Early-Career Composer Festival

Welcome to ECM's Early-Career Composer Festival

Our 2-month festival and workshop comprises of 2 main events: COMPOSER FESTIVAL writing a new work collaborating with our ensemble-in-residence and mentor (with audio and video premiere recordings), and our 5-week intensive ORCHESTRATION WORKSHOP with weekly lectures and composition of short excerpts for solo instruments (with readings and feedback).
See below for full details on lectures, guest speakers and more!

  • Work with high-profile musicians

  • Compose a piece for our ensemble-in-residence with world premieres (online video premieres)

  • 5-week intensive orchestration workshop (composing short excerpts with weekly readings and feedback)

  • Guest lecturers on composing, finding your voice and career talks

  • 8-week Mentorship program

  • 2 ensemble readings and workshop with our ensemble-in-residence prior to world premieres

  • Social media highlights and long-term alumni at ECM

  • All workshops, lectures and readings are online via Zoom

Kaye Royer
Principal Clarinet with the Brantford Symphony, Canadian Sinfonietta, Sinfonia Toronto, Scarborough Philharmonic, Toronto Sinfonietta, and the Stratford Symphony

Kristin Day

Appearance with the National Arts Centre Orchestra, the Windsor Symphony, and the Aradia Ensemble

Dr. Vincent Ho, Guest lecturer
Multi-award winning composer

Dr. Ho has taught at the University of Calgary and currently serves as Artistic Director to Land’s End Ensemble and New Music Advisor to the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra. His works are published and managed by Promethean Editions Ltd and Peters Edition.

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

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.

Composer Festival

About the Festival

Our festival is a 2-month 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 Clarinet and Bassoon duo, with an online video premiere release. During this workshop, readings and mentorship is offered by both our Ensemble-in-Residence and our Composer-in-Residence, preparing each composer's work for its premiere. 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 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 high-profile musicians, opening up possibilities for future commissions and collaborations. Guest lecturer, Dr. Vincent Ho, speaks on finding your unique voice and on incorporating your identity into your music. Guest artist, Ronald Royer from the Scarborough Philharmonic Orchestra, will also give talks on career opportunities, becoming composer-in-residence, receiving commissions, studio recordings and much more.

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

  • Tuesday July 5: Composers begin writing for the duo (start sketches) and in contact with Mentor

  • Thursday July 7: Orchestration workshop begins and runs twice a week for 5 weeks (10 meetings): refer to orchestration schedule

  • Tuesday July 19: First drafts due

  • Tuesday July 19: @11am-12:30pm, Lecture on Composition and Notation by Dr. Daniel Mehdizadeh (composition, technique, texture, orchestration & idiomatic writing, notation standards: Score & Part preparation)

  • Tuesday July 26: second darfts due (in preparation of workshop)

  • Tuesday August 2: @11am-1pm Ensemble Workshop

  • Tuesday August 9: third drafts due (in preparation of workshop)

  • Tuesday August 16: @11am-1pm Ensemble Workshop

  • Tuesday August 9: @12pm-1:30pm, Talks on Finding your Voice with Guest Lecturer Dr. Vincent Ho

  • Tuesday August 30: @11:30am-1pm, Talks on Career with Guest Lecturer Ron Royer (being a composer in the 21st century, career talk, collaboration and working with an ensemble and orchestra, and more)

  • Tuesday August 23: Final SCORES AND PARTS due (in preparation for premieres)

  • Ensemble prepares final pieces during the month of September, in preparation for recordings and premieres

Orchestration Workshop

Join our 5-week intensive Orchestration Workshop learning the art of idiomatic writing through lectures, score studies, composing solo excerpts with readings and feedback from live musician!

Each week, composers receive lectures on solo instruments by our mentor. Composers then go on to write short solo excerpts for those specific instruments which then receive a reading at the next meeting, with live musicians giving feedback and insight into idiomatic writing. This process is repeated twice a week for 5 weeks, in an intensive and hands-on approach.

Through this group workshop, composers will learn
how to use each instrument in both a chamber and orchestral setting. Experience a direct approach to learning, with live guest musicians joining each week to showcase their instruments. Learn idiomatic writing as well as extended techniques for each instrument, ask questions and hear how certain techniques actually sound. Learn about the warmth or the shrillness of specific instrument registers, and why certain phrases are difficult to play. Learn how long a tuba can sustain a note, how wind players breath, and the technical challenges of various instruments. This workshop is aimed at the emerging and early-career composer interested in further refining and broadening their understanding of orchestral instruments, ultimately helping them develop a deeper knowledge and skillset in their musical writing.

Instruments covered:

Woodwinds: Flute (Piccolo), Oboe (English Horn), Clarinet, Bassoon
Brass: French Horn, Trumpet, Trombone, Tuba
Harp and Percussion:
keyboard/mallet and non-keyboard instruments
Strings: Violin, Cello and Contrabass

Orchestration Workshop Schedule (all meetings will be virtual using Zoom):

Starting on Monday August 8, 2022 @11am Eastern Time
every Monday and Thursday for 5 weeks (10 workshops)
All meetings are from 11am-12:30pm Eastern Time (90 minutes)
* Please be available for 2 hours (11am-1pm), as our mentors sometimes like to extend classes to have more time with musicians.

Week 1 lecture 1: Introduction to Orchestration
Week 1 lecture 2: Flute & Oboe (Picc & E Horn)
Week 2 lecture 3: Clarinet & Bassoon
Week 2 lecture 4: Lecture on string writing & Violin
Week 3 lecture 5: Cello & Contrabass
Week 3 lecture 6: Trumpet & Horn
Week 4 lecture 7: Trombone & Tuba
Week 4 lecture 8: Harp + Lecture on orchestration and student feedback
Week 5 lecture 9: Percussion + Score and Part preparation, Notation Standards
Week 5 lecture 10: Final class


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. PLEASE DO NOT SEND FILES DIRECTLY AS ATTACHMENTS - only links to pdfs and audios will be accepted. 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.
Ideally scores should showcase the ability to compose for a variety of instruments, solo, small chamber or larger ensemble are all acceptable.

Application fee: none
Composer festival & Orchestration Workshop Tuition: $1,450 CAD Deadline June 21, 2022
Composer Festival ONLY: $950 CAD Deadline June 21, 2022
Orchestration Workshop ONLY: $750 CAD Deadline July 26, 2022

Submission deadline: June 21, 2022 (Orchestration Workshop ONLY deadline July 26, 2022)
Send everything to: music@eastchamber.com
Email Subject line should read: SUMMER FESTIVAL (if you are only applying to one festival please indicate which one in the subject line, either COMPOSER FESTIVAL ONLY, or ORCHESTRATION WORKSHOP ONLY)

Have questions? Send us an email: music@eastchamber.com

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

Watch our previous festival premieres

More about our Mentors


Kaye Royer


Kaye Royer is an active soloist, chamber musician and orchestral performer. She is principal clarinet with the Brantford Symphony, Canadian Sinfonietta, Sinfonia Toronto, Scarborough Philharmonic, Toronto Sinfonietta, and the Stratford Symphony. She has performed with orchestras such as the London Sinfonia, Kitchener Waterloo Symphony, Hamilton Philharmonic, Niagara Symphony, Windsor Symphony, Ontario Philharmonic, Talisker Players, Toronto Concert Orchestra, Arcady Orchestra, Mandel Philharmonic and Orchestra London. She performed with the orchestra on the Ontario portion of a Diana Krall world tour and toured China where she performed as principal clarinet with the Ontario Festival Symphony Orchestra.

She has performed in the orchestra for such legends as Sarah Brightman, Michael Bolton, Il Divo, Il Volo, Richard Margison, Diana Kroll, Loreena McKennitt, Natalie McMaster and film composer David Rose.

As a recording artist, she was a featured soloist on Toronto Sinfonietta’s Romancing Chopin and The Winds of the Scarborough Philharmonic’s Canadian Panorama. She has played on The Hollywood Flute of Louise DiTullio, Conrad Chow’s Premieres, and the children’s album The

Storyteller’s Bag. She has worked on the soundtracks of such films as Gooby (starring Robbie Coltrane and Eugene Levy), Prisma, The Dog and The Happy Couple as well as an Alexanian Carpet commercial (actor and musician). She has been heard on radio broadcasts on Canadian

stations CFMZ, CJRT-FM, CFWC-FM and nationally on CBC 1 and 2. Her recordings have been broadcast numerous times in the United States on Satellite Radio and various National Public Radio stations. Recent engagements include performing and recording a quintet with Máté Szűcs (soloist and former Principal Violist of the Berlin Philharmonic), violinist Joyce Lai, cellist Andras Weber and pianist Talisa Blackman in the fall of 2019. She was hired as clarinetist to workshop a new production of Scott Joplin’s opera Treemonisha. Past engagements include playing principal clarinet for live orchestra performances accompanying the Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone motion picture in 2018, performing for the opening night of Luminato 2015, and

performing for World Youth Day in Toronto attended by Pope John Paul II.

Kaye has performed as a soloist with orchestra in works by composers such as Mozart, Weber, R. Strauss, Beethoven (an arrangement of the violin concerto), Finzi, Milhaud, Dubois, Telemann, Jim McGrath, John Williams and her husband, composer Ronald Royer. She has been

a soloist with Sinfonia Toronto, Niagara Symphony, Brantford Symphony, Canadian Sinfonietta, Stratford Symphony, CLW Chamber Orchestra (Los Angles), Susquehanna Symphony (Maryland), Toronto Sinfonietta, Scarborough Philharmonic, Mississauga Symphony, Oakville Chamber Orchestra, and the Symphony Hamilton Chamber Orchestra. She has performed a significant amount of chamber music, working with artists such as violist Jan Reznicek (Janacek Quartet, Czech Republic), violinists Conrad Chow, Carol Fujino, Corey Gemmell and Joyce Lai, the Odin String Quartet, and the Chamber Music Society of Mississauga.


Kristin Day


Bassoonist Kristin Day is currently in demand as an orchestral, studio, chamber musician, and teacher. She has performed extensively across Canada and has toured internationally. She has appeared with some of the nation’s most recognized orchestras including the National Arts Centre Orchestra, the Windsor Symphony, and the Aradia Ensemble. In June 30 2022 you be able to hear Kristin in the soundtrack of the videogame Cuphead- The Delicious Last Course.

A devoted teacher, Kristin was a teaching artist for Sistema New Brunswick from 2013-2015, where she mentored at-risk youth in the Moncton area. In her private studio, her bassoon students have won awards and positions in both professional and youth orchestras including the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra, the National Youth Orchestra of Canada, and the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony. Kristin currently resides in midtown Toronto.

Guest lecturer

Dr. Vincent Ho

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.

Vincent Ho is a multi-award winning composer of orchestral, chamber, vocal, and theatre music. His works have been described as “brilliant and compelling” by The New York Times and hailed for their profound expressiveness and textural beauty, leaving audiences talking about them with great enthusiasm. His many awards and recognitions have included three Juno Award nominations, Harvard University’s Fromm Music Commission, The Canada Council for the Arts’ “Robert Fleming Prize”, ASCAP’s “Morton Gould Young Composer Award”, four SOCAN Young Composers Awards, and CBC Radio’s Audience Choice Award (2009 Young Composers’ Competition).

During the period of 2007-2014, Dr. Ho has served as the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra’s composer-in-residence and had presented a number of large-scale works that have generated much excitement and critical praise. His Arctic Symphony has been described “as a beautiful work that evokes the Far North in a very special way” (John Corigliano), and “a mature and atmospheric work that firmly establishes Ho among North American composers of note” (Winnipeg Free Press). His percussion concerto, titled The Shaman, composed for Dame Evelyn Glennie was hailed as a triumph, receiving unanimous acclaim and declared by critics as “Spectacular” (The New York Classical Review), “A powerhouse work” (The Winnipeg Free Press), and “Rocking/mesmerizing…downright gorgeous” (The Pittsburgh Gazette). His second concerto for Glennie titled From Darkness To Light, Ho’s musical response to the cancer illness, was lauded as “a lasting masterpiece of sensitivity and perception” (Winnipeg Free Press). His cello concerto, City Suite, composed for Canadian cellist Shauna Rolston, has received similar praise with critics calling it “Thrilling” (Windsor Star) and “Overflowing with striking ideas…The most successful piece heard at this year’s Festival” (Classical Voice America).

Born in Ottawa, Ontario in 1975, Vincent Ho began his musical training through Canada’s Royal Conservatory of Music where he earned his Associate Diploma in Piano Performance. He gained his Bachelor of Music from the University of Calgary, his Master of Music from the University of Toronto, and his Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of Southern California. His mentors have included Allan Bell, David Eagle, Christos Hatzis, Walter Buczynski, and Stephen Hartke. In 1997, he was awarded a scholarship to attend the Schola Cantorum Summer Composition Program in Paris, where he received further training in analysis, composition, counterpoint, and harmony, supervised by David Diamond, Philip Lasser, and Narcis Bonet.

In his free time, he enjoys running, reading, traveling, dancing, hiking, playing chess, and learning the keyboard works of Bach, Beethoven, Ravel, and Ligeti (among many others). He is also an enthusiast of old-time radio shows, photography, crime noir, Zen art, jazz, Jimi Hendrix, graphic novels, and Stanley Kubrick films.

Dr. Ho has taught at the University of Calgary and currently serves as Artistic Director to Land’s End Ensemble and New Music Advisor to the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra. His works are published and managed by Promethean Editions Ltd and Peters Edition.


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.

Guest lecturer

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.