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


For Immediate Release
October 1, 2018

“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, NS – Symphony Nova Scotia is now welcoming applications from women composers across Canada for its second commission through the groundbreaking Maria Anna Mozart Award.

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.

Applications for the 2019 award are now open to emerging or established women composers across Canada. The application deadline is October 22, 2018. For full application information, click here.

“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 2019 award follows on the unmitigated success of the inaugural award in 2016, which went to Canadian composer Kelly-Marie Murphy. Murphy’s new work through the award was titled Dragon, Unfolding, and was premiered by Symphony Nova Scotia to audience acclaim in March 2018. Since then, two other Canadian orchestras have scheduled performances: the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra on October 25, 2018, and the Regina Symphony on January 19, 2019.

“I was absolutely thrilled with the number of women who applied for our inaugural 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.”

According to a recent report by NPR, only 1.8% of music programmed by major U.S. orchestras was written by women. Even more surprising is the fact that women composers only accounted for 14.3% of performances of works by living composers.

“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

About Symphony Nova Scotia
Symphony Nova Scotia is Nova Scotia’s orchestra. With a home base in Halifax and performances across the province, Symphony Nova Scotia reaches more than 50,000 Nova Scotians of all ages each year with a diverse mix of concerts, free community programs, and educational outreach. Symphony Nova Scotia is the largest employer in Nova Scotia’s cultural community, and has won many awards, including five East Coast Music Awards for classical music. Visit to learn more, listen online, or get tickets today!