Emerging Composer Festival

Welcome to ECM's monthly emerging composer festival series. Each month we host a new ensemble-in-residence with high-profile and world-renowned performers. Composers are encouraged to apply with their submission portfolio (details below). Up to ten composers are selected each month, who will compose short pieces for the ensemble, under the direction of the composer-in-residence. We also hold a week-long hands-on workshop and lectures prior to the world premieres of composer pieces. During this time, composers directly work with performers on fine-tuning their pieces. See below for this month's performers and submission details. We encourage past applicants who were not selected to re-apply in the following months.

Other programs: Apply to our Orchestration Workshop (5-week program) CLICK HERE

Dr. Mark Wilkinson
Canadian Baritone and Leading Voice Pedagogue

Valerie Dueck
Conservatoire de Musique de Genève
International Solo & Collaborative Pianist

Dr. Daniel Mehdizadeh, Mentor
Composer-in-Residence, Scarborough Philharmonic Orchestra

Mentorship throughout the festival. Lectures on composition techniques, orchestration, idiomatic writing, notation standards and career guidance.

Guest lecturer: Ronald Royer
Composer & Music Director with the Scarborough Philharmonic Orchestra

Performed by over 70 orchestras.

With Career talk, working with an orchestra, studio recordings and copyright, communicating with an orchestra including commissions and the logistics on composer-in-residence positions


About the May 2022 Festival

Our festival is a 6-week intensive mentorship and ensemble collaboration program. Up to ten composers will be selected to produce new works for our ensemble-in-residence, this round being works for Baritone and Piano (Art Song) with an online video premiere release. During this workshop, masterclasses and mentorship is offered by both the Ensemble-in-Residence and the Composer-in-Residence, preparing each composer's work for the concert. Composers will also receive downloadable video files of their final performance for future promotional and application use. All video premieres will be posted on ECM's YouTube channel and may be shared and re-posted publicly. All shareable links will be given out.

Accepted participants will be expected to write a 3-4 minute piece for the ensemble. This festival is intended to further the compositional and collaborative skills of emerging and early-career composers as well as to provide them with an opportunity to have their music reach audiences across the globe. At the festival, composers will have a chance to connect with world-renowned and high-profile musicians, opening up possibilities for future commissions and collaborations. Guest artist, Ronald Royer from the Scarborough Philharmonic Orchestra, will also give talks on career opportunities, becoming composer-in-residence, receiving commissions and studio recordings and much more.


Composers should send a google (or other cloud) link to a shared folder containing 1 pdf resume, 2 pdf scores and 2 recordings (MIDI files are acceptable) and a portrait photo of the applicant. Youtube and SoundCloud links are also acceptable. Please make sure the access to the links are not set to private, and that multiple emails can access the files.

PLEASE DO NOT SEND FILES DIRECTLY AS ATTACHMENTS - only links to pdfs and audios will be accepted.

Scores should showcase the ability to compose for solo or small chamber ensemble. There is no application fee. Upon acceptance, composers should pay a tuition fee of $695 CAD to East Chamber Music Inc. (once the festival begins, tuitions are non-refundable).

Submission deadline: April 22, 2022
Send everything to: music@eastchamber.com

Schedule (all meetings will be virtual using Zoom): all times are Eastern Time (ET)

  • Monday May 2: Festival begins

  • Monday May 2: @11am-1pm Meet the ensemble: how to write for Art Song (Baritone and Piano)

  • Monday May 2: (afternoon) Composers begin intensive writing for the duo

  • Saturday May 7: First drafts due

  • Thursday May 12: Second drafts due

  • Friday May 13 – @11am-12:30pm ET, Lecture on Composition by Dr. Daniel Mehdizadeh (technique, orchestration, idiomatic writing)

  • Wednesday May 18: Third drafts due

  • Wednesday May 25: @11am-1pm ET, Reading of all pieces by the Ensemble (snippets of drafts will be discussed and played through with feedback in preparation for finalizing composer pieces)

  • (Friday May 27: @11am-12:30pm, Talks on Notation and Career with Guest Lecturer (Score & Part preparation, being a composer in the 21st century, career talk, collaboration and working with an ensemble and orchestra, and more) [to be confirmed]

  • Monday May 30: Final drafts due

  • Monday June 6: @11am-12pm Ensemble meets with first half of composers one last time - final revisions made

  • Friday June 17: @11am-12pm Ensemble meets with second half of composers - final revisions made

  • End of June Final recordings with virtual premieres following

Accepting applications now. For more information on the ensemble and your mentor, see below.

We are proud to announce our production parnternership with the Canadian Music Centre

Watch our previous festival premieres

More about our Mentors


Dr. Mark Wilkinson

Vocologist and Voice Scientist
Voice Pedagogue

D.M.A. - The Ohio State University
M.Mus. - University of Alberta
Diploma - Franz-Schubert-Institut
B.Mus. - Université d'Ottawa

Canadian baritone Mark Wilkinson is a vocal musician and actor whose eclectic career has expressed a versatility of artistry founded in a gift for dramatic truth-telling and sumptuous vocalism in a vast array of repertoire.

Dr. Mark's interest lies in representing the uniquely challenging space that singers occupy in being both musicians and actors -- he chooses artistic collaborations that embrace the voice as a musical instrument and lyrics as a legitimate tool for expression. As such, he has worked with myriad colleagues around the world in the most traditional and avant-garde settings. From singing J.S. Bach on national Canadian airwaves to stealing the show with P.D.Q. Bach himself, and from descending into madness in black-box theatres to leading the North American premiere of a Margaret Atwood play, Dr. Mark's multiple talents and professionalism bring assured artistry to any setting.

As an expert in chamber music, theatre, early music, and new compositions, Dr. Mark enjoys intimate collaborations in venues both big and small. He has been featured on CBC Music, Radio, and Television throughout his career, and is an engaging voice-over artist, narrator, master of ceremonies, and public speaker.

Dr. Mark also brings his career as a voice scientist and voice health specialist to masterclasses, clinics, and workshops across North America. He is one of Canada's leading voice pedagogues with a singular ability to habilitate and rehabilitate both professional and aspiring professional voice users. In addition to his rare background in clinical voice therapy and laryngology, he is known as an expert in educational psychology, curriculum design, and the neuroscience of learning.

A graduate of The Ohio State University, Dr. Mark continues to be inspired by his colleagues from whose generosity he has learned so much over the years. He is currently a proud French-speaking resident of Ottawa, Ontario, the traditional and unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinaabeg.

International Solo & Collaborative Pianist

Valerie Dueck

International Solo & Collaborative Pianist
Has taught at the International School of Geneva, the University of Ottawa, Carleton University, the Manitoba Conservatory of Music and Art, and Haileybury Astana.

Pianist Valerie Dueck grew up in Kleefeld, Manitoba on a street that housed an internationally renowned soprano and two leading vocal conductors. Given the neighbourhood, a career in vocal accompanying seemed an entirely rational choice.

Now an internationally active pianist, Valerie has distinguished herself as a solo and collaborative performer while living on three continents. She has prepared both young singers and professionals in roles for such companies as Opera NUOVA, Opera Lyra, Wiener Volksoper, Wiener Staatsoper, Seattle Opera and Houston Grand Opera. She has been employed by the Grand Thèâtre de Genève, Thirteen Strings in Ottawa, Schlosstheater Schönbrunn in Vienna and the Conservatoire de musique de Genève, and has been invited to perform in the Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival, the Music and Beyond festival in Ottawa, the Five Boroughs Music Festival in New York and three successive tours of China. Her performances have been broadcast by the Austrian Broadcasting Corporation, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and Kazakh National Television.

Engaged as piano professor for the Conservatoire de musique de Genève, Valerie has also taught piano at the International School of Geneva, the University of Ottawa, Carleton University, the Manitoba Conservatory of Music and Art, and Haileybury Astana. Her formative piano teachers at university were David Lutz, Stéphane Lemelin, Judy Kehler Siebert and Garth Beckett. Intensive studies with Dalton Baldwin and Rena Sharon were influential in her training as a vocal coach.

Valerie’s collaborative endeavours include the Air, Strings and Keys trio with thereminist Thorwald Jørgensen and violinist Marc Djokic. In 2020, Valerie created the online live interview series Well-Tempered Bernadette: A Piano’s Tale of 5 Cities, where she hosted guests such as Joyce El-Khoury, Julie Nesrallah, David Stewart and Paule Préfontaine, and for which she received a Canada Council for the Arts grant. Valerie and her piano Bernadette are currently living in Ottawa.


Dr. Daniel Mehdizadeh

Composer & Mentor
Harmony | Counterpoint | Composition | Orchestration
Composer-in-Residence, Scarborough Philharmonic Orchestra
D.M.A. - University of Toronto
M.A. - University of OttawaB.A. - University of Ottawa​

Dr. Daniel Mehdizadeh (DMA, University of Toronto) is currently based in the Greater Toronto Area and is the Composer-in-Residence for the Scarborough Philharmonic Orchestra. He has been involved in both national and international festival series. He is regularly commissioned and holds numerous performances in Europe and North America. His works have had global exposure and have been broadcasted across Canada and the US including appearance as guest composer on CBC Radio.

Together with the Scarborough Philharmonic Orchestra, Mehdizadeh kickstarted a new podcast series, SPOGreatMusic, helping develop new community partnerships including Scarborough Arts, Stratford Symphony Orchestra, the Canadian Music Centre, Canadian Sinfonietta, the Brantford Symphony Orchestra, and the Cathedral Bluffs Symphony Orchestra. As a result, the orchestra was awarded the Canadian Music Centre's 2021 Beckwith Award.

Scarborough Philharmonic Orchestra

Ronald Royer

Composer & Music DirectorScarborough Philharmonic Orchestra

With numerous performances, commissions and commercial recordings, Ronald Royer is a prominent Canadian composer who strives to connect with audiences. Justin O’Dell of The Clarinet magazine writes: “Ronald Royer’s music is beautifully appealing and communicative”, while Stanley Fefferman of Showtimemagazine.ca contributes, “These masterful and witty pieces live up to Royer’s reputation for music that is both entertaining and imaginative.”

His concert music has been performed by more than 70 orchestras, including the international iPalpiti Orchestra in Disney Concert Hall (Los Angeles, USA), Sinfonia Finlandia (Finland), Bohuslav Martinu Philharmonic Orchestra (Czech Republic), Athens La Camerata (Greece), Joensuu City Orchestra (Finland), and Members of the Wurttemberg Chamber Orchestra (Germany). Canadian performances have included the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, Victoria Symphony, Hamilton Philharmonic, Orchestra London, Niagara Symphony, Thunder Bay Symphony and Symphony New Brunswick. The Ontario Festival Symphony Orchestra performed his composition Exuberance on tour in China (available on YouTube). He has served as the composer-in-residence for Sinfonia Toronto, Mississauga Symphony (supported by the Canada Council for the Arts), Toronto Sinfonietta, Scarborough Philharmonic and the Brantford Symphony.

Mr. Royer’s music is featured on 14 commercial recordings, with 6 on the Cambria Master Recordings label (distributed by Naxos). He has consistently received positive and enthusiastic reviews for his music. Performers on recordings include the Los Angeles Studio Orchestra (Jorge Mester, conductor), Bohuslav Martinu Philharmonic, (Tomas Koutnik), iPalpiti Orchestra (Eduard Schmieder), Sinfonia Toronto (Ronald Royer), 13 Strings of Ottawa (Simon Streatfeild), Toronto Sinfonietta (Matthew Jaskiewicz), HornPipes Duo, Chamber Music Society of Mississauga, Triofus, flutists Louise DiTullio and Nora Shulman, oboist Sarah Jeffrey, clarinets Tibi Cziger, Kaye Royer and Jerome Summers, violinists Conrad Chow and Aaron Schwebel, cellists Coenraad Bloemendal, Yves Dharamraj and Simon Fryer, trumpeters Brunette Dillon, Barton Woomert and Steven Woomert, hornist Gabriel Radford, and pianists Aaron Dou, Rachel Kerr and Lydia Wong. His commercial recordings and live performance recordings are regularly heard on radio, including the CBC and The New Classical FM in Canada and a number of NPR stations in the USA.

In addition to composing, Mr. Royer is presently serving as the music director and conductor of the Scarborough Philharmonic and has guest conducted a number of orchestras. For 21 years, he worked as an Instructor of Music for the University of Toronto Schools. He continues to teach private lessons and be an advocate for music education. Mr. Royer is married to clarinetist Kaye Royer and has composed several works for her.