@Le Woltaire: I'm afraid I haven't studied composition formally beyond (endless) Bach harmonization and some basic music analysis (Liszt b minor piano sonata, Debussy repertoire, etc.) -- and unfortunately it shows.
However, I've played in lots of orchestras of various different calibres. Also, I've informally studied orchestration on my own, and I listen to and informally analyze lots of music. I do love both Stravinsky and J.S. Bach, which also shows in my music (hopefully for the good) -- I enjoy imitating the wonderful harmony and rhythm of the former, and incorporating little Baroque pastiches, fugatos and so forth from the latter. But I feel embarrassed to post any of my music after actually listening to anything by pretty much any real composer. We need more of Nikolas on here!
By the way, as far as I know, none of my music actually quotes any other composer's music (i.e. it is all original). This month's was very similar to John Williams' style, since I was aiming for the "epic film score" feel. But in my opinion, last month's was quite different than Prokofiev or Stravinsky -- OK, maybe some Stravinsky influence in the Allegro section. Regardless, I certainly agree that I am heavily influenced by other, better composers.
I would love to actually take some composition courses (there's a pretty decent conservatory where I live), but sadly it's expensive and time-consuming. Perhaps when my son is older I'll become another Janacek or Charbrier and start composing in earnest in my forties!
@Gilbet V7000a: Woohoo, thanks!
@Questionable: That's right, I forgot, we live in the same town, don't we?
Hmmm, I'll have to think of an idea for a new contest. Unfortunately I'll be out of town Easter weekend, but perhaps I can judge the following Tuesday. I'll post something tomorrow evening.