The 2018 Graham Sommer Competition for Young Composers (GSC) is open to Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada who are under the age of 35 on the application deadline date (for the 2018 competition that means born after December 1, 1982).
All submitted works must be 100% original.

Competition dates

  • Application deadline: December 1, 2017, at 11:59 PM EST
  • Finalists selected: By February 15, 2018
  • Finalists submit commissioned work (full score and individual parts): August 1, 2018, by 11:59 PM EST
  • Finalists arrive in Montreal: September 23, 2018
  • Final concert round: September 29, 2018


The commissioned works of all finalists will be premiered at the Schulich School of Music of McGill University. The concert will be webcast.

  • 1st Prize: $15,000 CAD
  • 2nd Prize $10,000 CAD
  • 3rd Prize: $5,000 CAD
  • 4th Prize: $5,000 CAD
  • 5th Prize: $5,000 CAD
  • People's Choice Award of $5,000 CAD

Application procedure

All official competition communications will be by email.

You must fill out the online application form and include:

  • Proof of age and Canadian citizenship or permanent residency status. The following are acceptable documents: birth certificate, passport, citizenship certificate, or permanent resident card.
  • An up-to-date curriculum vitae and a biography of 250-300 words.
  • Scores for three (3) original works (in PDF format), each from 3-15 minutes long, with accompanying program notes (in PDF format). Since the final round of competition will be a commission for a piano quintet (piano and string quartet), we strongly recommended that one of your three preliminary submissions be in chamber music formation for strings or strings with piano.
  • An audio OR video media file link for one of your submitted works. Aim for the most professional standard possible. Before you send it, check that the link is working and can be read with any standard player. Links for Soundcloud (audio) and YouTube (video) are recommended.

The GSC reserves the right, prior to jury review, to dismiss submissions that do not meet these requirements prior to jury review.

Travel to Montreal

If you are selected as a finalist, you will be required to be in Montreal from September 23 to September 30, 2018 inclusive, to rehearse with the ensemble and to attend the final concert.

Your travel and accommodation costs will be covered by the Competition. You will also receive a per diem. The Competition will not cover any costs for persons accompanying you to Montreal for the Competition.

Commissioned composition for final concert round

  • Finalists must compose an original work for piano quintet (piano and string quartet). The work must be 8 to 12 minutes long.
  • The use of extended performance techniques such as pizzicato and glissando are permitted, but preparation of the piano or string instruments - including re-tuning (scordatura), as well as use of electronics or soundtracks is not permitted. (modified Nov. 10, 2017)
  • The GSC will provide one professional ensemble to perform all of the works at the final concert, which will be webcast.
  • The ensemble will have ten (10) hours of rehearsal on a finalist's work prior to the performance.
  • You will have two (2) hours to work with the musicians between September 23 and 28, 2018.
  • The commissioned work may not be performed in public by another ensemble in advance of the GSC. It must be premiered on September 29, 2018.

Application Form

The deadline to apply is December 1, 2017 at 11:59pm EST....