February 22, 2024 –  The Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra is pleased to announce the participants of our Composer Fellowship Program for the 2024-25 season. Awarded to early-career, Ontario-based composers, the fellowship program offers free artistic and professional mentorship with HPO musicians, staff, HPO Music Director and Composer-in-Residence, Abigail Richardson-Schulte. Supported by the Ontario Region of the Canadian Music Centre, two Composer Fellowship positions were available to applicants: one for composers 25 and under and another for those 26 and over.  

A jury of HPO artistic leadership and musicians reviewed the applications to make selections. Composer Fellows chosen for our 2024-25 season include Massimo Guida in the 26 and over category and Tsz Long (Fish) Yu in the 25 and under category.  

The HPO is also excited to announce two Future Award winners, Neda Samavati and Sky Yang. This category is offered to applicants who show exceptional promise. This program includes an orchestra reading of a short work, a chance to be involved in the Composer Fellowship program staff sessions, and additional mentorship.  

Massimo Guida 

Toronto-based Italian-Canadian composer, theorist, educator and copyist Massimo Guida was born in Modena, Italy, and has lived in Canada since 2008. He completed his doctoral studies in composition at the University of Toronto in 2019. Described by La Scena Musicale in 2012 as a composer who writes with “a particularly strong melodic inspiration,” Massimo seeks to combine his fondness for Italian melodic lyricism and storytelling with a contemporary musical language in his works. A multi-award-winning composer, in 2015 he won the Violet Archer Prize, for his song cycle Confessions (2014), as well as the Mississauga Festival Choir Competition for his choral work Infant Joy (2013), which was written for the birth of his nephew. Massimo’s compositions and arrangements have been performed in Canada, England, France, Germany, Italy and South Korea. Massimo served as the Scarborough Philharmonic Orchestra New Generation Affiliate Composer during the 2020–21 season, and also took part at the Orford Music Academy in 2020. A keen supporter of contemporary music in Canada, Massimo also sat on the board of the Canadian League of Composers as an Ontario councillor between 2020 and 2022. Outside of composition, Massimo is passionate about music theory and education. He balances composing and pursuing his research interests in analysis of Italian twentieth century music by working as a copyist and as a classical guitar and music theory teacher. 

Tsz Long (Fish) Yu 

Tsz Long (Fish) Yu, a Toronto-based composer originally from Hong Kong holds a Bachelor of Music in Composition & Electronic Music from The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts. Yu finished his Master of Music degree at the University of Toronto with a full scholarship under The Hong Kong Scholarship for Excellence Scheme, specializing in Music Technology & Digital Media. Presently, he is undertaking his Doctor of Musical Arts at the University of Toronto, majoring in Music Composition under the mentorship of Gary Kulesha and Christos Hatzis. Yu’s compositions premiered and broadcasted globally and his works exhibit a rich tapestry of musical exploration. Notably, ‘Please Don’t Open’ for Trombone and Electronics earned recognition at the 67th International Rostrum of Composers in 2021 and was Recommended in the Composers Under 30 category. Winning the Hong Kong Composers’ Guild’s Music New Generation 2020 and being commissioned for Music New Generation 2022, Yu’s accolades extend to ‘Torrent’ for Flute and Electronics, which secured the third prize at The Young Composers Competition of Isidora Žebeljan International Festival 2021 and selected to the ICMC 2023. Yu’s artistic breadth extends to collaborations with Toronto-based percussion group KöNG Duo, presenting ‘Frolic’ for Mallet Station, Marimba, Electronics, Cantonese speech and Video, captivating audiences across North America. 

Neda Samavati 

Neda Samavati is an Iranian composer-guitarist based in London, Ontario. She is currently a PhD student in Music Composition at the University of Western Ontario in Canada, building on her academic journey after her MA in Music Composition from the Tehran University of Arts in Iran. She has a strong musical foundation with Diplomas in Classical Guitar Performance, Piano Performance and Ear Training. Her dedication to musical excellence is evident in her accomplishments, such as being commissioned by the NTP (The Northern Tornadoes Project) in 2023. Apart from academics, she has showcased her talent internationally, reaching the semi-finals in the 5th Guitar Composition Competition Fidelio in Spain in 2020, and securing second place in the Annual Classical Guitar Performance of Iran. Her musical journey started at 13, guided by her father, a skilled cellist and guitarist, instilling in her a passion for improvisation and composition that laid the groundwork for her future in the music world. 

Sky Yang 

Sky Yang is a 16-year old composer currently based in Toronto, Ontario, and is enrolled in the Arts Unionville piano program at Unionville High School. His works have been commissioned by the Arts Unionville program and have been performed at the annual Alchemy show at Flato Markham Theatre. He received 1st prize in the 2023 Youth Music Commision composition contest of Roy Thomson and Massey Hall, and in 2022, he received 2nd prize in the Society of Composers’ Pre-College College and Mentoring Opportunity for his orchestral work, Colourful Escapade. He has also won numerous awards as a pianist and public speaker at the Kiwanis Music Festival and North York Music Festival. At school, he is a member of numerous music ensembles, including the Unionville wind ensemble, piano ensemble, guitar ensemble, jazz choir, jazz quartet, symphony orchestra, and many more. Outside of school, he is a member of the Toronto Chinese Orchestra where he plays traditional Chinese instruments, such as the erhu and suona. 

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About the HPO: For over a century, the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra has presented orchestral music and education programs with a mission to enrich the wellbeing of the greater Hamilton region. Music Director Gemma New and the professional musicians of the HPO present dynamic orchestral performances ranging from standard classical repertoire to popular music and world premieres by living composers. As one of Canada’s leading professional orchestras, the HPO has proudly contributed to the shaping of Hamilton’s cultural landscape and continues to uphold values of high calibre, inclusive and accessible orchestral music and education for all. 

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Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra 
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