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Orchestral Composition Reading & Career-Development Session

Please note that the deadline for submissions has now passed.

The Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO), in collaboration with the Canadian Music Centre (CMC), is pleased to again offer an orchestral composition career-development session for Canadian composers. Due to the health regulations related to COVID-19, the TSO is adjusting the way this program is presented this year with much of the communication being conducted via digital means. The purpose of the session is to offer composers an opportunity to hear their works rehearsed in a professional orchestral setting, while gaining experience working alongside a professional organization. Selected participants will receive feedback (in person or digitally) from TSO Music Director Gustavo Gimeno, TSO Composer Advisor Gary Kulesha, and TSO RBC Affiliate Composer Emilie LeBel, and have an opportunity to engage in constructive dialogue with members of the Orchestra and staff, and TSO Principal Librarian Gary Corrin.

The Orchestral Composition Reading & Career-Development Session will include:

  • Virtual library session for selected participants led by TSO Principal Librarian Gary Corrin with TSO RBC Affiliate Composer Emilie LeBel on Monday, April 19, 2021.
  • Orchestral Composition Reading Session on Saturday, May 29, 2021, at Roy Thomson Hall, from 10:00am to 12:30pm, conducted by TSO Composer Advisor Gary Kulesha. The selected composers are invited to join in person, or remotely, subject to Ontario health protocols at Roy Thomson Hall. Each work will receive a reading of approximately 20 minutes.
  • Feedback session (in person or digitally) with TSO Music Director Gustavo Gimeno, TSO Composer Advisor Gary Kulesha, TSO RBC Affiliate Composer Emilie LeBel, TSO Artistic staff, and representative musicians from the Orchestra’s woodwind, brass, percussion, and string sections on Saturday, May 29, 2021 (after the Reading Session). Composers may attend in person or remotely.
  • One individual follow-up virtual mentorship session for each participant with TSO RBC Affiliate Composer Emilie LeBel (date and time in 2021 TBA).
  • A copy of an archival recording of their work for their personal review and/or grant application purposes.


The Toronto Symphony Orchestra is committed to the support and development of orchestral repertoire that reflects the diversity of Canada. We welcome applications from diverse cultural and regional communities. Preference may be given to applicants who are members of one or more of the following groups: women, Indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities, and members of a visible minority.

  • Open to all Canadian composers (citizens and permanent residents), with no age restrictions.

We ask that applicants disclose other professional orchestral programs in which they have participated (e.g., residencies, fellowships, readings, etc.).

Previously performed works are eligible. Works that have already been scheduled for an upcoming performance or another workshop opportunity by a professional orchestra are not eligible.

  • Works must not have been commissioned by a professional orchestra.
  • There is no duration limit, though shorter works (under eight minutes) are encouraged. An excerpt or movement from a longer work may also be submitted.
  • Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the TSO anticipates being able to present pieces that fit the following criteria: 
  1. String orchestra (a maximum of 25 players) or
  2. Small orchestra (a maximum of 49 musicians total) timp + 2 percussion, strings (basic percussion set-ups only).  

Each applicant may submit one work for consideration only (string orchestra or small orchestra).

Decisions regarding selected pieces will be made taking into account Ontario health protocols at Roy Thomson Hall for attendance at that time. 

  • Due to COVID-19-related protocols, works requiring non-standard set-ups, vocals, or electronics are not eligible. 
  • Concertos for instrumental soloists are not eligible.
  • The chosen composers are expected to attend the Reading Session activities. Composers may attend in person or remotely. If a selected composer is unable to attend the reading (virtually or in person), another composer’s work will be chosen. 
  • Please note that the TSO does not provide travel or accommodation costs for composers to attend the Orchestral Composition Reading Session. 

Submission Guidelines

Composers are required to submit materials electronically. Please use the online submission form to provide the following:

  • Score (PDF)
  • Link to streaming audio/video, if available, of the submitted work. MIDI realizations are acceptable.
  • Composer CV (five pages maximum)
  • Short statements in response to two questions 

Selection Process

  • Up to five composers will be selected to participate in the TSO Orchestral Composition Reading & Career-Development Session.
  • The scores for the Reading Session will be chosen by a jury consisting of a representative musician from the Orchestra, TSO RBC Affiliate Composer Emilie LeBel, and an external composer (TBD) chosen in consultation with the Canadian Music Centre.
  • Successful applicants will be contacted three weeks after the submission deadline, at the latest.

Preparation of Scores and Parts for Orchestral Composition Reading Session

  • Successful applicants will have the opportunity to meet virtually with TSO Principal Librarian Gary Corrin and TSO RBC Affiliate Composer Emilie LeBel at the TSO library on Monday, April 19, 2021 (details below; time TBC). The session will cover part-preparation techniques in advance of the composer’s own extraction and printing of their parts for the Reading Session. There will be an opportunity to review formatting details before the parts are extracted and printed by the composer (details to follow). 
  • A list of requirements from the TSO Principal Librarian will be provided to the composer in preparation for the Monday, May 3, 2021 score and parts deadline.
  • The successful applicant must be able to deliver printed parts and two large-format conductor scores by Monday, May 3, 2021. Parts and scores should meet all professional standards as outlined. 
  • The CMC is pleased to offer a 40% discount to participating composers who chose to use their services for printing their scores and parts for this workshop.

Submission Deadline

Monday, March 15, 2021 at 11:59pm PST (Tuesday, March 16, 2021 at 2:59am EST)

All inquiries should be sent to:

Susana Almeida
416.593.7769 X 263