Kent State School of Music Announces Winner of the 2023 Roy Minoff Composition Competition 

Max Grafe, D.M.A.
Max Grafe, D.M.A.

Kent State University’s Glauser School of Music held the inaugural Roy Minoff Composition Competition in spring 2023 with judging completed in June. Max Grafe, D.M.A., of Lawrenceville, New Jersey, has been selected as the winner of the 2023 Roy Minoff Composition Competition. 

The goal of this competition is to support the creation of a significant new work that will receive its world premiere at Kent State by School of Music faculty in the fall of 2024. Grafe, the winning composer, will attend the world premiere of his new work and give a lecture on his music. 

"I'm incredibly grateful to Kent State University’s Glauser School of Music, Adam Roberts, and Roy Minoff for making this commission possible, and honored to have been selected to write the inaugural work by the judges' panel,” Grafe said. “It's quite uncommon for an opportunity to create such a substantial work to be so readily accessible to composers of all ages and economic backgrounds, and I hope this program continues to act as a model for the new music community as a whole. I'm very much looking forward to writing the piece this year and to working with the ensemble at KSU to bring it to life!" 

Minoff Composition Competition logo

The Roy Minoff Composition Competition is sponsored by Roy Minoff, a Cleveland-based philanthropist who attended Kent State and holds a passion for music and specifically composition. The commission award of $14,000 attracted significant international attention, which serves to elevate composition and the School of Music at Kent State. The competition was judged anonymously and had no age limit and no entry fee.

Applications were submitted from all around the world with a diversity of music represented. Kent State’s Adam Roberts, Ph.D., assistant professor of music composition/theory and co-director of the New Music Ensemble, and Mark Nowakowski, D.M.A., associate professor of music technology and music production, held the first round of judging, where they chose 20 semifinalists out of the 138 submitted applications. These 20 semifinalists went on to a second round of judging by guest judges, where five finalists and one winner were chosen. 

The five finalists are Yu-Hui Chang, Peter Gilbert, Andrew Greenwald, Charles Peck and Max Vinetz. 

Along with Roberts and Nowakoski from Kent State, the competition jury included distinguished composers from renowned institutions, including Lei Liang, Ph.D. (Chancellor’s Distinguished Professor of Music, University of California San Diego), Han Lash, Ph.D. (Associate Professor of Music Composition, Indiana University) and Keith Fitch, D.Mus. (Vincent K. and Edith H. Smith Chair in Composition, Cleveland Institute of Music). These stylistically different composers provided a range of perspectives for the competition. 

For more information about the Kent State School of Music’s Roy Minoff Composition Competition, visit

About Max Grafe 

Max Grafe writes music characterized by “jagged declamations and muffled filigree” (Gramophone) that engages with the dramatic, collaborative nature of performance in the context of a highly personal, distinctive approach to musical modernism. Grafe’s music has been commissioned and programmed by a wide range of ensembles, including the New York Philharmonic, the New York New Music Ensemble, Quince Ensemble, ensembleNEWSRQ and Duo Entre-Nous, and has been featured at numerous music festivals across the country, including the Tanglewood Music Center, the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival and RED NOTE New Music Festival. Current and upcoming projects include collaborations with Kahl & Nyce Duo, Hypercube and pianist Benjamin Hochman. Grafe is a founding member of New York-based composer collective ICEBERG New Music, which recently concluded its seventh annual season in collaboration with Decoda and improvisers Louis Kornfeld and Rick Andrews. Grafe’s music appears on commercial recordings by the New York Philharmonic, Quince Ensemble, Duo Entre-Nous, pianists Jenny Lin and Mika Sasaki, and harpist Emily Levin. 

Max has received several of the most prestigious awards available to emerging American composers, including a Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a William Schuman Prize from BMI, two consecutive Palmer Dixon Prizes from the Juilliard School and a Morton Gould Young Composer Award from ASCAP. 

Grafe is a member of the music faculties at Montclair State University and the Kaufman Music Center. He received a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Juilliard in 2018, a Master of Music degree from Juilliard in 2013 and a Bachelor of Music degree from the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University in 2011. Further studies have taken place at Mannes College of Music, the Freie Universität Berlin, the Aspen Music Festival and School and the Tanglewood Music Center. Max's music is available through the American Composers Alliance.

About Kent State University’s Glauser School of Music 

In the Glauser School of Music, faculty members train the next generation of music educators, scholars, performers and technology experts through 15 immersive undergraduate and graduate programs that ignite passion and stimulate curiosity. 

From Western classical and jazz to the many African and Asian traditions, the school’s nearly 30 ensembles annually welcome more than 500 music majors, nonmajors and community members to learn, celebrate and perform the diverse music the world has to offer. Every summer, the school hosts the Kent Blossom Music Festival in partnership with the Cleveland Orchestra to become a center of professional music training for over 40 highly skilled young artists from around the world. 

For more information about Kent State’s School of Music, visit 

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Media Contact:
Jen Crabtree,, 330-328-3346

POSTED: Monday, July 10, 2023 02:41 PM
Updated: Friday, December 1, 2023 12:54 PM
Jen Crabtree