Applications now open for Symphony Nova Scotia’s $10,000 “Maria Anna Mozart Award” for Canadian women composers


For Immediate Release
March 1, 2022

“Music by women composers isn’t being taught, so it isn’t being learned. And because it’s not learned, it’s not played, or recorded, and that means it isn’t heard – and then it isn’t taught. And the cycle continues.”

Halifax/K’jipuktuk, NS – Symphony Nova Scotia is now welcoming applications from women composers across Canada for its third commission through the groundbreaking Maria Anna Mozart Award. The winner will be asked to compose an original work to be premiered by Symphony Nova Scotia on March 2, 2023.

This new work will be featured on the CBC music program In Concert with Paolo Pietropaolo as part of an International Women’s Day broadcast in March of 2023. It will also be heard in the Atlantic provinces on both CBC Music and CBC Radio on The East Coast Music Hour with Bill Roach.

Applications for the 2022 Award are now open to emerging or established women composers across Canada. The application deadline is March 31, 2022. For full application information, click here.

Launched in 2016, the Maria Anna Mozart Award supports the work of Canadian women composers, providing $10,000 for Symphony Nova Scotia to commission and perform a new symphonic work by a Canadian woman every three years. The award is the first of its kind in Canada, and was made possible through the generosity of Halifax resident and Symphony supporter Dr. Jane Gordon.

“Since women are not fully integrated into the curricula of music education, their compositions are not easily available on recordings, nor heard live or on the air,” says Dr. Gordon, who is a former professor of Sociology and Women’s Studies, with research published in academic journals and books.

“Now, with opportunities in many non-traditional fields opening to all, women’s creativity in classical music continues to be an almost invisible part of the symphonic repertory. This award is one attempt to correct the imbalance.”

The 2022 Award follows on the presentation of the award in 2019 to Canadian composer Stacey Brown. Brown’s new work through the award, titled Don’t Touch the Middle Switch, was scheduled to be premiered by Symphony Nova Scotia in the 2020/21 season, but was cancelled due to COVID-19. The work will now be premiered by Symphony Nova Scotia in 2022.

The 2016 Award went to Ottawa-based Dr. Kelly-Marie Murphy, whose new work Dragon, Unfolding premiered with Symphony Nova Scotia in 2018, and went on to repeat performances with orchestras in Thunder Bay and Regina.

“I was absolutely delighted with the number of women who have applied for this award,” says Dr. Gordon. “It showed me that many women across Canada are working to create symphonic music. And now that Symphony Nova Scotia is aware of these women, they’re part of the pool of Canadian composers to consider in the future.”

Historically, an extremely small percentage of music programmed by the world’s major orchestras has been written by women. Despite recent well-deserved reckonings in other areas, women’s voices continue to be under-represented in major orchestral repertoire:

“This is a problem with orchestras around the world,” says Gordon. “And I’m delighted that Symphony Nova Scotia is being creative in addressing this. We should be proud that our orchestra here in Halifax is forward-thinking enough to try and break that mold.”

More information about the Maria Anna Mozart Award can be found at