2020 WNMF Composers Institute

Jan. 25–31, 2020

Winnipeg New Music Festival
Manitoba Centennial Concert Hall

The Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra announces the fourth annual WNMF Composers Institute to be held during the Winnipeg New Music Festival, Jan. 25–31, 2020.

An intense and prestigious experience for six Canadian emerging composers including:

  • World premiere of their orchestral composition performed by the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra at WNMF
  • Archival audio recording of their premiere
  • Work closely with mentor composers Sarah Kirkland Snider, Jared Miller, and Harry Stafylakis
  • Attend all Winnipeg New Music Festival concerts
  • Attend rehearsals with WNMF artists, guest composers and distinguished guest composer Michael Daugherty
  • Seven days of professional development workshops, panel discussions, lessons, and masterclasses
  • $1,500 participation fee waived (funded by the WSO Canadian Voice Fund)
  • Honorarium to assist with travel and accommodations to Winnipeg, Manitoba for the week of January 25–31, 2020

Call for Applications

Submission deadline: June 15, 2019 at 11:59 pm (CT)

Writing for orchestra is one of the great accomplishments of a composer’s creative life. There are, however, few opportunities for Canadians in the early stages of their careers to engage with the medium in a practical, hands-on environment. The symphony orchestra presents many challenges, including effectively balancing the orchestra’s many instruments and communicating clearly with the conductor, musicians, and audience.

The WNMF Composers Institute provides a unique professional training opportunity for young composers, who will be immersed in the orchestral world through mentorship by some of Canada’s leading orchestral composers and through close integration with the renowned Winnipeg New Music Festival.

In its fourth year, six emerging Canadian composers will be selected to participate in the WNMF Composers Institute. These six composers from across the nation will have their orchestral works premiered by the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra as part of WNMF 2020, led by WSO’s resident conductor Julian Pellicano, and with the guidance of this year’s mentor composers, Sarah Kirkland Snider, Jared Miller, and Harry Stafylakis.

In collaboration with the Canadian Music Centre, the winner of the CMC Prairie Region Emerging Composer Competition will also participate in the WNMF Composers Institute and will have their work performed by the WSO at WNMF 2020. Click here for more information on the CMC Prairie Region Emerging Composer Competition.

The participants will experience the week-long Winnipeg New Music Festival from behind the scenes, attending rehearsals and concerts. A comprehensive series of professional development workshops will be held throughout the festival led by WSO’s Composer-in-Residence Harry Stafylakis and the Composers Institute mentor composers.Panels, workshops, lessons, and masterclasses will also feature several of WNMF 2020’s guest composers visiting from throughout Canada and from abroad including distinguished guest composers Michael Daugherty.

Eligibility & Guidelines

  • Applicants must be Canadian citizens or permanent residents currently enrolled in a university degree program in music composition. Applicants who completed their degree in the 2018–19 or 2019–20 seasons are also eligible.
  • There are no age restrictions; however, applicants should be composers at the early stages of their professional careers.
  • Each composer may submit only one composition for consideration.
  • Past Composers Institute participants are not eligible.
  • Only works that will not have been officially premiered prior to the WSO world premiere date are eligible. Works that have been read in an academic or workshop context are eligible, provided they’ve had no more than one reading by a professional orchestra.
  • A recording is not required but highly recommended. Computer mock-ups are acceptable.
  • Only works completed after January 1, 2016, will be considered.
  • Works requiring soloists or employing electronics, MIDI, digital technology, and/or sound reinforcement in combination with the above instrumental forces will not be considered.
  • The quality of the score submitted is the primary evaluation criterion. It is therefore in the applicant’s best interest that the score be clear, accurate, and the best representation of the composer’s work. The additional background information is for eligibility and documentation purposes, these materials are not considered in the general review of scores.
  • Applications that are incomplete, illegible, late, or that do not meet the above criteria will not be considered.


Instrumentation cannot exceed: winds at *2,*2,*2,2; brass at 4,3,3,1; timpani plus 2 percussion; harp; and strings (12, 11, 8, 7, 6). *Available doublings are: Flute 2/Piccolo, Oboe 2/English Horn, and Clarinet 2/Bass Clarinet. Works with instrumentation that exceed the above will not be considered; they may, however, be re-orchestrated to conform to this instrumentation.

N.B.: There will be one 20-30 minute rehearsal of each selected work before the concert. The suitability of entries for performance with this amount of rehearsal will be a factor in the jury’s deliberations.


MAXIMUM of 6-minutes. Excerpts or single movements from multi-movement works will be accepted, if they are presented with coherent beginnings and endings.

Application Deadline
Submissions must be completed no later than June 15, 2019 at 11:59 pm (CT), including all materials and letter of recommendation. Selected composers will be notified by August 15, 2019.

If Selected

  • Selected composers will be notified by August 15, 2019.
  • Participants must attend the rehearsal & reading sessions and professional development workshops in Winnipeg, MB, which will take place as part of the WSO’s Winnipeg New Music Festival, Jan. 25–31, 2020.
  • Every successful applicant’s $1,500 participation fee will be waived, covered by the WSO Canadian Voice Fund.
  • Participants will be given a small honorarium to assist with their travel and accommodations to/from Winnipeg. Any additional expenses incurred are solely the responsibility of the participants.
  • Participants must provide professional, legible orchestral parts and scores in PDF format, prepared according to guidelines established by the Major Orchestral Librarians Association (MOLA).
    • First deadline: conductor’s score and sample parts due September 1, 2019.
    • Participants will receive feedback on their scores and parts from WNMFCI mentor composers and conductor by October 1, 2019.
    • Final submission of all materials (conductor’s score and complete set of parts) due November 15, 2019.
  • Selected composers agree to: submit photos and sound clips for web use and a short biography for media purposes; to participate in blogging and social media to be videotaped/recorded for archival and promotional purposes; and to have their music recorded for archival and study purposes.

How to Apply

Review the submission guidelines above. Submit all of the following materials:

  • The completed Application Form, linked here
  • In the Application Form you’ll be asked to provide links to downloadable files (PDFs and MP3s) of your supporting materials, including:
    • A PDF score of the orchestral work; use the naming format LASTNAME-PieceTitle.pdf
    • An MP3 recording (highly recommended; MIDI realization acceptable); use the naming format LASTNAME-PieceTitle.mp3 (submissions that do not match these naming conventions will NOT be accepted).
    • A current artist resume, in PDF format, including educational background, major teachers, awards, and professional affiliations; LASTNAME-Resume.pdf
    • A list of works, in PDF format, including title, year composed, instrumentation, duration, and performance history; LASTNAME-Works.pdf
  • One letter of recommendation from an established composer or other music professional, attesting to the applicant’s accomplishments and potential as an orchestral composer. The recommendation must be on institutional letterhead and must include a signature. The recommender can email the letter directly to wnmfci@wso.mb.ca by the application deadline.
  • There is no application fee.
  • The application process must be completed by 11:59 pm CT, June 15, 2019Late submissions will not be considered.

The links to your supporting materials must remain active until the WNMFCI participants are announced.


Email submissions to: 

Email questions to: 
Harry Stafylakis
Composer-in-Residence, Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra
Co-Curator, Winnipeg New Music Festival

For more information about the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra and the Winnipeg New Music Festival, visit:
wnmf.ca  (full 2020 festival info will be launched in October, 2019)


WNMF Composers Institute History

For more information on the 2019 Compsers Institute, visit the WNMF website

WSO Composer-in-Residence & WNMF Festival Co-Director
Harry Stafylakis
Mentor Composers
Jocelyn Morlock & Kelly-Marie Murphy
Guest Composers
Pēteris Vasks, Vivian Fung & Eliot Britton
CMC Prairie Region Composition Competition Winner
Scott Ross-Molyneux (AB) – Ehrykaviss
WNMF Composers Institute Participant Composers
Adam Hakooz (ON) – Flux
Kirsten Ewart (BC) – Cueva de Villa Luz
Noora Nakhaei (ON) – Garden of Earthly Delights
Curtis Wright (ON) – Thuban & Eltanin
Amy Brandon (NS) – 3 Portraits
Tyler Versluis (ON) – Tragic Overture, “Phaeton” 

WSO Composer-in-Residence & WNMF Festival Co-Director
Harry Stafylakis
Mentor Composers
Sammy Moussa & Karen Sunabacka
Guest Composer
Octavio Vasquez
CMC Prairie Region Composition Competition Winner
Luis Ramirez (MB) – Chido
WNMF Composers Institute Participant Composers
Chia-Lin Kuo (BC) – Urban Suite II: Loneliness
Steven Webb (MB) – Monuments
Austin Leung (ON) – Prelude
Roydon Tse (ON) – Black Waltz
Leslie Opatril (BC) – Whisky Jack
Kristen Wachniak (MB) – Disjunction

WSO Composer-in-Residence
Harry Stafylakis
Mentor Composers
Karen Sunabacka, Gordon Fitzell, Neil Weisensel, T. Patrick Carrabré, Örjan Sandred
Guest Composers
Fjóla Evans, Cassandra Miller, Christos Hatzis, Dinuk Wijeratne
CMC Prairie Region Composition Competition Winner
Michael Ducharme (BC) – X-1
Harley Dyck (MB) – To Charge the Spear
Mark Holmes à Court (MB) – The Swimmer’s Moment
Mark Marinic (MB) – Winter’s Heart
Luis Ramirez (MB) – Chido
Morgan Thickson (MB) – Daughter’s Dance
Tristan Zaba (MB) – Paraworlds II

Funded By:
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