Soundstreams showcases the work of Canadian and international composers through innovative musical experiences.

Emerging Composer Workshop

About the Emerging Composer Workshop

2016 participant with visiting mentor Steve Reich

Entering its sixth year in 2018, Soundstreams’ annual Emerging Composer Workshop (ECW) is a 10-day intensive mentorship program that supports talented young composers in launching their careers. Each year the Workshop hosts both an international and Canadian mentor composer, as well as a professional resident ensemble. The Workshop adopts a holistic model, featuring a vibrant array of rehearsals, seminars, networking, professional development activities, and a public showcase of new works created during the Workshop.

Workshop Dates

May 30 – June 8, 2018

2018 Mentors

David Lang

The 2018 ECW will host David Lang as international mentor composer, whose Pulitzer Prize-winning Little Match Girl Passion will also feature on Soundstreams’ Main Stage on June 6 & 7 at Crow’s Theatre. Lang is one of the most highly esteemed American composers writing today. His works have been performed around the world and in many of the great concert halls. Lang’s music is used regularly in ballet and dance productions around the world by such choreographers as Twyla Tharp, Susan Marshall, Edouard Lock, and Benjamin Millepied. Lang’s film work includes the score for Jonathan Parker’s (Untitled), the music for the award-winning documentary The Woodmans, and the string arrangements for Requiem for a Dream, performed by the Kronos Quartet. His music is also on the soundtrack for Paolo Sorrentino’s Oscar-winning La Grande Bellezza and the director’s upcoming film, La Giovinezza. In addition to his work as a composer, Lang co-founded Bang on a Can, a prominent new music festival in New York. He is Professor of Composition at the Yale School of Music.

James Rolfe

Canadian composer James Rolfe will be the ECW’s local mentor in 2018. Based in Toronto, Rolfe has been commissioned and performed by ensembles, orchestras, choirs, theatres, and opera companies in Canada, the USA, Europe, Asia, Australia, and New Zealand. He has received numerous awards including a Guggenheim Fellowship, the K. M. Hunter Music Award, the Louis Applebaum Composers Award, and the Outstanding Choral Work Award from the Association of Canadian Choral Communities. The Queen of Puddings Music Theatre Company production of Rolfe’s opera Beatrice Chancy played to sold-out houses and rave reviews in Toronto, Dartmouth, and Edmonton. Elijah’s Kite, an opera for children, was co-produced in New York by Tapestry Opera and the Manhattan School of Music, and given its Canadian premiere before the Governor-General at Rideau Hall. His opera Swoon was premiered by the Canadian Opera Company, which commissioned a new opera, Crush, mounted in a workshop production at The Banff Centre in July 2015. Rolfe will also premiere a new work on Soundstreams’ Little Match Girl Passion program in June 2018.

2018 Resident Ensemble

soprano, baritone, piano, violin and cello.

Workshop focus: music with text, either sung, spoken or implied.

Participants will be tasked with writing a piece of music for one singer (either soprano or baritone), with the other singer playing simple percussion only, and ensemble.


Applications are now closed for the 2018 Workshops. You can learn more about this year’s participants here.

Who should apply?

We are looking for contemporary composers with exceptional artistic merit, who have completed their basic graduate studies and are in the process of launching their professions. We welcome applicants from around the world, however classes are conducted in English only.


Thanks to our generous sponsors and donors, there are no tuition fees to attend the workshop, and participant accommodations are provided free of charge. Travel to and from the workshop is the sole responsibility of the applicant.

Questions or comments?

Please email Emma Fowler, Director of Outreach and Artistic Planning at [email protected].

The Soundstreams Emerging Composer Workshop is made possible with generous support from The Koerner Foundation, RBC Emerging Artists Project, The Catherine & Maxwell Meighen Foundation, The Canadian Music Centre, The Hal Jackman Foundation, SOCAN Foundation, The Lloyd-Carr Harris Foundation, and Manulife Financial.

Soundstreams’ Emerging Composer Workshop Showcase is presented in honour of Jim Doherty, and his timeless dedication to investing in young talent.