Programs for Student Musicians

On this page: → Glenn Mallory Scholarship→ DVO-HAALSA Young Musician Award→ DVO Student Composer Competition

Glenn Mallory Scholarship

Each season, the DVO makes a special award available the student members of our orchestra. The Glenn Mallory Scholarship, named in honour of one of our past conductors, is given to a student in the DVO who makes a significant contribution to the orchestra on stage and behind the scenes.

DVO-HAALSA Young Musician Award

Every year, the Hamilton Association for the Advancement of Literature, Science and Art (HAALSA), under the auspices of the Dundas Valley Orchestra (DVO), gives out an award to a young promising musician from the Greater Hamilton Area. The winner will receive a cash prize and will have the opportunity to perform with the DVO at one of its concerts. If teachers and students wish to express their interest please contact DVO at:

2023 contest information

DVO-HAALSA Young Musician Winners

  • 2023 - Victoria Zeng, Piano
  • 2022 - Nirvaan Grewal, Cello
  • 2021 - Gabriel Klassen, Voice
  • 2020 - Aanya Grewal, Flute
  • 2019 - Max Chen, Trombone
  • 2018 - Hannah Thompson, Clarinet
  • 2017 - Amelia McNiven Fontani, Violin
  • 2016 - Philip Darley, Cello
  • 2015 - Lindsey Rynders, Oboe

2023 DVO-HAALSA Young Musician winner: Victoria Zeng

Victoria Zeng

Victoria Zeng is a dedicated pianist studying under the tutelage of Lang-Ning Liu at the Phil and Eli Taylor Academy of the Royal Conservatory of Music. She is passionate about her craft, and enjoys exploring and broadening her perspectives within all facets of music. She has had the pleasure of working with many respected professors, including Stanislav Ioudenitch, Alan Hobbins, Robert Shannon, Stewart Goodyear, and Haewon Song, among others. Victoria has also won awards and participated in many festivals, competitions, and programs, most notably the Claudette Sorel Fellows Program, Oberlin Piano Festival, CMC National Competition, OYMI Competition, as well as being invited to the Amalfi Coast Festival, and the PYPA Festival as a Program Young Artist. She is the current pianist of the Oakville Symphony Youth Orchestra, as well as the Westmount Jazz Ensemble. Outside of her musical pursuits, Victoria enjoys going skiing, taking pictures, and is an avid mindfulness enthusiast.

2022 DVO-HAALSA Young Musician winner: Nirvaan Grewal

Nirvaan Grewal

Nirvaan Grewal, a high school student with an immense passion for the cello, is an incredible musical talent. He has completed his Grade 10 RCM certification and placed first in both Grade 7 and 8 Lower Strings Ontario Music Festivals Association (OMFA) Provincials. A long-time member of the Hamilton Philharmonic Youth Orchestra (HPYO), the youngest member of Sinfonia Ancaster, and an artist in the community, Nirvaan’s musicianship is versatile and varied. He plays with an exceptionally mature sound, expressing mood and evoking emotion through his deep connection with the music.

2021 DVO-HAALSA Young Musician winner: Gabriel Klassen

Gabriel Klassen

Gabriel Klassen is a second-year Bass-Baritone studying classical voice at the University of Toronto. Between the ages of 15 and 18, he studied with Roland Fix at the Hamilton Conservatory for the Arts, and he is now studying under Wendy Nielsen at the University of Toronto. Gabriel has had many solo and choral performance opportunities; most recently, he has performed as a soloist in the Songs of the Season concert in Walter Hall at the University of Toronto, and in Eternity - a concert held by the Hamilton Children’s Choir. Alongside solo training and performances, Gabriel has participated in many choirs, including The Hamilton Children’s Choir, University of Toronto’s Tenor Bass Chorus, and most recently, the Macmillan Singers. In the summer of 2019, he had the opportunity to perform internationally with the Hamilton Children’s Choir as a showcase choir at the World Youth & Children’s Choir Festival, held in Hong Kong.

2020 DVO-HAALSA Young Musician winner: Aanya Grewal, Flute

Aanya Grewal

Aanya Grewal is a Grade 11 student at Hillfield Strathallan College in Hamilton, Ontario and has been playing the flute for 13 years. Her passion for music has been demonstrated in the Hamilton Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, where she has played for 5 years as principal flute, the Hamilton Children’s Choir Illumini and most recently, the Toronto Youth Symphonic Winds. She is a regular Kiwanis Festival participant, an RCM gold medalist as well as an OMFA Provincials finalist. A past member of the Westmount Wind Orchestra, and the HSC Wind Symphony, Aanya is a strong contributor to her school music program. Aanya is extremely excited to be playing with the DVO and is very grateful for this opportunity.

2019 DVO-HAALSA Young Musician winner: Max Chen, Trombone

Max Chen

Max Chen is a grade 11 student at Nelson High School in Burlington, Ontario. He has been playing the trombone for 6 years and is an aspiring classical musician. He has played in numerous exclusive honour ensembles across Canada, including the 2018 and 2019 Ontario Provincial Honour Band and the 2019 Denis Wick Canadian Wind Orchestra. He recently travelled to England and France in 2019 as a section leader with the Burlington Teen Tour Band to commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day, as well as to California in the 2018 Tournament of Roses Parade. Max is active at Nelson High School’s music program, playing in their ensembles as well as leading the jazz big band, and he is also playing with the Toronto Youth Symphonic Winds.

DVO Student Composer Competition

2024 Student Composer Competition

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

2024 Call for Submissions

Update October 2023: Note that the email address to submit has changed to

The Dundas Valley Orchestra is accepting compositions (suggested length: 5 to 8 minutes) by students currently enrolled in a Canadian educational institution (secondary or post-secondary, full or part time).

Past DVO Student Composer Winners

2018 DVO Student Composer winner: Amy Brandon: 3 Portraits for Orchestra

Amy Brandon

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 DVO Student Composer winner: Timo Pehkonen: Shapes of Things to Come

Timo Pehkonen

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 DVO Student Composer winner: Yuang Chen: Le porcelet de valse

Yuang Chen

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 DVO Student Composer winner: Christopher Barletta: L’eroe e il cattivo

See 2013

2014 DVO Student Composer winner: Simon Servida: Clashing Colours

Simon Servida

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 DVO Student Composer winner: Christopher Barletta: Relative Flutes

Christopher Barletta

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.