Composers Institute

Rebecca Adams, Nolan Hildebrand, Thomas Joiner, Eliazer Kramer, Jessica MacIsaac, Liam Ritz, Darren Xu, Isaac Zee, Gregory Parth

WNMF Composers Institute

Jan 25 – 30, 2023

The Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra’s fifth annual WNMF Composers Institute will be held at the Manitoba Centennial Concert Hall during the Winnipeg New Music Festival, January 26 – February 3, 2023. The Composers Institute is 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 Showcase – Launchpad
  • Archival audio recording of their premiere
  • Work closely with mentor composers Kelly-Marie Murphy and Eliot Britton along with WSO Composer-in-Residence and WNMF Co-Curator Haralabos [Harry] Stafylakis
  • Attend all Winnipeg New Music Festival concerts
  • Attend rehearsals with WNMF guest artists and 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

The composers selected to have their pieces premiered at the 2023 Winnipeg New Music Festival and to participate in the 2023 WNMF Composers Institute and are:

Also participating in the 2023 Composers Institute are the winners of the CMC Prairie Region and Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra’s 2021 and 2022 Emerging Composer Competition. Learn more about the Canadian Music Centre Prairie Region Emerging Composers Competition ‎

The selection panel consisted of composers Jocelyn Morlock, Eliot Britton, and Haralabos [Harry] Stafylakis, and conductors Julian Pellicano and Naomi Woo.

Mentor composer Eliot Britton, Composer-in-Residence Haralabos [Harry] Stafylakis and mentor composer Kelly-Marie Murphy.
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.

Five emerging Canadian composers are selected annually 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, led by WSO’s Associate Conductor Julian Pellicano and RBC Assistant Conductor Naomi Woo, and with the guidance of mentor composers Kelly-Marie Murphy and Eliot Britton, and WNMF Co-curator and WSO composer-in-residence Haralabos [Harry] Stafylakis. In collaboration with the Canadian Music Centre, the winner of the annual 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. 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 2023 Composers Institute mentor composers, Kelly-Marie Murphy and Eliot Britton. Panels, workshops, lessons, and masterclasses will also feature several of WNMF’s guest composers visiting from throughout Canada and from abroad.



2024 Call for Applications

Deadline: Check back in spring 2023 for the 2024 call.

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 2018 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, 2019, 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 six 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 , including all materials and letter of recommendation. Selected composers will be notified by .

If Selected

  • Selected composers will be notified by .
  • Participants must attend the rehearsal and reading sessions and professional development workshops in Winnipeg, MB, which will take place as part of the WSO’s Winnipeg New Music Festival, Jan. 24 – 30, 2024.
  • Every successful applicant’s $1,500 participation fee will be waived, covered by the WSO Canadian Voice Fund.
  • Participants will be given an 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 .
    • Participants will receive feedback on their scores and parts from WNMFCI mentor composers and conductor by October 1, 2023.
    • Final submission: all materials (conductor’s score and complete set of parts) due .
  • 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. Before submitting your application, ensure you have all of the following materials:

  • In the Application Form you’ll be asked to provide a link to a folder (Dropbox or Google Drive) containing 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 by the application deadline.

Submit Your Application: Online application Note:

  • There is no application fee.
  • The application process must be completed by 11:59 pm CT, July 1, 2023Late submissions will not be considered.

The links to your supporting materials must remain active until the WNMFCI participants are announced. Email questions to:  Haralabos [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:

CMC Prairie Region Emerging Composer Competition

Composers who meet the eligibility guidelines are also welcome to apply separately to the Canadian Music Centre Emerging Composer Competition. Eligibility and guidelines can be found here.

WNMF Composers Institute History

For a full history of the WNMF Composers Institute, visit the WNMFCI page on the WSO website here.

WNMF Composers Institute History

2022 Composers Institute (postponed to 2023 due to COVID-19 Pandemic)

2021 Composers Institute (cancelled due to COVID-19 Pandemic)

2020 Composers Institute

WSO Composer-in-Residence & WNMF Festival Co-Curator Harry Stafylakis
Mentor Composers Sarah Kirkland Snider & Jared Miller
Guest Composers & Artists Michael Daugherty, Dinuk Wijeratne, Neil Weisensel, Daniel Raiskin, Julian Pellicano, Naomi Woo
CMC Prairie Region Composition Competition Winner Henry From (BC) – Isle of Pic
WNMF Composers Institute Participant Composers Matthew-John Knights (ON) –  Voice les larmes avec lesquelles je pleure pour toi; Liam Ross Gibson (BC) – Monstera Deliciosa; Mackenize Carroll (ON) – Blood Sky; Matthew Emery (ON) – Unanswered Letters; Julia Mermelstein (ON) – in turn; Simon Grégorcic (QC) – Two Collages: on the waves of Lake Ballaton


WSO Composer-in-Residence & WNMF Festival Co-Director Harry Stafylakis
Mentor Composers Jocelyn Morlock & Kelly-Marie Murphy
Guest Composers & Artists Pēteris Vasks, Vivian Fung, Eliot Britton, Daniel Raiskin, Julian Pellicano, Roomful of Teeth
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 Composers Octavio Vasquez, Neil Weisensel, T. Patrick Carrabré
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, Meredith Monk, Eliot Britton
CMC Prairie Region Composition Competition Winner Michael Ducharme (BC) – X-1
Participants 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