Composer in Residence Competition

Students in the Composer-in-Residence program work closely with one of our ensembles and become intimately acquainted with their sound, idiomatic characteristics, technical level and rehearsal techniques. This collaboration culminates in the creation of a composition, performed by the ensemble at the end of the residency. 

Application deadline

Beginning of December. The exact date is confirmed yearly via email to all composition students.

Application process

Before applying, ensure that your class schedule doesn't conflict with the regular rehearsal schedule of the ensemble you want to collaborate with.

Submit a detailed dossier to the Composition Area Chair. Include:

  • Names of up to three ensembles you'd like to work with, in order of preference.
  • Two scores (hard copies).
  • Recordings, if available, of your two compositions (CDs or links to SoundCloud or other website).


This competition is open to full-time undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in composition programs at McGill University.

Selection criteria

Selection criteria includes:

  • Completeness of the application.
  • The pedagogical impact of the residency on the student's development.
  • The suitability of the requested ensembles to the student's work.

Preference in the selection process is given to doctoral students, then master's students, then undergraduate students.

Residency requirements

First year (beginning in January)

If you are selected for a residency, you must attend all full and sectional rehearsals and all concerts of the ensemble.

  • In preparation for rehearsals, study relevant scores in detail.
  • The Composition Area Chair will check on your attendance periodically and may revoke your residency if attendance is deemed insufficient.

Second year (beginning in September)

  • Attend all rehearsals of the ensemble.
  • Begin and complete a composition to be performed in the winter semester.
  • Submit your score to the Composition Area Chair by the last day of classes in the term before the performance.
  • Submit a complete set of parts (free of charge) to the Composition Area Chair or the performance librarian by the first day of classes in the term in which the work will be performed. The Faculty will photocopy it as needed. These parts must be clearly written, free of errors and must contain bar numbers and/or rehearsal letters.

The precise instrumentation, duration and degree of difficulty of your composition will be decided in consultation with the Ensemble Director and communicated to the Composition Area Chair.


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