The Young Composers Initiative

How do composers compose music?  Mahler once said “I don’t choose what I compose. It chooses me.” – “Musical ideas pursue me to the point of torture. I cannot get rid of them….” said Haydn. – Tchaikovsky making a joke on being asked “How do you write?” answered “Sitting down”. Most composers write because they can’t not write but getting the music performed is a totally different story.   So how does an unknown young composer get a break and get their music performed in public? Our solution – The Strings Attached Orchestra’s Young Composers Initiative.

The Strings Attached Orchestra hopes to encourage the writing of contemporary works for strings by young composers to foster their development and careers and to spread knowledge of their work and talent broadly across Canadian society. We established the Young Composers Initiative in 2015-16 to give young Canadian composers, up to and including the age of 16, the opportunity to have their music played by members of a string orchestra in a public concert.

YCI 2019 Contest Dates and Information

The Young Composer Initiative 2019 will be open very soon and we are all looking forward to this years submissions.   Contest details as well as complete rules and regulations will be available later in the year.

Dates to Remember:

  • June, 2018 – Young Composers Initiative 2019 Contest Opens
  • March 21, 2019 Submissions Deadline – All submissions must be completed in full by this date
  • June, 2019 – Performance of the 1st place winner’s composition at SAO’s Family & Friends Year End Concert.

For any questions about SAO’s Young Composers Initiative, please direct email inquiries to

YCI 2017 Winners 

We are proud to announce that Damiano Perrella composition “Viaggio delle Farfalle,” was the winner of the Strings Attached Orchestra’s Young Composers Initiative 2017. “Viaggio delle Farfalle” had its world premiere at the Season Finale Concert of the SAO on June 4 at the Isabel Bader Theatre, Victoria University, Toronto.

Pau Ilerbaig-Bajona “Galactica” was awarded 2nd place and may be performed in the SAO’s 2017-18 season.

YCI 2016 Winners 

We are proud to announce that Adam Adler’s composition “Cassiopiea” was the winner of the Strings Attached Orchestra’s Young Composers Initiative 2016. “Cassiopeia” had its world premiere at the Season Finale Concert of the SAO on June 5 at the Tribute Communities Recital Hall, York University.

Adam Kulju‘s composition “Hope” and Damiano Perrella’s “Spoglie Di Tempo” were tied for 2nd place and may be performed in the SAO’s upcoming 2016-17 season.

About the Young Composers Initiative

The Young Composers Initiative is a project developed by SAO Conductor Ricardo Giorgi to stimulate the writing of string orchestra music by composers 16 years of age and younger. The SAO hopes to bring attention to the talent of these young people and to give their work an initial performance so that other orchestras are encouraged to perform their works.

Thank you to everyone who entered the Young Composers Initiative 2018.  We are looking forward hearing the YCI 2019 contestants’ entries.

Please help us spread the word about the SAO YCI 2019!

Your help in sustaining the YCI and the orchestra would be very much appreciated (and tax deductable). Click on the links for more information about the Young Composer’s Initiative 2018  or write to us at

We are a community orchestra – We fill our lives with music and we share it with others!

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