Winds of the SPO - Call for Proposals

Deadline: October 16, 2017
Online Application Form
The Scarborough Philharmonic Orchestra (SPO), the University of Toronto Schools (UTS), and the Canadian Music Center (CMC) are collaborating to issue a call for proposals for early career and student composers wanting to write for a wind ensemble. Four to five (4-5) composers will be selected to write a short piece for a wind ensemble of 13 players. This is the second edition of the Composing for a Wind Ensemble workshop.
During the writing process, each composer will be paired with a mentor composer who will be a support and resource: this will include advice on the writing the piece, orchestration, score and part preparation, and aspects of career development. Composers will also be supported and advised by SPO music director Ronald Royer.
The program is intended to help participating composers develop and improve their writing for winds and help with career development. Completed pieces will be read by The Winds of the SPO conducted by Ronald Royer. Composers will receive an archival audio recording of the reading session, and possible performance opportunities in future SPO concerts.
There are two streams for the composer applicants: one (1) spot will be dedicated to a composition student from UTS, and the remaining three to four (3-4) spots are open to any composer who meets the eligibility criteria.

  • The reading session is open to early-career and student composers who are Canadian (citizens and landed immigrants, high school age and up).
  • The program is focused on Ontario-based composers who are able to travel to Toronto for the reading session on January 25.

About the SPO program:

  • Works to be written by selected composers will reflect the instrumentation of the SPO ensemble:
    • 2 flutes (2nd doubling piccolo), 2 oboes (2nd doubling English Horn), 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 2 horns, 1 trumpet, 1 percussion, and 1 string bass.
    • Composers are not required to use all the players or doubled instruments.
    • Percussion can include glockenspiel, xylophone, snare drum, bass drum, tom-toms, crash cymbals, suspended cymbals, tambourine, temple blocks, timpani (4), and a group of smaller instruments. A complete list of percussion instruments will be provided to selected composers.
    • Pieces can include electronic/tape accompaniment, provided it is limited to stereo playback. Selected composers can use live processing but will need to consult with technical staff and provide equipment beyond what is readily available to the SPO.
    • If requested, composers can gain partial access to scores from existing SPO collaborations with composers, including the first edition of the reading workshop.
  • The maximum duration for the individual pieces to be composed is 5 minutes.
  • An important aspect of this project is to involve the selected composers in musical collaboration with musicians and administrators.
  • Selected composers are expected to participate in mentorship meetings and attend the reading session in-person. Composers are strongly encouraged to attend The Winds of the SPO Feb. 3, 2018, concert (a complimentary ticket will be provided, and the composers will be acknowledged).
  • Proposed pieces should consider current SPO programming, and composers should consider how their piece can complement the current audience experience offered by the SPO. Click here to view SPO programming for the 2017-18 season, you can stream eight short documentaries called Winds of the Scarborough Philharmonic: Making of the Canadian Panorama on the SPO Youtube Channel, and you can listen to the Canadian Panorama CD on Spotify, Naxos music library, and other streaming services. You can also purchase or download the Canadian Panorama CD.


  • Reading session information:
    • Date: Thursday, January 25, 2017, 7:15-9:45pm
    • Location: University of Toronto Schools (371 Bloor Street West, Toronto)
  • SPO Concert information:
    • Date: February 3, 2018
    • Location: Infiniti Music & Arts Centre (351 Ferrier Street, Unit 1, Markham)

Submissions will be submitted electronically using an ONLINE FORM. Eligible composers should submit the following to be considered:

  • Short written proposal (400 word max): Include your artistic objectives with the piece, your interest in the project, and composing for the Winds of the SPO. If selected, your piece can deviate from this proposal.
  • CV or Resume: Attach a PDF file focusing on your composition activity.
  • 2 sample scores: PDF of 2 recent scores. You are not required to submit pieces for wind instruments.
  • 2 sample recordings: Links to streaming audio for the 2 scores submitted. MP3 recordings of the 2 submitted scores (live or MIDI recordings are acceptable). Please ensure that the audio is available for three weeks following the deadline.

DEADLINE: October 16, 2017
Questions should be sent to:
Matthew Fava, CMC Director – Ontario Region
Workshop Timeline:

  • Early September 2017: Call for scores is issued
  • Late October 2017: Participating composers will be selected, and all applicants will be notified of the results.
    • Composers will be chosen by a jury consisting of SPO and CMC representatives. The jury’s decision cannot be appealed. Applicants can request feedback from the jury process.
    • The jury will aim to select a representative group of participants based on career stage, aesthetic, and other criteria.
    • Finalists will participate in a short phone interview regarding various aspects of the project before the decision is made public.
  • Early November 2017: Mentorship relationships will be established.
    • The mentorship will take the form of occasional lessons/consultations with established composers who have worked with the SPO.
    • The mentor will help to shape the process such that completed works reflect the artistic goals of the composer, while being suitable for the SPO musicians
  • November 2017 to early January 2018: Selected composers will work collaboratively with the SPO to write and finalize the composition
  • Friday, January 5, 2018: the parts and score will be delivered to the SPO
  • Thursday, January 25, 2018: participation in the SPO reading session
  • Saturday, February 3, 2018: Winds of the SPO concert 

About the SPO:
The SPO is a community orchestra, dedicated to enriching our community through high-quality musical performances. An important part of their mandate is supporting, encouraging and mentoring young musicians and composers. The Winds of the SPO is a professional subset of the orchestra. The Canadian Panorama* recording, featuring music by 7 GTA composers, was designed to help promote Canadian composers worldwide in honor of Canada’s 150th anniversary. As well, this project has a goal of developing repertoire for an intermediate sized wind ensemble. Repertoire for a medium sized wind ensemble is limited outside of the classical and early romantic periods. Composers such as Mozart, Beethoven, Krommer and Mendelssohn and a few later composers, such as Dvorak, Gounod, Richard Strauss, Francaix and Enesco, have composed works for this type of ensemble, but it is not a common occurrence in contemporary music.
Information on the SPO 2017-2018 season, including The Winds of the SPO concert can be found here, and The Canadian Panorama recording (found on Spotify), can be found here, and Youtube videos on the Making of Canadian Panorama can be found here.

16 Oct 2017