HAMILTON, ON – The Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra has selected participants for our Composer Fellowship Program for the 22/23 and the 23/24 seasons. Designed in collaboration with the Ontario Region of the Canadian Music Centre and awarded to early-career Ontario-based composers, the fellowship program offers six months of artistic and professional mentorship with the HPO musicians, staff, Music Director Gemma New and Composer-in-Residence Abigail Richardson-Schulte. Two Composer Fellowship positions were available to applicants: one for composers 25 and under and another for those 26 and over. Applications were reviewed by a jury including Music Director Gemma New, Composer-in-Residence Abigail Richardson-Schulte and Concertmaster Stephen Sitarski. 

Joining us this season in the 26 and over category is Gavin Fraser. His new work will premiere at our season-closing concert on May 13, Beethoven 5. For our 23/24 season, Kathryn Knowles was selected as in the 26 and over category, and Paul Kawabe and Michael Maevskiy were selected as Composer Fellows in the 25 and under category. 

Gavin Fraser 
Gavin Fraser is a composer, bass-baritone, and educator hailing from Antigonish, Nova Scotia. His music “often balances on a tightrope between static beauty and violence” and has been described as “fresh with pithy modesty” (NY Classical Review ’17). Often inspired by dreams, the ocean, climate justice, and storytelling, Fraser composes for diverse forces, including chamber groups, vocal works, large ensembles, electroacoustic music, and music for film. Fraser’s compositions have been performed across North America and Europe. Most recently, his piece awake my dawn, my fair one was spotlighted in an episode of CBC’s Tapestry (’22), which explored birdsong in urban areas during the pandemic. In 2021, he collaborated with Barbara Hannigan and the EQ ensemble on the new short chamber opera Penelope (’21) and was commissioned by Jonathan Crow for a new chamber work which premiered at the Toronto Summer Music (’21). Fraser has received numerous awards, notably the Karen Kieser Prize in Canadian Music and the 1st place award in the electroacoustic category for the SOCAN Foundation Awards for Young Composers. He’s also received awards from the Land’s End Composer Competition, the University of Toronto’s COVID-19 Global Student Engagement Award, the Nova Scotia Talent Trust, and the Canada Council for the Arts. Fraser served as the composer in residence at the Lunenburg Academy of Music Performance (’21-’22), as well as their program director and resident composition teacher. He recently completed his doctorate in composition at the University of Toronto 
Kathryn Knowles 
Kathryn Knowles is a composer, cellist, conductor, and writer currently based in Toronto, Ontario. Her compositions have been played in workshops by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the New Orford String Quartet, and the Penderecki String Quartet. Her most recent piece, Dreams of Hope, was commissioned by Joseph Petric and funded by the Canada Council for the Arts. She is currently collaborating with Morgan-Paige Melbourne to write a musical titled Between Fires, also funded by the CCA. Kathryn has performed and recorded with Juno-nominated singer-songwriter Lindsay Schoolcraft, and she recorded tracks for an upcoming album by the Juno-winning band, OKAN. Her poetry and short stories received honourable mention in the Writer’s Digest 89th Annual Writing Competition, and her debut fantasy trilogy, The Quiescence Trilogy, is available for purchase now. In addition to this, Kathryn is also a Centre Director with Sistema Toronto, the Music Director of Music4Life String Orchestra, and the Founder of Mad Endeavour.   

Michael Maevskiy 
Michael Maevskiy (b. 1997) is a Russian-Canadian composer currently based in Kingston, Ontario. Michael’s music has been performed across Canada and Italy and he has had the opportunity to participate in multiple workshops including the highSCORE festival (Pavia, Italy), Tuckamore Chamber Music festival (St. Johns, N.L.), Bozzini Lab (Montreal, QC), Scarborough Symphony Orchestra’s New Generation Composer workshop (Toronto, ON), the Orford New Music Workshop (Orford, QC), and the inaugural Piano Lunaire’s Composers’ Symposium (Toronto, ON). Michael’s work has been supported by the Canada Council for the Arts, and in 2022, he was awarded a SOCAN Foundation: Young Composer’s Award in the solo/duets category. His music has also been included in the ACNMP’s Contemporary Showcase syllabi for piano and violin. Michael received a Bachelor of Music from the University of Toronto, where he studied composition with Abigail Richardson-Schulte. 
Paul Kawabe 
Paul Kawabe is a composer based in Toronto. He completed his undergraduate and Master’s degree in composition at the University of Toronto and has participated in composition programs with the Lunenburg Academy of Music Performance, the Scarborough Philharmonic Orchestra, and Orford Music Academy. Stylistically, his music hinges on dramatic narrative development and evocative soundscapes. Inspiration for his pieces is found in art, architecture, or a story. The emotional impact of these mediums will occasionally become a North Star while writing, where the goal is to bring about a similar experience through sound. His piece Pitch Black Alchemy was recently programmed by The Bedford Trio at their concert in April 2023. 


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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.  

Media Contacts:  

Varinder Nandhra 
Marketing and Communications Manager  
Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra  
905.526.1677 x 209  
Kyla Lacroix Bardsley  
Marketing and Communications Coordinator 
Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra  
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Published on January 23, 2023