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Announcement: 20-21 HPO Composer Fellowship Program

Deadline: October 30 at 11:59pm EDT

Apply Now 

Notification by November 23rd, 2020


The Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra, in collaboration with the Ontario Region of the Canadian Music Centre, announces its Composer Fellowship Program for the 20-21 season. 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 20-21 HPO Composer Fellows: one emerging composer age 25 or under and one emerging composer 26 or over. These age limits create a protected opportunity for younger composers while also acknowledging that emerging composers can be of any age.  

This tuition-free training opportunity will immerse composers in 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 as well as engage in pre-concert talks, community and donor events as well as education for students and seniors. The 20-21 season is virtual with concerts and outreach events recorded for broadcast.  

In addition, the Composer Fellow will write a 5-6 minute orchestral work  to be premiered by the HPO and provided with an archival recording/video. 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. 



  • This program is not intended for composers who have substantial orchestral experience or those interested solely in a commission. This is a training program for emerging composers on the edge of a professional career who seek real world advice and experiences. There will be assigned tasks, expectations and time commitment. 
  • Accommodations and adjustments to expectations can be made as a result of evolving public health requirements and risk-mitigating strategies. 


Composers 25 and under: 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 orchestral piece to be premiered on the HPO’s mainstage concert, Postcards from Buenos Aires on April 17, 2021.  

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 mainstage concert, Mozart & Strauss on May 29, 2021.  



  • Completed application form with brief Biography/CV (PDF, 2 pages max)
  • Two 2-minute excerpts (link to streaming audio, PDF score attachments with title pages and excerpted portions only). 
    • Please try to match chosen excerpts to the project: composers 25 and under please submit at least one large ensemble work or orchestral work, composers 26 and over please submit at least one orchestral work.
    • MIDI is only acceptable for one orchestra work if necessary.
  • A short written statement outlining your interests in the program, and the ideas you would like to explore in a new piece for this program. Please consider the program of the appropriate concert.  


Due to the HPO concert schedule, the Composer Fellows should be available for most of the following dates (please comment 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, music direction for video, marketing, audience engagement and public speaking. There is flexibility in the program to accommodate skills and interests.  The Canadian Music Centre will highlight the Composer Fellow through the CMC website.

The HPO acknowledges our role in the development of future generations of orchestral musicians, conductors and composers and we will help address inequalities of access to training and development opportunities.

Composers and artists who identify with communities which have been marginalized within orchestra music education and the wider industry are invited and encouraged to consult with program organizers in order to support the preparation of application materials. Contact or (please note Matthew is out of office the week of October 19). 

2021 Dates

February 12-13
March 12-13
April 16-17
May 28-29
June 24, 26


19-20 Composer Fellows

Andrew Clark

Andrew James Clark is a multi-faceted Canadian composer currently residing in Toronto. Having pursued graduate composition studies at the University of Toronto and served as the Composer-in-Residence of the University of Toronto’s Wind Ensemble, he is also Artistic Director of Classical Context, a concert series founded by students from the university providing a hybrid of new music and traditional repertoire to general audiences through lecture presentations. Andrew also holds the position of Principal Pianist at Heron Park Baptist Church. His piece The Valley of the Dry Bones was recently published by Counterpoint Library as part of their Young Composers Series and he was also recently granted a conducting apprenticeship with Orchestra Toronto to be carried out during the months of March and April 2018. Recent awards include The University of Toronto’s 2016 Gordon Cressy Student Leadership Award in recognition of Andrew’s efforts in sustaining a music therapy program for elderly homeless musicians located in the downtown core. He has also been awarded the Gabriella Dory Prize in Music and the William Erving Fairclough Scholarship for graduating with the highest standing in U of T’s Undergraduate Composition Program, while also being the chosen recipient of the CNEF Eamonn O’Loghlin scholarship merited by his writings concerning the negative impacts of consumerism on our artistic culture. Andrew is currently a theory, harmony and history classroom instructor in Scarborough’s Musical World F.A. Group, and a piano teacher at Dixon Hall’s Music School.


Luis Ramirez

Originally from Aguascalientes, Mexico, Luis began an early career as a pianist, and his interest in composition emerged as a consequence of performing contemporary music. He started his Bachelor studies at the Aguascalientes University and in 2012 he received a full scholarship to study at Brandon University in Manitoba, where he earned his Bachelor of Music degree in Piano Performance and subsequently a Master of Music degree in 2016 studying with Alexander Tselyakov. The following year he obtained a Master of Music degree in Composition with Dr. Patrick Carrabré at the same institution. Luis has been awarded numerous scholarships and has performed across Mexico, Canada, Italy and Serbia. He has had multiple works commissioned, with premieres at the Casalmaggiore Festival in Italy, AugustFest in Manitoba, Festival Cervantino and in Brandon, Manitoba. Recently, his work Chido was premiered by the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra during the Winnipeg New Music Festival 2018 as winner of the CMC Prairie Region Emerging Composer Competition, and was awarded the first prize of the Sir Ernest MacMillan Awards of the SOCAN Foundation. An eclectic musician, Luis has toured as a classical pianist, performed Latin-American music in jazz festivals as a member of the Indestructible Band, conducted the Brandon Community Orchestra, presented his academic research at several conferences, and is currently a member of the Amarras Tango Quintet. He is pursuing doctoral studies at York University in Toronto with Randolph Peters.


Stephanie Orlando

Stephanie Orlando is a composer and collaborative pianist based in Toronto. Her music has been performed worldwide by performers and ensembles such as Femmelody Chamber Music Collective (New York City), Stereoscope Saxophone Duo (Toronto) junctQin Keyboard Collective (Toronto), Thin Edge New Music Collective (Toronto), Penderecki String Quartet (Waterloo), Arcady Singers (Brantford) and Jeff Stonehouse (Montreal). She has also collaborated with choreographers Kylie Thompson (Toronto), Ming-Bo Lam (Toronto), playwright Laureen Damarren (Waterloo) and visual artist Diane Eastham (Waterloo). She is the first place recipient of the 2019 SOCAN Young Composer Pierre Mercure Award and runner up for the 2018 Creative Women at the end of the First World War Composition Competition for her work Scatterbrain for soprano and flute. She also held a residency with the National Youth Orchestra of Canada in the 2019 season supported by the SOCAN Foundation to workshop the work phases of the moon for string orchestra. With experience writing for a variety of styles and instrumentation, Stephanie has a special interest in mixed media composition and using technology in combination with classical instruments. Her catalogue contains works for orchestra, chamber ensemble, piano, voice, and electronics. Stephanie has composed music for a variety of mediums including opera, theatre, dance, and film. Her music is filled with traditional, contemporary, and pop culture influences. As a musician from mixed musical backgrounds, Stephanie is interested in exploring the boundaries of genres, where they are compatible and what they can create when blended. By exploring different genres in her music, she creates a more accessible listening experience for audiences of different backgrounds, inspiring a new musical language influenced by popular music of our time. As an advocate for underrepresented voices in new music, she frequently explores socially relevant topics in her work such as mental illness, gender roles and internet culture. Stephanie holds a Bachelor Degree in Music Composition from Wilfrid Laurier University, a Masters degree in Music in Composition from the University of Toronto and an ARCT diploma in Piano Performance from the Royal Conservatory of Music. She is currently pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts in Composition at the University of Toronto.


Paul Lessard

The music of Toronto-based composer Paul Alexander Lessard has been heard at concerts and festivals across North America. Originally from south-central Pennsylvania, Lessard has crafted a deeply personal musical language with a uniquely exciting approach to rhythm. He is also keenly interested in videogame music, often choosing to incorporate forms and structures associated with that idiom into his classical works. Conversely, his growing number of video game soundtracks often feature his trademark rhythmic vocabulary. An ever-increasing number of ensembles have read and performed Lessard’s works, including the Winds of the Scarborough Philharmonic Orchestra, the University of Toronto Saxophone Ensemble, the University of Florida Wind Symphony, the Catalyst Saxophone Quartet and many others. Upcoming performances include Lessard’s UK debut as the Trinity Laban Saxophones perform his saxophone ensemble works Some Items, Fox Preferred, Penultimate Destination, and the world premiere of Death Stick (composed for Canadian saxophonist Brendan Catalano) at the North American Saxophone Alliance conference in March 2020. Lessard holds degrees in Physics, Saxophone Performance and Composition from the University of Florida and Gettysburg College. His past teachers include James Paul Sain, Paul Richards and Avner Dorman, and he has participated in masterclasses with Dorothy Chang and Toshio Hosokawa.




Past Composer Fellowship Recipients


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