Last update: Sep. 16, 2017


The Toronto Chinese Orchestra (TCO) is proud to announce a composition competition. This competition seeks to connect emerging Canadian composers with Chinese orchestral music in order to produce a new composition. Winning composer(s) will have their work premiered during the TCO’s 2017|2018 concert season, at their 25th Anniversary Gala Concert in June, 2018.


The competition is open to emerging Canadian composers (citizens or permanent residents). There are no age restrictions. Jurists, TCO artistic leadership, and TCO board of directors are ineligible to apply.

Application Process

Applicants to submit, by Aug. 1, 2017:

  1. A completed application form (PDF)
  2. A curriculum vitae detailing compositional background and, if applicable, compositions that have been performed, recorded, or published;
  3. A PDF of a compositional excerpt, between 2 – 3 minutes long, demonstrating proposed compositional ideas. Please make sure that there are no personally identifying features on the score (e.g., name). The excerpt should be written for a small ensemble of up to 11 players, consisting of the following:instruments:
    • Dizi 笛子
    • Yangqin 揚琴
    • Pipa 琵琶
    • Liuqin 柳琴 / Zhongruan 中阮 (1 player)
    • Gaohu 高胡 / Erhu 二胡 / Zhonghu 中胡 (2 players)
    • Cello
    • Double Bass
    • Percussion (3 players)
  4. Composers seeking information regarding score layout, ranges, notation, and techniques for these instruments can consult the Resources section of this page. For percussion, check TCO’s Youtube channel to see what we have used in concerts.
  5. An accompanying recording of the excerpt as MP3, if applicable. MIDI is acceptable.

A jury comprised of TCO artistic leadership and international guests will judge the applicants based on their excerpt. The adjudication will be done blind: a number will be assigned to each application package, and jurists will not have access to applicants’ identifying features until after decisions have been made. Jury decisions are final.

Winner(s) will be announced in September, 2017, and will be commissioned to write a work of approximately 7-10 minutes for the TCO. The final composition will likely be based on the excerpt, although this is not absolute. The TCO will also work with winner(s) to write a commissioning grant, and will provide coaching from the jury throughout the compositional process. Scores and parts should be ready by March 1, 2018.

Commissioned pieces will be premiered at the TCO’s annual concert in June 24, 2018.

Winner(s) will receive:

  1. An archival recording of the performance
  2. An honorarium of $200 (more depending on outcome of commissioning grant)


Completed application packages should be sent electronically to Please include any audio/video as links to streaming sites (e.g., YouTube).


Score layout, tuning and ranges for the specified competition instrumentation

Competition Jury

Elaine Choi, TCO Conductor

Elaine Choi contributes to Toronto’s vibrant choral community as a conductor, educator, and accompanist. She is currently Conductor of the Toronto Chinese Orchestra and Director of Music at the Timothy Eaton Memorial Church. As a music educator, Elaine works as a faculty member at the National Music Camp and as a guest coach at The York School and Rosedale Heights School of the Arts. Additionally, Elaine is the Co-Founder and Co-Conductor of Windago, an ensemble of wind instruments and SATB chorus.

Elaine’s early music studies began on the piano and violin. She is also proficient on the erhu. Elaine earned her BMus in Music Education (2008) and a MMus in Music Performance, specializing in Choral Conducting (2010) at the University of Toronto. She has also earned an ATCL (1999), an AmusTCL Diploma (2001) in Piano Performance from the Trinity College of Music, London, and an Advanced Certificate (2000) from ABRSM, England. She is a three-time recipient of the Elmer Iseler Fellowship in Choral Conducting (2008, 2009, 2014) and a finalist in the Sir Ernest MacMillan Foundation Fellowship Award in Choral Conducting (2012). In 2014, Elaine began her doctoral study in choral conducting at the University of Toronto under the tutelage of Dr. Hilary Apfelstadt. At the present, she directs the University of Toronto Women’s Chorus and serves as President Elect on the board of Choirs Ontario.

Matthew Poon, TCO Conductor

Matthew Poon is currently music director of the SCBC Chamber Orchestra and conductor of the Toronto Chinese Orchestra. Previously he served as assistant conductor of the Kindred Spirits, the McMaster University Choir and Women’s Vocal Ensemble. Matthew is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in music theory at the University of Toronto. He earned a bachelor of music from McMaster University, an ARCT in piano performance from the Royal Conservatory of Music, and master’s degrees in conducting and music theory from the University of Toronto. Matthew’s musical interests extend beyond conducting into composing and arranging, music cognition research, and teaching, where he maintains a studio both privately in Markham and with Arcadia Academy of Music in Richmond Hill.

Tony K.T. Leung, TCO Composer-in-Residence

Tony K.T. Leung is a Toronto based composer whose music has been performed and broadcast worldwide by leading contemporary music ensembles. Recordings of works by the composer include CD releases from Luxembourg Sinfonietta, ERMMedia, and Canadian Electroacoustic Community.

Born in Hong Kong, Tony discovered music through his first instrument, the erhu, and later the cello. As a youth, he arranged music for a Chinese orchestra, which sparked an early interest in western music and composition. From 1989 to 1992, he studied composition privately with University of Toronto Professor Chan Ka Nin. He received further training through workshops with Arraymusic, Conductors Guild, Esprit Orchestra, National Arts Centre, Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra, and New Adventures in Sound Art. Other performers of his music include Sound of Dragon Ensemble, Little Giant Chinese Chamber Orchestra, Hong Kong New Music Ensemble, Windpipe Chinese Music Ensemble, Vancouver Chinese Music Ensemble, Vienna Saxophone Quartet, Motion Ensemble, York Symphony Orchestra, and Regina Symphony Orchestra.

Alice Ho, Toronto-based Composer
One of the most acclaimed composers writing in Canada today, Hong Kong-born Alice Ping Yee Ho has written in many musical genres and received numerous national and international awards, including the 2016 Louis Applebaum Composers Award, 2014 Prince Edward Island Symphony Composers Competition, 2014 Kitchener Waterloo Symphony Friendship Orchestral Composition Competition, 2013 Dora Mavor Moore Award “Outstanding Original Opera” for her opera Lesson of Da Ji, 2013 Boston Metro Opera International Composition Competition, K.M. Hunter Artist Award, du Maurier Arts Ltd. Canadian Composers Competition, MACRO International Composition Competition, Luxembourg Sinfonietta International Composition Prize, and International League of Women Composers Competition. Her work “Glistening Pianos” for two pianos (Centrediscs label) was nominated for the 2015 JUNO Award Classical Composition of the Year. A new disc for her opera “The Lesson of Da Ji” was released by Centrediscs/Naxos label in Nov., 2015.

Often featured at national and international new music festivals such as ISCM World Music Days, Ottawa Chamberfest, Demark’s CRUSH New Music Festival, Asian Music Week in Japan, etc. her works have also been performed by major ensembles and soloists including Finnish Lapland Chamber Orchestra, Esprit Orchestra, China National Symphony, Shanghai Philharmonic Orchestra, Polish Radio Choir; the Toronto, Vancouver, Winnipeg, Victoria, and Windsor Symphonies; the Luxembourg Sinfonietta, Le Nouvel Ensemble Moderne, Penderecki String Quartet, percussionists Sumire Yoshihara and Beverley Johnston, violist Rivka Golani, and St. John’s Duo Concertante. Her discography includes releases on the Centrediscs, Blue Griffin, Electra and Phoenix labels.

Ms. Ho holds a Bachelor of Music degree in composition with high distinction from Indiana University and a Master of Music degree in composition from the University of Toronto. Her teachers have included John Eaton (USA), Brian Ferneyhough (Germany), and John Beckwith (Canada).

Lan Chee Lam, Chinese University of Hong Kong Composer-in-Residence

Lan-chee Lam is the winner of the prestigious award, Grand Prix of the 19th George Enescu International Composition Competition (Symphonic Section) in Romania, 2009. Her music often combines Chinese tradition and contemporary technique, exploring new dimensions of sound world. Born in Hong Kong, graduated from the Chinese University of Hong Kong (B.A.) and University of Toronto (M.Mus., D.M.A.), her works have been performed all over Asia, Europe and North America. She is currently appointed as the Composer in Residence at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and instructor at LCSD Advanced Music Composition Training Project.

Dr. Lam has awarded top prizes in 2008 Luxembourg International Composition Competition, Nieuw Ensmeble’s Second Chinese Composers’ Competition, 2011 Taiwan Music Centre International Composition Competition (chamber music and NCO Award) and 2012 Ding Yi International Composition Competition. Her music has been performed by Hong Kong City Chamber Orchestra, Luxembourg Sinfonietta, Nieuw Ensemble, Nouvel Ensemble Moderne, Bang On a Can, MOLDOVA Philharmonic Orchestra and Little Giant Chinese Chamber Orchestra.

Dr. Lam has received commissions from Laurel Ensemble, New York Transit Ensemble, Chinese Music Virtuosi and Hong Kong Sinfonietta. She was invited to present works at major music festivals, including the 6th Annual Concert New Music Festival, the 3rd Cortona Contemporary Music Festival, Beijing International Congress on Women in Music, Asian Contemporary Music Festival, Yogyakata Contemporary Music Festival, Europalia Festival and George Enescu Festival.

Alfred Wong, Hong Kong-based Composer

Born in Hong Kong, Wong’s music has been received ‘2014 CASH Golden Sail Music Awards – Best Serious Composition’, awarded Bronze in the ‘Xinyi Cup’ for distinctive works for Chinese orchestra by young composers, etc. In recent years, he is active in writing Chinese instrumental music with more than a hundred output, including theatre music The Eight Immortals’ Adventures and The Eight Immortals’ Adventures Prequel. Recent composition includes “1894 Hong Kong Plague – a Musical”. Besides, Wong often serves as a conductor, he has been invited to conduct in Taiwan, Guangzhou and Malaysia. Received his master degree in the Chinese University of Hong Kong, he is currently teaching at The Education University of Hong Kong, the School of Continuing and Professional Studies, The Chinese University of Hong Kong and the School of Professional and Continuing Education, The University of Hong Kong.