Composers Institute

Due to factors beyond our control, the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra’s annual WNMF Composers Institute as part of the Winnipeg New Music Festival will be on hiatus for the 2024–2025 season. Future updates about the WNMF Composers Institute will be posted here and at

2024 Institute Composers Judah Williams, Lauren Greenberg, Robert Humber, Tom Lachance, Yejin Kwon, Willyn Whiting

WNMF Composers Institute

The Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra’s annual WNMF Composers Institute is held at the Manitoba Centennial Concert Hall during the Winnipeg New Music Festival. The Composers Institute is an intense and prestigious experience for five 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 and WSO Composer-in-Residence and WNMF Co-Curator Haralabos [Harry] Stafylakis
  • Attend Winnipeg New Music Festival concerts
  • Attend rehearsals with WNMF guest artists and composers
  • Six days of professional development workshops, panel discussions, lessons, and masterclasses
  • $1,500 participation fee waived (funded in 2024 by the WSO Canadian Voice Fund, the Manitoba Arts Council, and the Williamson Foundation for Music)
  • Honorarium to assist with travel and accommodations to Winnipeg, Manitoba

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.

Emerging Canadian composers are selected annually to participate in the WNMF Composers Institute. These composers from across the nation have their orchestral works premiered by the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra as part of WNMF, led by WSO’s conductors, and with the guidance of mentor composers 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 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 Haralabos Stafylakis and the Composers Institute mentor composers. Panels, workshops, lessons, and masterclasses will also feature several of WNMF’s guest composers visiting from throughout Canada and from abroad.

Banner Photo Collage of WNMF Composers Institute Faculty
2024 Institute Faculty Eugene Astapov, Amy Brandon, Haralabos Stafylakis


2024 Funders:


Call for Applications

Deadline: None – program currently on hiatus

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 2022 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, 2022, 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 submitted score and of the recording/mock-up are 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 20-30 minutes of rehearsal for 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

None – program currently on hiatus.

If Selected

  • Selected composers will be notified by 
  • Participants must attend the rehearsals, concert, and professional development workshops held in Winnipeg, MB, in late January, 2025 as part of the WSO’s Winnipeg New Music Festival. Optionally, participants are also welcome to stay for the remainder of the WNMF, which concludes early Feb.
  • Every successful applicant’s $1,500 participation fee will be waived.
  • 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).
  • Participants must also work within provided deadlines to revise scores and parts.
  • 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:

  • All submissions must be anonymous, with any reference to the identity of the composer redacted from both the score file and the audio file. No pseudonym is required or expected; the submitted works will be identified by title only.
  • In the online application form you’ll be asked to provide a link to a folder (Dropbox or Google Drive) containing downloadable files (PDFs and MP3s only) of your supporting materials, including:
    • A PDF score of the orchestral work; use the naming format PieceTitle-score.pdf
    • An MP3 recording (highly recommended; MIDI realization acceptable); use the naming format PieceTitle-audio.mp3 (submissions that do not match these naming conventions will NOT be accepted).
  • In addition to the anonymous score & audio file, the following support materials are required (these are not anonymous, and will not be visible to the adjudication panel):
    • 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



  • There is no application fee.
  • Late 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

This is a separate competition, open to composers associated with the Canadian Music Centre Prairie Region, with its own application and adjudication process. Click here for more information.

WNMF Composers Institute History

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

2024 Composers Institute

WSO Composer-in-Residence & WNMF Co-Curator Haralabos [Harry] Stafylakis
Mentor Composers Eugene Astapov & Amy Brandon
Conductors Julian Pellicano, Monica Chen, Serena Reuten
CMC Prairie Region Composition Competition Winner Robert Humber – Warmth Comes (world premiere)
WNMF Composers Institute Participant Composers Lauren Greenberg  – Bonds of Cosmic Origins (Canadian premiere); Willyn Whiting – Framework (world premiere); Tom Lachance – Blizzard Sylvestre (world premiere); Yejin Kwon  – White Clad (world premiere); Judah Williams  – Cosmic Abyss (world premiere)


2023 Composers Institute

WSO Composer-in-Residence & WNMF Festival Co-Curator Haralabos Stafylakis
Mentor Composers Kelly-Marie Murphy & Eliot Britton
CMC Prairie Region Composition Competition Winners: Gregory Parth – Teutoberg (2023 Winner); Thomas Joiner – Dawn (2022 Winner); Isaac Zee – Day of Judgement (2021 Winner)
WNMF Composers Institute Participant Composers: Rebecca Adams – Lion’s Den; Nolan Hildebrand – ArtDiesSoundsRepeat; Eliazer Kramer – Fantasy for Orchestra; Jessica MacIsaac – Thirteen; Liam Ritz – Kaleidoscope; Darren Xu – To Liberate

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