Welcome to ECM's Early and Mid-Career Composer Festival

Our 6-week festival comprises of writing a new work collaborating with our ensemble-in-residence and mentor (with audio and video premiere recordings), with lectures and composition mentorship, as well as readings and feedback of your pieces. 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)

  • opt in to our 5-week intensive Orchestration Workshop (composing short excerpts with weekly readings and feedback): visit ORCHShop page

  • Become an alumni MEMBER (free of charge) - see Membership benefits

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

  • 6-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

PhoeNX Ensemble

Patty Chan - Erhu
Music Director & Published Author in over 30 Countries

Sanya Eng - Harp
One of Canada’s most sought-after Harpists of her Generation

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.

CompserFEST (Fall)

About the Festival

Our festival is a 5-week mentorship and ensemble collaboration program. Up to eight (8) composers will be selected to produce new works for our ensemble-in-residence, this round being works for Erhu and Harp 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. 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 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)

  • Wednesday September 28 at 10am: Harp and Erhu instrument demonstrations by the ensemble

  • Thursday September 29: Composers begin writing for the duo (start sketches) and in contact with Mentor

  • Monday October 3: Orchestration workshop begins and runs twice a week for 5 weeks (10 meetings): refer to orchestration schedule (for those who chose to opt in to the program)

  • Friday October 7: @11am-12:30pm, Lecture on Composition and Notation by Dr. Daniel Mehdizadeh (composition, technique, texture, orchestration & idiomatic writing, notation standards: Score & Part preparation)

  • Monday October 10: first drafts due (in preparation of readings)

  • Thursday October 13 at 11:30am: Ensemble Workshop First Reading

  • Monday October 17 at 12pm: Talks on Finding your Voice with Guest Lecturer Dr. Vincent Ho

  • Monday October 24: second drafts due (in preparation of readings)

  • Monday October 31 at 12pm: Ensemble Workshop Second Reading

  • Monday October 31: Final SCORES AND PARTS due (in preparation for premieres)

  • Wednesday November 2: @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)

  • Ensemble prepares final pieces during the month of November in preparation for early December recordings - premieres to be set for shortly after recording and production of videos


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
Tuition: $950 CAD
Submission deadline: September 15, 2022
Send everything to:
Email Subject line should read: composerFEST

Have questions? Send us an email:

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

Watch our previous festival premieres

More about our Mentors

Patty Chan

Music Director & Published Author in over 30 Countries

Patty Chan is a second generation Chinese Canadian erhu musician, educator, and author. She is the Music Director of the Toronto Chinese Orchestra, Co-Founder of the cross- cultural PhoeNX Ensemble, and Director of Centre for Music Innovations (

As an erhu musician, Patty has collaborated with many ensembles and organizations, including the Strings of St. John’s, Red Snow Collective, the Toronto Masque Theatre, and the Canadian Children’s Opera Company. She has performed in world premieres of theatre/opera productions such as Red Snow (2012), The Lesson of Da Ji (2013), Comfort (2016), and The Monkiest King (2018). Patty’s composition, Redemption: The Chan Kol Nidre (2015) for erhu and viola da gamba has been added to the archives at the Beit Hatfutsot in Tel Aviv, a museum for the Jewish people.

Patty has taught erhu and Chinese music at York University, Ryerson University, and Carleton University. She has led and participated in music exchanges and tours in Canada and Asia. Patty has written several books about the erhu that have sold in over 30 countries, and a storybook in three languages about Chinese instruments for children. She is currently creating a Chinese music database for English readers at the Centre for Music Innovations in partnership with the Little Giant Chinese Chamber Orchestra in Taiwan. Her focus continues to be forging cultural connections through music.

Sanya Eng


One of Canada’s most sought-after Harpists of her Generation

Sanya Eng is one of Canada’s most sought-after harpists of her generation, equally celebrated as a soloist, chamber, and orchestral musician. A dynamic and sensitive performer, she has been described as “an outstanding musical talent” (Jerusalem Post), “remarkably polished” (Globe and Mail) and “dazzling with her delicate and intense command of the harp” (Musical Toronto).

She has been a featured soloist in many festivals and concert series throughout North America, Europe, Israel, Asia, and Africa. As an active chamber and orchestral musician, she performs regularly with ensembles such as the Canadian Opera Company, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra, the National Arts Centre Orchestra, Esprit Orchestra, Continuum, New Music Concerts, Soundstreams, the St. Michael’s Boys’ Choir, the Toronto Children’s Chorus, and the Canadian Children’s Opera Chorus.

Sanya is passionately dedicated to New Music and has personally commissioned and premiered countless works by both Canadian and international composers. She has recorded for Naxos, Centrediscs, CBC Records, Canadian Art Song Project, hatART, ClassXdiscs, and Orange Mountain Music.

Most recently, in collaboration with internationally renowned erhu player Patty Chan, Sanya co-founded PhoeNX Ensemble, a new cross-cultural mixed chamber ensemble pairing East Asian and Western instruments. Based in Toronto, Canada, the vision of PhoeNX Ensemble is to explore, promote, and expand the East/West mixed-musical medium through performances, educational workshops, commissioning, and cross-disciplinary collaborations. Each concert has an arc of experience. Programmes are based upon compelling stories of true history, traditional mythology, or tales of life-lessons learned through fables. With music ranging from time-honoured, Eastern-oriented classics to freshly commissioned contemporary new music, the audience is treated to a journey across cultures, languages, borders, and time.... and ultimately: a journey of hope and inspiration.

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 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.