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Orchestral Composition Reading & Career Development Session

The Toronto Symphony Orchestra, in collaboration with the Canadian Music Centre, is pleased to offer an orchestral composition career development session for Canadian composers. 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. Participants will receive feedback from TSO Composer Advisor Gary Kulesha, and will have an opportunity to engage in constructive dialogue with a TSO Guest Conductor, members of the orchestra, the TSO Principal Librarian, and the TSO Affiliate Composer.

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The Orchestral Composition Reading & Career Development Session will include:

  • Library session led by TSO Librarian Gary Corrin with TSO Affiliate Composer Emilie LeBel on Monday, October 7, 2019
  • TSO Reading session on Saturday, November 30, 2019, conducted by TSO Composer Advisor Gary Kulesha
  • Feedback session with TSO Composer Advisor Gary Kulesha and TSO Affiliate Composer Emilie LeBel, and representative musicians from the orchestra’s woodwind, brass, percussion, and string sections on Saturday, November 30, 2019
  • Opportunity to attend a TSO rehearsal during November 2019
  • Opportunity to attend a TSO performance during November 2019
  • One individual follow-up lesson/mentorship session with TSO Affiliate Composer Emilie LeBel
  • Composers will receive 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, with no age restrictions.
  • Each composer may submit one work for consideration.
  • Works must not have been commissioned by a professional orchestra.
  • Previously performed works are eligible. Unperformed (or underperformed) works are encouraged.
  • There is no duration limit, though shorter works (under eight minutes) are encouraged. An excerpt or movement from a longer work may also be considered.
  • Submissions should not exceed the following instrumentation: timp + 3 harp strings
  • Works requiring vocals or electronics are not eligible.
  • Concertos are not eligible.
  • The chosen composers are expected to attend reading session activities (details below). If a selected composer is unable to attend the reading, another composer’s work will be chosen.
  • The TSO does not provide travel or accommodation costs for composers to attend either the preparatory session with TSO Library or the Orchestral Score Reading Session.
  • The CMC and TSO can offer a letter of support if a composer wishes to pursue a travel grant.

Submission Guidelines:

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

  • Orchestral score (PDF)
  • Audio, if available, of the submitted work. Audio files can be uploaded through the online form, or applicants can provide a link to streaming audio. MIDI realizations are acceptable.
  • Composer CV (5 pages maximum)
  • Short statements in response to two questions

DEADLINE: Sunday, September 8, 2019

The online form will be closed at midnight (11:59 pm PST) on Sunday, September 8, 2019

Selection Process:

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

Preparation of Scores and Parts for Orchestral Composition Reading Session:

  • Successful applicants will have the opportunity to meet with TSO Principal Librarian Gary Corrin, and TSO Affiliate Composer Emilie LeBel at the TSO library on Monday, October 7, 2019 (details below; time TBC). 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 will be provided to the composer in preparation for the Friday November 1, 2019 score and parts deadline.
  • The successful applicant must be able to deliver printed parts and two large format conductor scores by Friday November 1, 2019. Parts and scores should meet all professional standards as outlined.

Summary of Activities:

TSO Library Session: On Monday, October 7, 2019, in advance of the reading session, there will be a library session at Roy Thomson Hall led by TSO Librarian Gary Corrin with TSO Affiliate Composer Emilie LeBel. The session will cover part preparation techniques in advance of the composer’s own extraction and printing of their parts for the reading session. Although attendance is encouraged, teleconferencing options will be made available for composers residing outside Toronto who are unable to attend the library session.

Orchestral Composition Reading Session: The reading session during which each work will receive a reading of approximately 20-30 minutes will take place on Saturday November 30, 2019, at Roy Thomson Hall, from 10:00am to 12:30pm conducted by Gary Kulesha. All composers must be able to attend in person. The reading session will be followed by two feedback sessions:p

  • Feedback session with TSO Composer Advisor Gary Kulesha, TSO Affiliate Composer Emilie LeBel, and the TSO Guest conductor.
  • Feedback session with representative musicians from the orchestra’s woodwind, brass, percussion, and string sections.

Additional Opportunities:

Composers selected to take part in the Orchestral Score Reading Session may schedule an individual follow-up lesson/mentorship session with TSO Affiliate Composer Emilie LeBel, either in person or over teleconference by July 1, 2020.

The TSO extends an invitation to the selected composers to attend a rehearsal and performance with the TSO at Roy Thomson Hall during November 2019 (time and date TBC).

The TSO’s and CMC’s social media channels will be used to promote the selected composers. Members of the TSO’s and/or CMC’s marketing team may be at concerts, rehearsals, and in backstage areas photographing (no video or audio recording) and writing accounts of behind-the- scenes activities. Unless notified in writing that an Orchestral Composition Reading Session composer declines participation in the TSO’s social media initiative, the TSO is granted permission to capture his/her/their image for distribution on TSO social media channels including (but not limited to) Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

Orchestral Composition Reading Session composers are also encouraged to share behind-the- scenes photos and perspectives from his/her/their own accounts. Make sure to tag @torontosymphony and @cmcnational!

Venue and Accessibility Information:

Roy Thomson Hall
60 Simcoe Street, Toronto ON M5J 2H5

Roy Thomson Hall is a short distance (a two-minute walk) from the subway system. The nearest subway station (St. Andrew) is accessible by elevator, and the nearest streetcar stop is at King Street and University Avenue (504 streetcar).

Roy Thomson has accessibility ramps, lifts, and elevators to accommodate your needs. Should you require the use of any lifts or elevators, we would appreciate prior notice to ensure that employees trained on the use of this equipment are available to assist you in a timely manner. This venue can accommodate wheelchairs, walkers, and scooters. Please inform our staff of any additional special equipment requirements for accessibility. Further accessibility information:

All inquiries should be sent to:

Susana Almeida
416.593.7769 X 263

Submission Forms:

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