In 2000 composer Justin Merritt (bn. 1975) was the youngest-ever winner of the ASCAP Foundation/Rudolph Nissim Award for Janus Mask. He is also the winner of a host of other awards including the 2008-09 Copland Award, the 2008 Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute Prize for River of Blood, and the 2006 Polyphonos Prize.
He received his Bachelors from Trinity University and his Masters and Doctorate from Indiana University. He studied composition with Samuel Adler, Sven-David Sandström, Claude Baker, Timothy Kramer, Don Freund, and electronic and computer music with Jeffrey Hass. He is currently Associate Professor of Composition at St. Olaf College. He resides in Northfield, Minnesota with his wife Yuedong and their children Cullen Fang Ouxiang and Molly Fang Qinghe.