Symphony Nova Scotia announces Kelly-Marie Murphy as inaugural winner of Maria Anna Mozart Award

Halifax, NS – Symphony Nova Scotia is proud to announce that Dr. Kelly-Marie Murphy is the inaugural winner of its new Maria Anna Mozart Award for Canadian women and non-binary composers.

Launched in 2016, the Maria Anna Mozart Award supports the work of Canadian women and non-binary composers, providing funds for Symphony Nova Scotia to commission and perform a new symphonic work 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.

“We received so many applications, full of incredibly good music – I am always amazed at the wealth of outstanding compositional talent there is in Canada.” says Bernhard Gueller, Music Director of Symphony Nova Scotia.

“Kelly-Marie Murphy stood out. Her submitted pieces immediately grabbed my attention. They were, from the first note, so interesting and full of temperament, so well crafted. I know Symphony Nova Scotia will do great justice to the world premiere of her new piece, made possible through the generosity, foresight and insight of Jane Gordon.”

Murphy’s music has been described as “breathtaking” (Kitchener-Waterloo Record), “imaginative and expressive” (The National Post), “a pulse-pounding barrage on the senses” (The Globe and Mail), and has been performed across Canada and around the world. She is the winner of multiple awards and prizes, and has written for some of Canada’s leading performers and ensembles, including the Toronto, Winnipeg, and Vancouver Symphony Orchestras, the Gryphon Trio, and the Cecilia and Afiara String Quartets.

“I am truly delighted to have been chosen for the inaugural Maria Anna Mozart Award!” says Murphy.

“I know how incredibly talented Canadian composers are, and it is an honour to count this among my achievements. I look forward to creating a new piece for Symphony Nova Scotia, and I wish them every success on continuing this award in years to come. I would like to thank Symphony Nova Scotia and Dr. Jane Gordon for this extraordinary opportunity.”

Murphy’s new work will be about 10 minutes in length, and will be premiered by Symphony Nova Scotia on March 8, 2018, on International Women’s Day.

“I was absolutely delighted with the number of women who applied for this award,” says Dr. Jane Gordon, the supporter of the award. “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 those 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. Each year more than 50,000 audience members (including 15,000 young music lovers) join us in communities across Nova Scotia for performances of the music they love – from baroque and classical to pop and rock and folk. Under the inspirational leadership of Music Director Bernhard Gueller, Symphony Nova Scotia is one of the most broadcast orchestras in the country, with over 20 commercial releases and multiple East Coast Music Awards. Visit to learn more, listen online, or get tickets today!