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Composers Institute

WNMF Composers Institute

The Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra’s fifth annual WNMF Composers Institute will be held at the Manitoba Centennial Concert Hall Jan. 25–30, 2023 as part of the Winnipeg New Music Festival.

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

  • World premiere of their orchestral composition performed by the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra
  • 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 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 by the WSO Canadian Voice Fund)
  • Honorarium to assist with travel and accommodations to Winnipeg, Manitoba

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


2023 Participants

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

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, 2022, and 2023 Emerging Composer Competition:

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

About the Composers Institute

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 Haralabos [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 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, 2023 at 11:59 pm (CT), including all materials and letter of recommendation.


If Selected

  • Selected composers will be notified by August 15, 2023.
  • Participants must attend the rehearsal, concert, and professional development workshops in Winnipeg, MB, January 24 – 30, 2024 as part of the WSO’s Winnipeg New Music Festival,
  • 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 September 1, 2023.
    • 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 November 15, 2023.
  • 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

Click here for more information.