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19-20 Season Composer Fellow Application

Deadline: Monday, October 21, 2019 at 11:59pm EST
Notification by November 6, 2019

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The Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra, in collaboration with the Ontario Region of the Canadian Music Centre, announces its Composer Fellowship Program for the 19-20 Season. This program is funded by the RBC Foundation’s Emerging Artist Program. The HPO’s Composer Fellowship program is aimed at connecting early career composers with professionals in the orchestral world to nurture and develop new skills through mentorship and the creation of a new work.

Two Ontario-based composers will be chosen as the 2019-20 HPO Composer Fellows: one emerging composer 25 or under and one emerging composer over 26.

The Fellowship Experience
This tuition-free training opportunity will introduce composers to the various elements of the orchestral world. The chosen HPO Composer Fellows will participate in a number of mentorship activities, working with Music Director Gemma New, Composer-in-Residence Abigail Richardson-Schulte, HPO musicians and staff. Composers are expected to attend orchestra rehearsals, engage in pre-concert talks, and attend community and donor events as well as education programs for students and seniors.

In addition, the Composer Fellows will each write a 5-6 minute work to be premiered by the HPO. Composers will receive an archival recording. The Canadian Music Centre will highlight the Composer Fellow through the CMC website and other promotions.



  • Applicants who are 25 and under as of the deadline (October 21, 2019) are eligible for the under 25 category. Composers who are 26 and over as of the deadline are eligible for the 26 and over category.
  • It is highly encouraged that applicants are close enough to travel to Hamilton (by car or public transit) to take full advantage of the opportunity.
  • Please note this program is not intended for composers who have already had substantial orchestral experience or are only interested in a commission. This is a training program for emerging composers with assigned tasks, expectations and time commitment.


Composer under 25: The HPO will offer a $3000 honorarium in support of a new work and travel expenses. The chosen composer will write a 5-6 minute string orchestra piece to be premiered on the HPO’s concert Intimate and Immersive: Earthshine concert on March 26, 2020.

Composer 26 and over: The HPO will offer a $4000 honorarium in support of a new work and travel expenses. The chosen composer will write a 5-6 minute orchestral piece to be premiered on the HPO’s concert Intimate and Immersive: Dragon Unfolding on May 21, 2020.


Application Requirements:

  • Applicants under both Application form with brief Biography/C.V.
  • A short statement outlining your interest in and availability for the program
  • Two 2-minute excerpts with accompanying pdf scores
    • please include title pages and excerpted portion only. Where possible, provide samples that align with the instrumentation of the program: composers 25 and under please submit works including strings, composers over 25 please submit large ensemble/orchestra works. MIDI is only acceptable for one orchestra sample work if necessary.


Dates of Fellowship Activity
Due to the HPO concert schedule, the Composer Fellows should be available for most of the following dates (please comment in your application if unavailable) in addition to five flexible days TBD. These specific dates involve concert, rehearsal and event attendance as well as participation in community outreach. Aside from artistic mentorship, the position will also include content on orchestral protocols, library expectations, marketing, audience engagement and public speaking. There is flexibility in the program to accommodate skills and interests.



January 17-18 (January 14-15 if possible)
February 14-15
March 13-14
March 25-26
May 2
May 8-9
May 20-21


If you have questions, please email Christina Volpini at


Support for the HPO Composer Fellow Program provided by

The RBC Emerging Artists Project helps artists bridge the gap from emerging to established and supports organizations that provide the best opportunity to advance their career trajectory. The program supports arts organizations and artists in a range of genres including visual art, music, theatre, performance, literature and film.


Past Composer Fellowship Recipients


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