Art Song Composers Mentorship Programme

Steven Philcox and Lawrence Wiliford, the Co-artistic Directors of CASP, announce a series of grants to support new and emerging composers during this difficult time of COVID-19 isolation.

Two grants of $2000 will be awarded in each of the next three years. The successful applicants will be expected to create three Art Songs (free-standing poems set to music – read more about Art Song here), roughly 10 to 12 minutes in total, within eight months of the agreed start date. As part of the programme the applicant will be paired with a recognized Canadian Art Song composer who will act as Mentor throughout the process. The Mentors will provide guidance and support. This program is open to Canadian citizens and permanent residents of Canada.

The Canadian Art Song Project is a registered charity organization with a 10-year history of engaging composers, poets, and performers in the shared goal of preserving, promoting, and building Canada’s rich body of Art Song literature. Our recently released recording Healey Willan: Summer Night and Other Songs for Voice and Piano was nominated for a 2020 JUNO Award. Past CASP-commissioned composers have included Afarin Mansouri, Ana Sokolović, Jeffrey Ryan, and Marjan Mozetich, among others.

In addition to seeking applications from graduates of composition programmes, those in post-graduate composition programmes and/or other emerging freelance composers who wish to advance their skills in the writing of Art Song, we welcome applications from composers from non-traditional or non-classical backgrounds.

Over the past 18 months CASP has been engaging in public conversations that have explored the voices of our diverse cultures and their relationship to Art Song in Canada. It is hoped that this Mentorship Programme will enrich and re-imagine the writing of Art Song in Canada by engaging racialized artists to bring their lived experiences into this evolving art form in a collaborative and open environment. To this end, we strongly encourage applications from racialized communities.

Deadline for Applications was February 28, 2021. Results are coming soon!

Mentorship Program Jury

  • Rebecca Hass: mezzo-soprano, Director of Community Engagement – Pacific Opera Victoria
  • Nathalie Paulin: soprano, Faculty – University of Toronto
  • Steven Philcox: pianist, head of collaborative piano- University of Toronto, Co-Artistic Director- CASP
  • Jordan de Souza: conductor (Erster Kapellmeister – Komische Oper Berlin), pianist
  • Peter Tiefenbach: composer, pianist, vocal coach, Faculty – The Glenn Gould School
  • Leslie Uyeda: composer, pianist, vocal coach
  • Lawrence Wiliford: tenor, Co-Artistic Director- CASP

Rebecca Hass

Rebecca Hass is a citizen of the Métis Nation of British Columbia and is of mixed European descent.  A graduate of Wilfrid Laurier University with an Honours Bachelor in Music and Voice Performance, she has enjoyed an over 30-year career as a mezzo soprano performing across Canada with almost every opera company and orchestra as a soloist and lead performer.  She has been a creative participant in many workshops for new works including several seasons with the Lib Lab-Tapestry New Opera Works; Lillian Alling, Vancouver Opera; Missing, Pacific Opera.  Recent projects of note include her appearance with the Vancouver and Calgary Symphonies for performances of Afghanistan: Requiem for a Generation, by Canadian composer Jeffery Ryan and her personal music and story- telling show “Sauvage”. Currently, as Director of Civic Engagement for Pacific Opera she manages a residency program for new works, and a civically engaged emerging artist program.

Nathalie Paulin

Soprano Nathalie Paulin has established herself in the United States, Canada, Europe and the Far East as an interpretive artist of the very first rank. Winner of a Dora Mavor Moore Award for Outstanding Opera Performance, she has collaborated with internationally renowned conductors including Kent Nagano and Yannick Nézet-Séguin on both the concert platform and in opera. She is a past winner of the Montréal Symphony Competition. She has also received awards and prizes from the George London Foundation in New York, the Young Mozart Singers’ Competition in Toronto, and the Canadian Music Competition.  Still active as a performer, Nathalie Paulin is an assistant professor (teaching voice, French Mélodie, and Advanced French Lyric Diction), at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Music. Nathalie has also been on faculty at VISI (Vancouver International Song Institute), Orford Music (Quebec), the Barachois Musical Summer Academy (New Brunswick) and at the Stratford Summer Music Vocal Academy.

Steven Philcox – coArtistic Director, Canadian Art Song Project

Jordan de Souza

Canadian conductor Jordan de Souza is quickly making his mark on orchestras and theatres internationally and has been First Kapellmeister of the Komische Oper Berlin from 2017-2020.

Born in Toronto, Jordan studied conducting at McGill University and the Conservatoire de musique de Montréal, making his conducting debut aged 20 with Bach’s St John Passion. After graduating, he joined the McGill faculty from 2011 to 2015 and went on to conduct several important choral works including the St. Matthew Passion, Christmas Oratorio, Mass in B-Minor, and the Requiems of Verdi, Mozart, and Fauré.  During this time, he was also Conductor in Residence of Tapestry Opera in Toronto, conducting the world premieres of three full-length operas.

Jordan made his debut in 2015 for the Canadian Opera Company, conducting their Claus Guth production of Le nozze di Figaro, and the following year he was invited to join the staff of the Komische Oper, Berlin.

Peter Tiefenbach

Peter Tiefenbach is a pianist, composer and vocal coach, though he’s also worked as an organist, conductor, broadcaster, writer, actor and singer.  A native of Regina, he studied music in Canada, the U.S. and England, before settling in Toronto in 1986.   

Self-taught as a composer, his first major commission was Opening Day, for the 1991 Guelph Spring Festival.  In 1994, he was nominated for a Juno for Best Classical Composition (Three Poems).

In 1997, following several years as a broadcaster with CBC Radio Music, he joined the faculty of the new Glenn Gould School at the Royal Conservatory of Music, where he is a vocal coach and music director of the school’s annual Chamber Opera.

His commissions include works for Canadian Art Song Project, CBC Radio Music, Debut Atlantic, Saskatoon Children’s Choir, Canadian Brass, Elora Festival Singers, Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, Toronto Orpheus Choir, Stratford Summer Music & Ottawa Chamberfest.

Leslie Uyeda

Composer, conductor and pianist Leslie Uyeda was born in Montréal and lives in Vancouver. She has been coach/pianist/conductor/chorus director with the Canadian Opera Company, L’Opéra de Montréal, Manitoba Opera, Edmonton Opera, Opera Hamilton, the Banff Centre, the Chautauqua Institute of Music NY, and Vancouver Opera, where she also conducted several main stage productions. Recent commissions/world premièresinclude Empress Jitō Dances; two song cycles for soprano and piano – Midnight Watch and A Quiet Place; three songs for young voices and piano; Three Lorca Songs for soprano, harp and percussion; Your Breath, My Breath: Dialogue for a Mother and Daughter; Would You Ask Me? and Corona Isolata. Upcoming performances include a new work for soprano, piano and dancer. In 2022 her opera When the Sun Comes Out will be produced by Portland Opera. Her music has been published by the Avondale Press, now held within the Canadian Music Centre.

Lawrence Wiliford – coArtistic Director, Canadian Art Song Project

Lauded for his luminous projection, lyrical sensitivity, and brilliant coloratura, American-Canadian tenor Lawrence Wiliford is in high demand in concert, opera, and recital repertoire.

Mr. Wiliford has collaborated with conductors such as Jane Glover, Matthew Halls, Grant Llewellyn, Nicholas McGegan, John Nelson, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Trevor Pinnock, Helmuth Rilling, Nathalie Stutzmann, and Pinchas Zukerman. His diverse opera credits include Mozart’s Così fan tutteDon Giovanni, and Die Entführung aus dem Serail; Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s DreamAlbert Herring and The Turn of the Screw; Lully’s Persée, and Rameau’s Pygmalion and La Guirlande. Mr. Wiliford has been involved in a number of world premiere performances featuring works by Benjamin Britten, Derek Holman, James Rolfe, John Greer, Marjan Mozetich, and Zachary Wadsworth among others.

His recorded projects appear on several labels and include a GRAMMY nominated and JUNO award-winning recording of music by Vaughan Williams with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and Peter Oundjian (Chandos); J.S. Bach’s Johannes-Passion under the direction of Alex Weimann (ATMA Classique); a program of late works for tenor and harp by Benjamin Britten (ATMA Classique), and sacred songs by Edmund Rubbra, Ralph Vaughan Williams and Gustav Holst (Stone Records). Wiliford is also a featured soloist on the 2020 JUNO nominated recording of Zachary Wadsworth’s oratorio When There is Peace by Chor Leoni Men’s Choir.