Composers Institute

Eliot Britton, Harry Stafylakis, Jocelyn Morlock

The Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra’s fifth annual WNMF Composers Institute will be held at the Manitoba Centennial Concert Hall during the 30th Anniversary Winnipeg New Music Festival, Jan. 22–28, 2022.

About the Composers Institute:


An intense and prestigious experience for Canadian emerging composers including:

  • World premiere of their orchestral composition performed by the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra at WNMF4: New Canadian Voices
  • Archival audio recording of their premiere
  • Work closely with mentor composers Jocelyn Morlock & Eliot Britton along with WSO Composer-in-Residence & WNMF Co-Curator Harry Stafylakis
  • Attend all Winnipeg New Music Festival concerts
  • Attend rehearsals with WNMF guest artists & composers
  • 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 22–28, 2022

2022 Participants

The composers selected to participate in the 2022 WNMF Composers Institute and to have their pieces premiered at the 2022 Winnipeg New Music Festival are:

Also participating in the Composers Institute this year are the winners of the CMC Prairie Region and Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra’s 2021 and 2022 Emerging Composer Competition:

  • Isaac Zee – Day of Judgement
  • Thomas Joiner – Dawn

The selection panel consisting of this year’s mentor composers Jocelyn Morlock, Eliot Britton, and Harry Stafylakis, and conductors Julian Pellicano and Naomi Woo.

2023 Call for Applications

Deadline: The 2022 submission deadline has passed. Please check back in fall 2021 for the 2023 call for applications.

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 fifth year, five emerging Canadian composers will be selected to participate in the WNMF Composers Institute. These composers from across the nation will have their orchestral works premiered by the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra as part of WNMF 2022, led by WSO’s Associate Conductor Julian Pellicano and RBC Assistant Conductor Naomi Woo, and with the guidance of mentor composers Jocelyn Morlock and Eliot Britton, and WNMF Co-curator and WSO Composer-in-Residence Harry Stafylakis.

In collaboration with the Canadian Music Centre, the winners of the 2021 and 2022 CMC Prairie Region Emerging Composer Competitions will also participate in the WNMF Composers Institute and will have their work performed by the WSO at WNMF 2022. 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, Jocelyn Morlock & Eliot Britton. Panels, workshops, lessons, and masterclasses will also feature several of WNMF 2022’s guest composers visiting from throughout Canada and from abroad.

Eligibility & Guidelines

  • Applicants must be Canadian citizens or permanent residents who are either (a) currently enrolled in a university degree program in music composition or (b) who completed their most recent academic program in 2016 or later.
  • 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, 2017, 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 should not 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 and Oboe 2/English Horn.
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 July 1, 2021 at 11:59 pm (CT), including all materials and letter of recommendation. Selected composers will be notified by August 15, 2021.

If Selected

  • Selected composers will be notified by August 15, 2021.
  • 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. 22-28, 2022.
  • 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, 2021.
    • Participants will receive feedback on their scores and parts from WNMFCI mentor composers and conductor by October 1, 2021.
    • Final submission: all materials (conductor’s score and complete set of parts) due November 15, 2021.
  • 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

Click here to go to the Composers Institute page on the WSO website where an online application form is available.