We invite you to join our 900+ strong body of Canadian composers.
The CMC supports professional composers who are creating works with music and sound as a focus. Associate Composer members work in classical, contemporary, and experimental forms that are influenced by and connected to a variety of cultural traditions, systems of notation, approaches to improvisation, and interdisciplinary work.
In order to become an Associate Composer, fill in the online application form. The form will require documentation and responses showing:
- Canadian citizenship or permanent residence in Canada
- A short reflection on your professional accomplishments and current artistic practice. You should share some current career goals, and comment on how the CMC can support you
- A description of your artistic training and professional development
- Inclusion of your composer/artist CV that features a complete list of works and performance/exhibition history, awards, workshops, residencies, grants, commissions, and other achievements.
- Links to media or print documents that verify the public presentation of three (3) of your works by different performers/ensembles. This can include streaming audio/video of public presentations, broadcasts, podcasts, livestreams, as well as programs, flyers and so on.
- Three references. These can include teachers, mentors, and/or other colleagues who are familiar with your professional artistic work.
We invite you to reach out to a CMC regional director to consult on your application. We are happy to provide assistance as you assemble your application.
Posthumous applications should be submitted by a designated individual with access to the composer’s music materials.
Q: How does CMC regional affiliation work?
A: While CMC Canada provides a series of services to all members, composers affiliated with a regional office will access the local programming and services of that office. In the application form you can specify your regional affiliation: applicants from Alberta, Saskatchewan, or Manitoba are affiliated with the Prairie regional office; applicants from Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, or Newfoundland and Labrador are affiliated with the Atlantic regional office; applicants from Yukon Territory, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut should select the regional office of their preference; international applicants should specify the regional office of their preference.
Q: Should I apply if I don’t have a masters in composition?
A: Yes! There are many CMC Associate Composer members who do not have a Masters in Composition, and they are great composers! A masters in composition was listed as a requirement in previous versions of the CMC application process, and we chose to remove that language as there are many pathways to a career in composition.
Q: Should I apply if I have never received a paid commission?
A: Yes! This is quite common, in particular among artists in their early career. If you are committed to artistic activity and wanting to expand your professional network with the possibility of generating financial income as a result, CMC membership could be a helpful resource for you.
Q: If all of my performances have been presented by my University, should I apply?
A: Not at this point. While valuing the experiences within your academic institution, the CMC requests that an application emphasizes your work outside of your formal studies—whether through independent presentation, community-based organizing, and various other professional settings. If at this stage in your career you only have performances within your academic institution we still want to be in touch! We suggest contacting your CMC regional office to find out about career opportunities in order to grow your practice through workshops, calls for scores, and so on!
Q: Can I apply while in my graduate studies?
A: Yes! Many composers are working independently as emerging professionals while completing their graduate studies. If you are receiving grants, professional commissions and performances outside of your university, it is certainly time to apply.
Q: I applied before, but I wasn’t accepted. Should I apply again?
A: Follow up with your regional director and review your last application. Most often, applications can be enhanced with some clarifying information, or with documentation of additional professional activities. We encourage artists to stay in touch with the CMC, and to reapply.
Q: Should I apply if I primarily write pedagogical works, and works for musicians/ensembles with mixed abilities?
A: Certainly! A number of our members have profound careers in community-engaged, educational, pedagogical, and faith-based spaces. In these instances you should express the way your career in these spaces has developed, and will continue to develop through your membership with the CMC. As an aside, some of our highest selling scores are educational/pedagogical works! Also, the CMC collaborates on a number of education programs that our membership takes part in.
Q: My music involves printed parts and scores. Should I submit examples?
A: No, we will trust that you have developed your engraving skills through training and experiences documented in your application.
Q: My music doesn’t have printed parts or scores. Is there any point in applying?
A: Yes! The CMC can showcase your work through the composer profile page, and our audio archive, CentreStreams. As well, you can stay informed about competitions, workshops and events in your field.
Q: What does the jury want to see from the three highlighted performances in my application?
A: Applicants should identify three unique pieces and performances that reflect their career context—the scope of professional activity to date. It is helpful to demonstrate the range of your works and performance/exhibition history. If you are active in chamber music you might highlight different presenters and ensembles that have performed your music. Similarly, if you have written multiple pieces for community concert band or student ensembles, you might list pieces played by different groups.
Q: Most of your members are white, and a lot of your music collection is written for a Western European orchestral family. If I am coming from a different cultural and musical space, how will I be profiled as a member of the CMC?
A: This observation connects with the ongoing work that the CMC is undertaking to address inclusivity and accessibility in our membership, services, and programming. We have recently worked to improve our library and cataloguing tools in order to name and make visible/searchable all instrument families, going well beyond the Western European orchestral family. When the CMC was established in 1959, it was responding to the specific needs of a collective of composers working in a Western European model. Our work today is meant to enhance our services and respond to the rich spectrum of compositional voices in Canada. We welcome your thoughts as we take on this work.
Q: I am preparing a posthumous application for a friend/family member, and I can’t find any documentation for past performances. Can I still submit an application?
A: We receive many posthumous applications, and an absence of performance documentation is a regular factor—especially when composers were active in the early 20th century. We strongly encourage you to follow up with a regional director to review available materials before submitting in order to discuss special accommodations. Preservation is as much an objective of the CMC as supporting ongoing career development.
Fill in the online application form which will allow you to specify your regional affiliation, upload material, enter written responses, and provide basic personal information.
There is a $25 application fee that you can pay by credit card when you submit the form. Alternately, you can choose to pay by cheque.
- March 1
- September 15
Applications are reviewed by the Regional Review Committee and recommendations are forwarded to CMC Canada. The CMC Board of Directors approves the final slate of new Associate Composers at our June and December meetings.
Upon acceptance, you will receive an official welcome package from the CMC Canada Office, including an Authorization Agreement, which permits the CMC to catalogue, promote, and distribute (where applicable) your work.