HAMILTON, ON – The Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra has selected participants for the 19-20 Composer Fellowship Program. Designed in collaboration with the Ontario Region of the Canadian Music Centre and awarded to early-career Ontario-based composers, the fellowship offers six months of artistic and professional mentorship with HPO musicians, staff, Music Director Gemma New and Composer-in-Residence Abigail Richardson-Schulte. In this second edition of the program, two positions were created: one for applicants 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 members of the HPO Artistic Advisory Committee.

Composer Andrew Clark was selected as Composer Fellow in the 25 or under category, and Luis Ramirez was selected as Composer Fellow in the over 26 category. Due to a high level of interest in the program, two additional composers were selected to take part in an HPO reading session and professional development activities. These composers are Stephanie Orlando and Paul Lessard.

As a part of the program, each Composer Fellow will compose a work to be premiered at the Intimate & Immersive series. Andrew Clark’s work will be presented at Earthshine on March 26, 2020 at 7:30pm while Luis Ramirez’s work will be premiered at Dragon Unfolding on May 21, 2020 at 7:30pm. The HPO Composer Fellowship is sponsored by the RBC Emerging Artists Project, which helps artists bridge the gap from emerging to established and supports organizations that provide the best opportunity to advance their career trajectory.


Andrew Clark

Andrew James Clark is a multi-faceted Canadian composer currently residing in Toronto. Having pursued graduate composition studies at the University of Toronto and served as the Composer-in-Residence of the University of Toronto’s Wind Ensemble, he is also Artistic Director of Classical Context, a concert series founded by students from the university providing a hybrid of new music and traditional repertoire to general audiences through lecture presentations. Andrew also holds the position of Principal Pianist at Heron Park Baptist Church. His piece The Valley of the Dry Bones was recently published by Counterpoint Library as part of their Young Composers Series and he was also recently granted a conducting apprenticeship with Orchestra Toronto to be carried out during the months of March and April 2018. Recent awards include The University of Toronto’s 2016 Gordon Cressy Student Leadership Award in recognition of Andrew’s efforts in sustaining a music therapy program for elderly homeless musicians located in the downtown core. He has also been awarded the Gabriella Dory Prize in Music and the William Erving Fairclough Scholarship for graduating with the highest standing in U of T’s Undergraduate Composition Program, while also being the chosen recipient of the CNEF Eamonn O’Loghlin scholarship merited by his writings concerning the negative impacts of consumerism on our artistic culture. Andrew is currently a theory, harmony and history classroom instructor in Scarborough’s Musical World F.A. Group, and a piano teacher at Dixon Hall’s Music School.


Luis Ramirez

Originally from Aguascalientes, Mexico, Luis began an early career as a pianist, and his interest in composition emerged as a consequence of performing contemporary music. He started his Bachelor studies at the Aguascalientes University and in 2012 he received a full scholarship to study at Brandon University in Manitoba, where he earned his Bachelor of Music degree in Piano Performance and subsequently a Master of Music degree in 2016 studying with Alexander Tselyakov. The following year he obtained a Master of Music degree in Composition with Dr. Patrick Carrabré at the same institution. Luis has been awarded numerous scholarships and has performed across Mexico, Canada, Italy and Serbia. He has had multiple works commissioned, with premieres at the Casalmaggiore Festival in Italy, AugustFest in Manitoba, Festival Cervantino and in Brandon, Manitoba. Recently, his work Chido was premiered by the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra during the Winnipeg New Music Festival 2018 as winner of the CMC Prairie Region Emerging Composer Competition, and was awarded the first prize of the Sir Ernest MacMillan Awards of the SOCAN Foundation. An eclectic musician, Luis has toured as a classical pianist, performed Latin-American music in jazz festivals as a member of the Indestructible Band, conducted the Brandon Community Orchestra, presented his academic research at several conferences, and is currently a member of the Amarras Tango Quintet. He is pursuing doctoral studies at York University in Toronto with Randolph Peters.


Stephanie Orlando

Stephanie Orlando is a composer and collaborative pianist based in Toronto. Her music has been performed worldwide by performers and ensembles such as Femmelody Chamber Music Collective (New York City), Stereoscope Saxophone Duo (Toronto) junctQin Keyboard Collective (Toronto), Thin Edge New Music Collective (Toronto), Penderecki String Quartet (Waterloo), Arcady Singers (Brantford) and Jeff Stonehouse (Montreal). She has also collaborated with choreographers Kylie Thompson (Toronto), Ming-Bo Lam (Toronto), playwright Laureen Damarren (Waterloo) and visual artist Diane Eastham (Waterloo). She is the first place recipient of the 2019 SOCAN Young Composer Pierre Mercure Award and runner up for the 2018 Creative Women at the end of the First World War Composition Competition for her work Scatterbrain for soprano and flute. She also held a residency with the National Youth Orchestra of Canada in the 2019 season supported by the SOCAN Foundation to workshop the work phases of the moon for string orchestra. With experience writing for a variety of styles and instrumentation, Stephanie has a special interest in mixed media composition and using technology in combination with classical instruments. Her catalogue contains works for orchestra, chamber ensemble, piano, voice, and electronics. Stephanie has composed music for a variety of mediums including opera, theatre, dance, and film. Her music is filled with traditional, contemporary, and pop culture influences. As a musician from mixed musical backgrounds, Stephanie is interested in exploring the boundaries of genres, where they are compatible and what they can create when blended. By exploring different genres in her music, she creates a more accessible listening experience for audiences of different backgrounds, inspiring a new musical language influenced by popular music of our time. As an advocate for underrepresented voices in new music, she frequently explores socially relevant topics in her work such as mental illness, gender roles and internet culture. Stephanie holds a Bachelor Degree in Music Composition from Wilfrid Laurier University, a Masters degree in Music in Composition from the University of Toronto and an ARCT diploma in Piano Performance from the Royal Conservatory of Music. She is currently pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts in Composition at the University of Toronto.


Paul Lessard

The music of Toronto-based composer Paul Alexander Lessard has been heard at concerts and festivals across North America. Originally from south-central Pennsylvania, Lessard has crafted a deeply personal musical language with a uniquely exciting approach to rhythm. He is also keenly interested in videogame music, often choosing to incorporate forms and structures associated with that idiom into his classical works. Conversely, his growing number of video game soundtracks often feature his trademark rhythmic vocabulary. An ever-increasing number of ensembles have read and performed Lessard’s works, including the Winds of the Scarborough Philharmonic Orchestra, the University of Toronto Saxophone Ensemble, the University of Florida Wind Symphony, the Catalyst Saxophone Quartet and many others. Upcoming performances include Lessard’s UK debut as the Trinity Laban Saxophones perform his saxophone ensemble works Some Items, Fox Preferred, Penultimate Destination, and the world premiere of Death Stick (composed for Canadian saxophonist Brendan Catalano) at the North American Saxophone Alliance conference in March 2020. Lessard holds degrees in Physics, Saxophone Performance and Composition from the University of Florida and Gettysburg College. His past teachers include James Paul Sain, Paul Richards and Avner Dorman, and he has participated in masterclasses with Dorothy Chang and Toshio Hosokawa.


Intimate & Immersive: Earthshine
March 26 at 7:30pm
The Cotton Factory (270 Sherman Avenue North)
Tickets: $30 +HST 

Intimate & Immersive: Dragon Unfolding
May 21 at 7:30pm
The Cotton Factory (270 Sherman Avenue North)
Tickets: $30 +HST


Twitter: @H_P_O

About the HPO: The Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra was founded in 1884 as The Hamilton Orchestral Society and grew to become one of Canada’s major professional orchestras. Today, the HPO is a leader in Hamilton’s robust arts community where it provides professional orchestral services and music education programs to address the needs of the community. The HPO continues to commission and premiere works and is one of the artistic jewels of the Hamilton area. The combined musical talents of its artists continue to enrich the community and enhance the quality of life for its residents.

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