Michael Maevskiy is one of this season’s Composer Fellows. His new work titled Serenade will have it’s world premiere on May 1 at Intimate & Immersive: Suspended Doorways. Read the following blog and Q&A to learn about Michael and his new piece.

About Michael Maevskiy

Michael Maevskiy is a Canadian composer based in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. His music explores conceptual and philosophical ideas, often expressed through visceral gesture and ephemeral apparitions of sound. His style favours rich harmonies and melodic lines transfigured through a contemporary perspective.

Michael’s music has been performed across Canada and Italy, having had the pleasure of working with musicians and ensembles including Véronique Lacroix, Audréanne Filion, Joella Pinto, Quatuor Bozzini, the Scarborough Philharmonic Orchestra, Duo Concertante, and Unassisted Fold.

Michael’s work has been supported by the Canada Council for the Arts, and has received two SOCAN Foundation awards, in 2022 for his piece “The Voyager,” for solo violin, and in 2023 for “Reverie” for chamber ensemble. He was also chosen as a composer fellow with the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra for their 2023-2024 season. Michael’s music has been included in the ACNMP’s Contemporary Showcase syllabi for piano and violin. Michael holds a Bachelor of Music from the University of Toronto, and is an associate composer with the CMC.

Q&A with Michael Maevskiy


HPO: Tell us a little bit about your piece. What inspired you? Is there a story behind the music? 

MICHAEL MAEVSKIY: My piece, called “Serenade” was inspired by the acoustics of the third floor of the Cotton Factory, where my piece is going to have its premiere. When I attended concerts at the space in the past, I really enjoyed how beautiful the music sounded there. I was most impressed by how resonant that space was. While it was not a full orchestra performing, the ensemble there still sounded very full and lush. When I started composing my piece, I was thinking about including moments that would maximize the sound of the orchestra and hopefully resonate very well in the Cotton Factory. 

HPO: What are some interesting musical elements of your composition that we can listen for? What aspects of your piece do you love most? 

MICHAEL: There is a section in the music that features lilting, pulsating chords in the string section. This happens twice – the first time, it’s as if the melody is missing, and the second time, we hear both the melody and the chords. The melody is stated very loudly in the brass and woodwinds! I am very eager to hear these parts of my composition, and I hope that this can also be enjoyed by the audience! 


HPO: Is this your first time composing for full orchestra? 

MICHAEL: Although this isn’t the first time composing for a full orchestra, this is certainly my first orchestral premiere! I am very grateful for the opportunity to be able to write for such a great orchestra as the HPO. It is so great to work with an ensemble that champions new music! I have learned lots already, and cannot wait to learn even more during the rehearsal process of the piece as I watch the piece come to life! 


HPO: How has your experience been working with the HPO? What aspects of your fellowship have you particularly enjoyed so far? 

MICHAEL: It has been a very enjoyable experience so far. Everyone from the staff to the artistic personnel of the orchestra have all been very welcoming and have all been very helpful and encouraging in our engagements as part of the fellowship. I have particularly enjoyed getting to know the community of the HPO and getting to know how the orchestra functions in their daily operations. As well, attending rehearsals and watching each piece go from first rehearsal to concert has also been very fun and informative! 

HPO: Has anything about your composer fellowship surprised you? 

MICHAEL: Finding out how much community outreach the orchestra does! A definitely pleasant surprise was to see all the initiatives the orchestra is leading, and how strong of a presence the HPO has in Hamilton. From bringing the orchestra to schools through concerts with the HPO musicians, to inviting groups of young listeners back to the concert hall to watch rehearsals, it seems there’s something going on at all times! 


HPO: Who are some orchestral composers that most inspired you and your taste and style in this genre? 
MICHAEL: In the orchestral genre, I think I would be most inspired by the Mahler, Tchaikovsky, and Shostakovich. Mahler for the grand gestures, intricate counterpoint, and interwoven melodies (I can’t single out a single favourite among the following: symphonies 2, 5, 6, 7, 9. Almost too many favourites to name!); Tchaikovsky for his overwhelming climactic moments (Symphonies 5, 6, and Pas de deux from The Nutcracker); and Shostakovich for a direct and powerful, unapologetic sound (Symphony 5). I hope that “Serenade” can take on some of these qualities that I like in their music!


HPO: How about a non-orchestral artist that inspires you? 

MICHAEL: My listening list is very classical – I enjoy the music of Bach, Rachmaninoff, Ravel a lot, to name the first composers that come to mind. I can listen to Bach’s Well-tempered Clavier or the opening movements of his St. John and St Matthew’s passions any day! I try to listen to music by living composers when I can, for example compositions like Trauermarsch by Jorg Widmann, Polaris by Thomas Adès, Aeriality by Anna Thorvaldsdottir, Frontispiece by Unsuk Chin, Harmonium John Adams, and others. I also love the chamber music of Mendelssohn, Shostakovich, Bartok, and Schnittke, to name a few. I’ll always hold the Mendelssohn piano trios and his String Quartets close to heart! 

Hear the world premiere of Michael’s new work

Don’t miss the world premiere of Serenade by Michael Maevskiy on May 1!

Intimate & Immersive: Suspended Doorways
Wednesday, May 1 at 7:30pm
The Cotton Factory

Gemma New, Conductor

Diana Vandermeulen, Multidisciplinary Artist

  • Michael Maevskiy, Serenade
  • Saman Shahi, Suspended Doorways
  • Quinn Jacobs, A DELICATE APPROACH to human connection
  • Ana Sokolovic, …and I need a room to receive five thousand people with raised glasses…  
  • Cecilia Livingston, Noyade
  • Cris Derksen, Rebellion
  • Brian Current, For The Time Being