend the premier and present a lecture/seminar on the commissioned work and music composition in general.
Past commissioned composers have spent an average of 4 days in residency surrounding the premiere.

The composer will provide SMU a full score and one set of parts. Additional duplication of parts as needed for the ensemble will be the responsibility of the university.

The composer retains all copyrights and will acknowledge SMU’s role in the commission of the composition upon future publication and/or distribution.

The SMU Concert Band will present the premier performance at a mutually agreed upon concert date during the 2012-2013 academic year. The composer will have the opportunity to conduct the premier performance if she/he chooses to do so.


Interested Jewish composers should send a letter of introduction, resume, scores and recordings of three representative compositions either electronically (pdf score files, mp3 recordings, etc.) or traditional hard copies.  If you wish to have your hard copy materials returned send a SASE for return of scores and recordings.

Application deadline for the next Kaplan Band Commission is April 1st, 2013. 

Dr. Janet Heukeshoven
Kaplan Commission Project Chair

Saint Mary's University Music Department
700 Terrace Heights #58
Winona, MN 55987-1399

Electronic Submission:

Scores submitted for consideration need not be band compositions, but should demonstrate wind and percussion writing. Composers who have applied for the Kaplan/SMU Commission in the past and have not been awarded the commission are encouraged to re-apply.

Application materials (unless hard copy sent with a SASE) will be kept as part of the growing Kaplan Commission Project archives for study by SMU music majors.