SPO to embark on a Resilient Communities Project

SPO was gratified to learn that we had been successful with an application to the Ontario Trillium Foundation in seeking funding for an organizational renewal project during the 2023-24 and 2024-25 seasons. OTF’s Resilient Communities Program offers support to organizations as they recover from the impacts of the Covid-19 lockdown period, reconnect with their communities and develop new methods and strategies for greater resilience.

Odin Quartet Concert, March 15

SPO’s resident ensemble, the Odin Quartet is performing a program of American and Canadian music, March 15 at the Canadian Music Centre.

Find out more here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/americanadian-soundscape-tickets-551693007637/

New Generation Composer’s Program Begins

The Odin Quartet

The New Generation Composers’ Program met for its first workshop on February 14 at the Canadian Music Centre.

This workshop focused on how to affectively compose for a string instrument. Detailed
information was presented on left-hand fingering and right-hand bowing techniques.
For the left-hand, positions, shifting, double-stops, chords, harmonics, high position
strategies, extended techniques (e.g. quarter-tones), and more were discussed and
demonstrated. For the right-hand, different types of bow strokes, articulation, slurring
strategies, moving from arco to pizzicato (and back), col legno, sul ponticello, extended
techniques, and more, were also be examined. Strategies for notating left hand (e.g.
harmonics) and bowing techniques were included. Strategies for composing for string
quartet were covered. Participants (in-person or online) were able to ask questions,
and where possible, the string players demonstrated.

This workshop was presented through the Scarborough Philharmonic Orchestra’s New
Generation Composer’s Project, supported by the RBC Foundation and the CMC.

2022-23 New Generation Film Composers’ Program Participants Announced

Scarborough Philharmonic Orchestra is pleased to introduce this years slate of New Generation Film Composers participating in the 2022-23 program, run in partnership with Sheridan College’s internationally recognized film animation program.

The program. will formally kick off January 31, 2023, with an introductory workshop on the topic of  the technology workflow used in modern media-music composition. The presenter will be Charles Finlay, Coordinator of Sheridan College’s Music Scoring for Stage and Screen (MSSS) program. 

During the program, participants will all compose an original score for an animated short that will be performed, recorded and film-edited for a published final product. 

Taking the lead on delivering the program is composer and Sheridan professor, Bruno Degazio .  Professional composers serving as mentors for the program are: 

  • Virginia Kilbertus
  • Aaron Tsang
  • Jim McGrath
  • Charles Finlay 

Video Showcases from past seasons' New Generation Film Composer Program

This program is made possible through the generosity of: 

Ontario Trillium Foundation awards Capital Grant to SPO

One thing we hate doing at the Scarborough Philharmonic Orchestra is saying “No” to great Scarborough community groups that want us to present concerts in their locations. It has been especially heartbreaking to us when the road-block has been a lack of equipment to stage a concert in a venue that lacked a piano, stage lighting or house sound system.

Now, thanks to a $25,000 capital equipment investment from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, we’ll be able to buy the equipment we need and be able to say “yes” to more partnerships. We can’t wait to reach new audiences across Scarborough.


New Generation Film Composer’s Project

Call for Proposals: Composing Music for Animated Film

Deadline: December 16, 2022

The Scarborough Philharmonic Orchestra (SPO) is issuing a call for proposals for early career and advanced student composers wanting to write music for animated film.

Four composers will be selected to write music for animated short films created by students of world-renowned Sheridan College Bachelor of Animation program.

During the writing process, each selected applicant will be paired with an experienced film composer who acts as a mentor: helping with advice on spotting the film; choosing the synthesized instrumentation; writing the music; recording and synchronization to picture.

Participants will also be supported and advised by SPO music director Ronald Royer and will also take part in an orientation meeting to discuss the logistics of synchronizing to video.

Completed animation scores will be published on the SPO’s YouTube channel from April to July 2023.

Composers can also apply for the SPO’s New Generation Composer’s Project, writing for the Odin Quartet. If a composer applies for and gets accepted into both programs, they will need to choose one. Composers will not be able to participate in both programs in the same year.

This project is generously funded by the Gooder Foundation and RBC Foundation with logistical and venue support from the Canadian Music Centre.


  • The project is open to early-career and student composers who are Canadian citizens and permanent residents, aged 18 to 35.
  • The program is focused on Ontario-based composers. Composers can be involved in-person or online.
  • Composers are not required to have prior film scoring experience.
  • Composers must be equipped with a suitable computer, scoring software such as a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) or notation software, and sample libraries or software synthesizers.
  • Examples of suitable software include:
    • DAW – Cubase; Logic; Digital Performer; FL Studio; Reaper;
    • Notation: Sibelius, Finale, or Dorico (all with NotePerformer)
    • Sample Libraries: g. Vienna Symphonic Library, Spitfire BBC Orchestra, Orchestral Tools Layers, and many others.

About the SPO New Generation Film Composer’s program:

  • Animated films from graduates of the Sheridan College Animation program will be provided for scoring purposes. The films are between one and four minutes long and will be provided to participants as MP4 video files. Note that these video files cannot be used outside this program and cannot be shared with others except through the SPO’s Youtube channel.
  • Scored music can include orchestral instruments (via the appropriate sample library), electronic/digital instruments, musique concrete or any other sounds deemed appropriate.
  • Selected composers are expected to participate in a minimum of two mentorship meetings. Additional mentorship sessions can be arranged.
  • Composers are encouraged to listen and view previously scored films on the SPO’s Youtube channel in the Animated Films Playlist.

Application Procedure:


Submissions and enquiries should be sent to:

Attention: Ronald Royer, Music Director, SPO

Email: spo@spo.ca

Website: www.spo.ca

Eligible composers should submit an email containing the following for consideration:

  • Completed Application Form (see below)
  • CV or Resume: Attach a PDF file focusing on your composition activity, including any film-scoring related projects. Be sure to include a valid email address and other appropriate contact information.
  • Two examples of your music: Recordings of two pieces must be submitted. These may be of music alone or music scored to picture.
    • Live performance or MIDI recordings are both acceptable.
    • Acceptable File formats are:
      • MP3 recordings (audio only).
      • MP4 video files (for audio and video).
      • Links to streaming services such as SoundCloud for audio and Youtube for video are also acceptable. Please ensure that the link is valid for at least one month following the deadline.

Project Timeline:

  • November 16, 2022: Call for proposals
  • December 16, 2022: Proposal application deadline.
  • Mid-January 2023: Participating composers will be selected, and all applicants will be notified of the results.
  • Composers will be chosen by a jury consisting of SPO representatives with film composition backgrounds. The jury’s decision cannot be appealed. Applicants can request feedback from the jury process.
  • The jury will aim to select a representative group of participants based on aesthetic, diversity/equity, education/career stage, and other criteria.
  • Finalists will participate in a short phone interview with a SPO representative regarding various aspects of the project before the decision is made public.
  • Mid-January 2023:
    • Mentorship relationships will be established.
    • Music composition and recording begins.
    • The mentorship will take the form of two lessons with established film composers who have worked with the SPO.
    • The mentor will help to shape the process such that completed works reflect the artistic goals of the composer, while being suitable for presentation on the SPO’s Youtube channel.
  • April, May and June 2023. The animated Videos will be published on the SPO’s YouTube channel. They will remain live on the channel for at least one year.

About the SPO and Sheridan College: 

The SPO is a community orchestra, dedicated to enriching our community through high-quality musical performances. The orchestra also presents a series of professional chamber music concerts. The Odin Quartet is the ensemble-in-residence for the orchestra.

An important part of our mandate is supporting, encouraging and mentoring young performers and composers. The SPO has produced two professional commercial albums, Canadian Panorama, featuring the Winds of the SPO and Journey Through Night, featuring the Odin Quartet. Both recordings feature music by seven GTA composers and were designed to help promote Canadian composers and performers worldwide. Three more albums will be released in 2023. Information on the SPO 2022-2023 season can be found at www.spo.ca.

The SPO has partnered with students of Sheridan College’s animation program since 2010, including live orchestra performances of animated films scores and presentation on the SPO’s Youtube channel of animation videos scored by SPO composers.

Sheridan College’s Bachelor of Animation program has a world-wide reputation for excellence. Graduates of this program have gone on to work with globally renowned studios, including Disney, Pixar, Dreamworks, Nelvana, and Guru.  In February 2020, alumnus Dean DeBlois (Animation ‘90), writer and director of the How to Train Your Dragon trilogy, was nominated for an Oscar in the Best Animated Feature category for the third and final instalment of his series. In 2019, Sheridan alumna Domee Shi (Bachelor of Animation ’11) was awarded the Oscar for Best Animated Short Film for her directorial debut, Bao, at the 91st Academy Awards on Feb. 24, 2019. She became the fifth Sheridan graduate to win an Oscar.

96.3FM Interview with Dr. Lisa Tahara and Ronald Royer by Daniel Vnukowski

October 31, 2022 — SPO Music Director & Conductor, Ronald Royer, along with our Sat-Nov-5 guest pianist, Dr. Lisa Tahara, were interviewed by The New Classical 96.3FM Host, Daniel Vnukowski.  The interview aired at 2 pm on the 31st, but can be heard again via this link: http://classicalfm.ca/station-blog/2022/11/01/ronald-royer-and-dr-lisa-tahara-join-classical-jukebox/.  An excellent interview by all!!  Apologies we couldn’t give more notice prior to the interview, but it was all done quickly, thanks to the 96.3FM team.  More interviews coming soon — so stay tuned!