WNMF Composers Institute

Jan. 22–28, 2022

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, Jan. 22–28, 2022. An intense and prestigious experience for six 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

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

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 (2021 Winner)
  • Thomas Joiner – Dawn (2022 Winner)

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

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 wnmfci@wso.mb.ca 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, 2021Late submissions will not be considered.

The links to your supporting materials must remain active until the WNMFCI participants are announced. Email questions to:  Harry Stafylakis Composer-in-Residence, Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra Co-Curator, Winnipeg New Music Festival harry@wso.mb.ca For more information about the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra and the Winnipeg New Music Festival, visit: wso.ca wnmf.ca   2022 CMC Prairie Region Emerging Composer Competition Composers who meet the eligibility guidelines are also welcome to apply separately to the 2022 Canadian Music Centre Emerging Composer Competition. Eligibility and guidelines can be found here.  

WNMF Composers Institute History

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