Donald J. Young received his B.M. from the University of Wisconsin at Madison and his M.M. from Arizona State University at Tempe. He has studied composition with Donald Andrus, Mike Leckrone, Lawrence Hartzell, Ronald LoPresti, and August Wegner. Mr. Young's composition PATMOS for concert band won the 1975 CBDNA (College Band Directors National Association) Southwest Division composition contest. The performance was recorded and marketed by Crest Records. Many consider his composition KROYER VARIATIONS a part of the basic repertoire for clarinet choirs (see The Instrumentalist magazine article by Norman Heim, November, 1979). A short biography and list of his band compositions are published in Wolfgang Suppan's Das neue Lexikon des Blasmusikwesens. Freiburg Germany, 1988. His compositions have been published with G. Schirmer, Kendor Music, Manhattan Beach, Daehn Publications, Ludwig Masters, Cimarron Music, Brassworks4, Really Good Music, LLC, Northfield Press, Roncorp, Inc., David E. Smith Publications, and Grand Mesa Music Publishers. He has also received numerous commissions, most notably from the Minneapolis Civic Orchestra. His band composition CROWN OF LAUREL, published by Daehn Music Publishers, was performed at the 1990 Midwest Band Clinic in Chicago. A recording is available on compact disc from Mark Records. A commissioned composition from Doug Johnson and Curt Hanrahan (LEGACY) for alto sax and band, was performed by soloist Tedd Griepentrog and the U.S. Army Field Band of Washington D.C. during their 1991 fall performance tour which included a televised broadcast on a California cable TV network.
In the spring of 1991, Mr. Young was awarded a commission from the Racine Arts Council to compose a work for the Racine Municipal Band. The premier performance of MARTHA'S MUSICAL ADVENTURE for concert band and narrator took place on February 22, 1992 with the composer conducting. This work was published and in 1995 by Cimarron Music.
Mr. Young conducted his CROWN OF LAUREL at the 1993 Association of Concert Bands convention (April 16th) held in Naperville, Illinois. His composition APPASSIONATA for solo violin and piano was premiered by members of the Racine Symphony Orchestra on November 21, 1993. University of Wisconsin-Parkside faculty members premiered his Trio for Violin, Clarinet and Piano in February of 1994. Rejoice In The Lord! for SATB choir and piano was featured on a concert at UW-Oshkosh on October 18th, 1994 as part of the Wisconsin Alliance for Composers 1994 convention. The publication was released by Treble C Music in late September of 1994, in time for the UW-O performance. The UW-Milwaukee Eastside graduate brass quintet premiered Intermezzo for Brass Quintet at Greene Hall on Dec. 9, 1994. The piece is published by Grand Mesa Music Publishers, Grand Junction, Colorado. In 1999, he was commissioned by the Chippewa Valley Concert Band to write a piece in honor of Dr. Donald S. George, retired director of bands from UW-Eau Claire. This composition is published by Really Good Music LLC. His composition, Concerto for Piano and Strings, was premiered in the spring of 2002 and is published by Northfield Press. In 2002, Mr. Young was announced the winner of the Wisconsin Music Teaches Association commissioning contest. The resulting work, Four Faces of Valor for two violins, viola, and piano, was premiered October 18, 2003 at the WMTA state convention on the UWM campus. In 2014, he was one of 6 composers to win a monetary award to write a piano solo (Three Root River Scenes) which was recorded and released by Ravello Records. Digital downloads can be purchased from Amazon and Ravello.
Mr. Young has experience teaching instrumental music at the elementary, middle school, high school, and college level. He was nominated in 2006 to be included in Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers and also in 2007 for the Southeastern Wisconsin Educators’ Hall of Fame. He is currently retired Director of Bands and Chairman of the music department at William Horlick High School in Racine. He remains active as a guest composer and conductor throughout Wisconsin, most recently with the Carthage College Flute Choir (composer), Belle City Brassworks, and the Racine Concert Band, (guest conductor/composer) where his flute concerto EFFULGENCE was premiered. EFFULGENCE will soon be released by Cimarron Music Press with an optional piano accompaniment available as well as concert band accompaniment. In 2019, his composition A DIVINCI PORTRAIT was one of 7 entrees in the final round of judging (beating out over 40 others) for the international contest sponsored by the A4 Brass Quartet of England.