Programs for Student Musicians

Programs for Student Musicians

DVO Student Composer Competition

The Dundas Valley Orchestra holds an annual competition for student composers.


2018 - Amy Brandon: 3 Portraits for Orchestra

Photo credit: Pixelcraft

Holding degrees in jazz guitar performance and composition, guitarist Amy Brandon is currently completing an interdisciplinary PhD in music cognition at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. She has performed in Canada, the USA, Brazil, Australia, New Zealand,and the UK and festivals including ISIM, BeAST FeAST and NYCEMF. She has been invited to write for improvising and chamber ensembles including SNIM (Austria), Caution Tape Sound Collective(CAN), Black Sheep Contemporary Ensemble (USA) and Vox London Collective (UK).

Awards include the National Sawdust Hildegard Initiative (2018 Honourable Mention), nominations for Music Nova Scotia and ECMA awards for her jazz-electroacoustic album 'Scavenger' as well as the 2017 Roberta Stephen Award from the Association of Canadian Women Composers. In addition to performance and composition, she writes and presents academic workconcerning music cognition, virtual reality, improvisation and the guitar. She has presented her work at Berklee College of Music in Boston and at conferences in Australia, USA, Switzerland, Hungary and the UK.

2017 - Timo Pehkonen: Shapes of Things to Come

Timo Pehkonen was born in 1992 in Thunder Bay, Ontario. He is currently a music student at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay. Along with composing, he is a private piano/guitar teacher and drummer for recording/touring band, Android 16. Pehkonen was recently accepted into the Masters of Music Composition program at University of Victoria, where he will attend in September 2017.

2016 - Yuang Chen: Le porcelet de valse

Yuang Chen (age 19) is an award winning, emerging Canadian composer for orchestral works. Founder and chief composer of music production/soundtracking company “Seycara Music And Arts”, Yuang focuses on not only continuing the tradition of accessible, orchestra art music in concert setting, but bringing this tradition back into soundtracks for film and video games as well.

In 2014, his submission “Ouverture Diabolique” was deemed the best overall contest piece in the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra nation wide open call for scores from emerging comsers by Gary Kulesha and Kevin Lau. As a current student of composer Marjan Mozetich at Queen’s University, Yuang has also studied previously with Robert Rival, Maya Badian and Colin Mack.

2015 - Christopher Barletta: L’eroe e il cattivo

See 2013

2014 - Simon Servida: Clashing Colours

Simon Servida grew up in Scarborough, Ontario, where he started studying music at the age of 7. He has studied piano for over ten years and also plays flute. He is currently a student at the University of Guelph where he is enrolled in the Bachelor of Arts in Music Program.

His interest in composition grew out of his experiments making up hip-hop beats and led eventually into orchestral music. As a composer, he is interested in the work of many film scorers like Hans Zimmer, John Powell, and Thomas Newman. After completing his studies, Mr. Servida hopes to pursue a career in film scoring.

2013 - Christopher Barletta: Relative Flutes

Christopher Barletta (b. 1992) was born in Hamilton Ontario, where he attended Sherwood Secondary School. He is currently a music student at Brock University studying percussion performance.

As a performer, Christopher is a percussionist with the Brock University Wind Ensemble, Founder and bassist of the Brock University Jazz Band, percussionist with the Niagara Youth Orchestra, as well as the percussionist for the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry Band where he holds the rank of Private in the Canadian Forces Reserves.

As a composer, Christopher draws his influence from the late classical-early romantic era as well as contemporary composers. Christopher has written several pieces for solo instrument and small ensembles. His works have been featured in student films, theatrical productions and concert performances. They have also been used by some of his colleagues for auditions and examinations.

Christopher Barletta wrote Relative Flutes as a way of playing with the juxtaposition of major and minor tonalities while simultaneously combining equally contrasting melodies and themes to create a joyful yet mysterious sound.