Symphony Nova Scotia appoints Dinuk Wijeratne as RBC Composer in Residence

New position made possible through support from RBC’s Emerging Artist Program

Halifax, NS – Thanks to the support of RBC’s Emerging Artist Program, Symphony Nova Scotia is delighted to announce the appointment of Nova Scotia’s own Dinuk Wijeratne in the new role of RBC Composer in Residence.

“We’re thrilled to be bringing this program to life, and we’re so grateful to RBC for their support,” says Chris Wilkinson, Symphony Nova Scotia’s CEO.

“This new position allows us to build on our commitment to creating and performing great new Canadian music. We believe it’s our responsibility to nurture and uplift the incredible musical legacy we have as Nova Scotians, and to continue performing music that’s exciting and relevant today.

“Dinuk’s skills and qualifications as a composer are spectacular, and we can’t wait to start working together.”

As Symphony Nova Scotia’s Composer in Residence, Wijeratne will create brand-new orchestral works for Symphony Nova Scotia and other Canadian orchestras. He’ll also participate in Symphony Nova Scotia’s extensive education and outreach programs, providing support and leadership to local students, artists, and composers through collaborations, workshops, masterclasses, and performances. His appointment will complement Symphony Nova Scotia’s ongoing commitment to new music, and will help drive the orchestra’s goal of engaging Nova Scotians with locally created and performed music.

Wijeratne has a long history with Symphony Nova Scotia. He was appointed as the orchestra’s Resident Conductor in 2005, shortly after his arrival in Canada, and has continued to conduct and compose for the orchestra ever since. Today, he is a fixture in Nova Scotia’s classical and world-music scene, and currently serves as Music Director of the Nova Scotia Youth Orchestra.

Wijeratne also keeps a busy touring schedule, performing with orchestras and ensembles across Canada and around the world. As a composer, he has written works for an impressive variety of performers, including the Gryphon Trio, Yo-Yo Ma & the Silk Road Ensemble, Suzie LeBlanc, Buck 65, Skratch Bastid, and the Toronto and Vancouver Symphony Orchestras.

Wijeratne’s appointment marks the very first time one person has served as both a Conductor in Residence and a Composer in Residence with a single Canadian orchestra.

“It would be an understatement to say that I am both excited and deeply honoured to be appointed Composer in Residence of Symphony Nova Scotia,” says Wijeratne.

“To mentor with Bernhard Gueller – a conductor of great musicality and interpretive insight – and to work with a wonderful group of musicians who play newly created music ‘from the heart’ is a tremendous opportunity for any composer. Orchestras are like families, and it is very special and personal that we are able to continue our journey together.”

Wijeratne is already busy at work creating his first new composition for Symphony Nova Scotia, entitled Polyphonic Lively. The orchestra will perform it at its first classical concert of its 2016/17 concert season, scheduled for October 13, 2016 at the Rebecca Cohn Auditorium.

“Here at RBC, we believe in the power of art to enrich our lives and enhance our communities,” says Stewart Robinson, Regional Director, RBC Dominion Securities.

“Our support of the arts has been a long-standing priority, as we recognize the importance of the arts in building vibrant communities and strong economies. We’re proud to support the rising career of such a promising young composer as Dinuk Wijeratne, and to continue our long-term partnership with Symphony Nova Scotia.”

RBC’s Emerging Artists Project provides support to registered charities or other qualified recipients in a range of genres including visual art, music, theatre, performance, literature, and film. The program supports programs that provide emerging artists with mentorship, apprenticeships, and exposure to new and diverse audiences throughout their career.

In 2013, the RBC Foundation committed $6.7 million to arts and cultural organizations, supporting local, national, and international initiatives.

Dinuk Wijeratne standing 2011-12 credit Michelle DoucetteAbout Dinuk Wijeratne
The Sri Lankan-born composer, pianist, and conductor Dinuk Wijeratne has been described by the New York Times as “exuberantly creative” and by the Toronto Star as “an artist who reflects a positive vision of our cultural future.” His boundary-crossing work sees him equally at home in collaborations with symphony orchestras and string quartets, Tabla players and DJs, and takes him to international venues as poles apart as the Berlin Philharmonie and the North Sea Jazz Festival.

Dinuk has composed specially for almost all of the artists and ensembles with whom he has shared the stage; to name a few: the Gryphon Trio, the Afiara & Cecelia String Quartets, the Apollo Saxophone Quartet, TorQ Percussion Quartet, the New Juilliard Ensemble, Yo-Yo Ma & the Silk Road Ensemble, Zakir Hussain, Suzie LeBlanc, Kinan Azmeh, Tim Garland, Buck 65, Skratch Bastid, MIR, Joseph Petric, Ed Thigpen, Pandit Ramesh Misra, Adrian Spillett, David Jalbert, Kevork Mourad, and Symphony Nova Scotia, as well as the orchestras of Toronto, Vancouver, Windsor, P.E.I., Thunder Bay, and the National Arts Centre.

Dinuk grew up in Dubai before studying composition at the Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM, Manchester, U.K.), at the Juilliard School with John Corigliano, and conducting at Mannes College. He is the recipient of the Canada Council Jean-Marie Beaudet award for orchestral conducting; the Nova Scotia Established Artist Award; multiple Masterworks and Merritt Award nominations; Juilliard and Mannes scholarships; two Countess of Munster composition grants; the Sema Jazz Improvisation Prize; the Soroptimist International Award for Composer-Conductors; and the Sir John Manduell Prize – the RNCM’s highest student honour. His music and collaborative work embrace the great diversity of his international background and influences.

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!


For more information, please contact:
Heidi MacPhee
Director of Communications and Marketing, Symphony Nova Scotia