2016 ASCAP/CBDNA Frederick Fennell Prize Winner Announced

December 21, 2016

Nathan Stang Wins $5000 Frederick Fennell Prize in

Competition for Young Composers of Concert Band Music

Nathan Stang

NEW YORK, Dec. 20, 2016: Cia Toscanini, Vice President of Concert Music of ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers) and Patrick Dunnigan, President of CBDNA (College Band Directors National Association), today jointly announced the eighth bi-annual ASCAP/CBDNA Frederick Fennell Prize winner.

The $5,000 Prize for a wind ensemble work has been awarded to Nathan Stang, age 26, for “Undertow.” The award-winning work will be performed by a prominent ensemble in 2017 and circulated to ensembles performing at the national and regional CBDNA conferences, and during the CBDNA Forum at the Mid-West Clinic.

The competition, named for Frederick Fennell, ASCAP member and past President of CBDNA, was established to encourage gifted American composers who create new works for Concert Band. The winning work was selected via a juried national competition, which attracted submissions from eligible composers between the ages of 18 and 30 from across the United States.

Patrick Dunnigan said, "The Frederick Fennell Prize highlights talented young composers and promotes the creation of new repertory for wind band. CBDNA partners with ASCAP in celebration of Frederick Fennell’s legacy."

Cia Toscanini said, “We are proud to honor Frederick Fennell’s memory by continuing to foster an excellent repertory for concert bands and wind ensembles.”

Nathan Stang is a composer, teacher, and organist currently pursuing a Doctor of Music degree at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music in Bloomington, IN.  He finds inspiration for his music in visual art and film, but counts the sounds, tunes, and rhythms of video game soundtracks among his principal influences. Much of his music is marked by lightness and humor, and, because he prefers to compose in short-form, his output contains many suites and multi-movement works.

Stang has received much recognition for his work as a composer, including an award from the Rochester Society of Chamber Music for his brass quintet Moments Musicaux, and, most recently, the Howard Hanson Prize for his Undertow for wind orchestra. Additional recognition came with a grant from Stetson University for the composition of his Missa Brevis, as well as a scholarship for continued study from the Presser Foundation. Stang, a native of central Florida, holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Theory and Composition from Stetson University, and a Master of Music degree in Composition from the Eastman School of Music.

His future projects include plans to adapt Sherwood Anderson’s short story Death in the Woods for male voice and chamber ensemble.  More information on Nathan Stang is available at http://www.nathanstangmusic.com/.

In addition, the ASCAP/CBDNA Frederick Fennell prize jury selected Matthew Browne’s 6-minute work for wind ensemble “Kill Screen” and Ryan Lindveit’s “Spinning Yarns” 11-minute work for wind ensemble for Special Distinction.  Their scores will be circulated to ensembles performing at the national and regional CBDNA conferences, and during the CBDNA Forum at the Mid-West Clinic.

The jurors for the 2016 competition were: ASCAP composer Paul Desenne; conductor Charles Peltz (The New England Conservatory); and conductor Kraig Williams (Rutgers University).


College Band Directors National Association (CBDNA) members are devoted to the study, teaching, and performance of music, with a particular focus on music created for the numerous kinds of wind bands found throughout today's musical landscape. www.cbdna.org


The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) is a professional membership organization of songwriters, composers and music publishers of every kind of music. ASCAP’s mission is to license and promote the music of its members and foreign affiliates, obtain fair compensation for the public performance of their works and to distribute the royalties that it collects based upon those performances. ASCAP members write the world’s best-loved music and ASCAP has pioneered the efficient licensing of that music to hundreds of thousands of enterprises who use it to add value to their business – from bars, restaurants and retail, to radio, TV and cable, to Internet, mobile services and more. The ASCAP license offers an efficient solution for businesses to legally perform ASCAP music while respecting the right of songwriters and composers to be paid fairly. With 600,000 members representing more than 9 million copyrighted works, ASCAP is the worldwide leader in performance royalties, service and advocacy for songwriters and composers, and the only American performing rights organization (PRO) owned and governed by its writer and publisher members.  Learn more and stay in touch at www.ascap.com, on Twitter@ASCAP and on Facebook.


UNDERTOW (2012) by Nathan Stang

Duration: 14’


~ Instrumentation ~



2 Flutes

2 Oboes

English Horn

2 Bb Clarinets

Bb Bass Clarinet

2 Bassoons




4 F Horns

3 C Trumpets

3 Trombones (III - Bass)




3 Percussionists

(+1 keyboardist if Perc. I prefers not to take the brief Celesta part.)





Snare Drum

4 Tomtoms

Lg. Sus. Cym.

Med. and Lg. Tamtams




3 Woodblocks

Bass Drum

Sizzle Cymbal

Crash Cymbal








Ocean Drum

Sm/ Med/Lg. Sus.Cyms.



Program Note:

Undertow is a work for wind ensemble cast in three continuous movements. As the title suggests, the work is largely inspired by oceanic imagery, though there is no specific narrative. French composer Claude Debussy’s orchestra work La Mer was an early source of inspiration in the composition of Undertow. But where Debussy’s work muses over the beauty and poetry of the sea, this piece is bewitched by the frightening power and capricious character of the ocean.

The movement titles (The Shallows, Deep-sea Trench, and Waterspout) are not necessarily part of a program, but are intended to reflect a progression in which one begins at the surface, is sucked down to the depths, and then sent high into the air. 

The first movement begins calmly, with a placid texture punctuated by murmurings in the low woodwinds. It is not long before these fleeting gestures become more threatening and overtake a melody exposed in the English horn. The opening material then returns before transitioning seamlessly into the second movement, in which clouds of quiet, dense activity obscure a warped version of melodic ideas previously heard. The transition into the third and final movement is swift and reckless. This character is maintained throughout and sees the development and exhaustion of many motives from the first two movements, including the murmuring gestures from the opening, which have now grown and expanded considerably.




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