SOCAN Foundation awards almost $100,000 to young Canadian music creators

September 1, 2017

The SOCAN Foundation, has awarded financial prizes, totalling nearly $100,000, to young music creators across Canada in three separate competitions. With more than 500 submissions, the competitions were evaluated by juries of esteemed music industry professionals from across the country. 

“These awards serve as a celebration of emerging music creators from across the country, supporting the SOCAN Foundation's mandate to nurture young talent and provide opportunities for their development,” said Charlie Wall-Andrews, Director of the SOCAN Foundation.

SOCAN Foundation Awards for Young Canadian Songwriters

Created in partnership with Sirius XM Canada Inc., these awards celebrate emerging and talented songwriters in Canada. A total of $25,000 (five prizes of $5,000) were awarded to Hannah Bussiere, of Ontario, for her song "Star Stuff"; Phoenix Emery, of British Columbia, for "Just Exist"; Nicolas Gémus, of Québec, for "Bunker de tes bras"; Madeline Jay Lough, of British Columbia, for "Foggy"; and Ava Wild, of Saskatchewan, for "White Toothed Bastard."

The jury of professional songwriters and industry influencers comprised Tanika Charles, of Ontario; Martine Groulx, of Québec; Maneli Jamal, of Ontario; Darryl James, of Ontario; Catherine Leduc, of Québec; and Danielle McTaggart, of British Columbia.

SOCAN Foundation Awards for Audio-Visual Composers

Created in partnership with RBC, these awards recognize Canadian screen composers 30 years of age and younger for original musical themes or scores created exclusively for audio-visual support (TV, film, etc.). A total of $24,500 was awarded to the winners in four categories. The Jury consisted of successful Canadian screen composers Stephanie Copland, of Ontario; Evelyne Datl, of Ontario; and Guy Tourville, of Québec.

Award Recipients

Best Original Score — Animated
1st: Greg Mulyk, of Alberta, for "Sophia"; 2nd: Evan MacDonald, of Québec, for "Wrapped"; and 3rd: Vincent L. Pratte, of California, for "The First Dance.”

Best Original Score — Fiction
1st: Josh Cruddas, of Ontario,for  “10000 Miles”; 2nd: Matthew Van Driel, of Ontario, for “Project: CNY”; and 3rd: Spencer Creaghan, of Ontario, for “Gül.”

Best Original Score — Non-Fiction
1st: Benjamin Goldman, of Québec, for “Pearl Harbor: The Accused”; and 2nd: Laura Bidner, of Québec, for “The Voices of Rape Victims.”

Best Original Theme (opening or closing)
1st: Joe Coupal, of Ontario, for “True and The Rainbow Kingdom”; 2nd: Vincent Turcotte, of Québec, for “Hakim Chajar - Inspiration Chef”; and 3rd: Spencer Creaghan, of Ontario, for “Nobody Famous.”

SOCAN Foundation Awards for Young Composers

This annual competition recognizes Canadian composers 30 years old and younger for original concert music works in the following five categories: Large Ensemble, Chamber Ensemble, Solo or Duet, Vocal, and Electroacoustics. A total of $44,000 was awarded to the finalists in the five categories. The John Weinzweig Grand Prize of $3,000 for the best overall work was awarded to Thomas Nicholson for his work "About."  Jury members were Tim Brady, of Québec; Anna Hostman, of Ontario; and Jordan Nobles, of British Columbia.

Award Recipients

The Godfrey Ridout Awards for works of any number of voices with or without instrumentation and/or electroacoustics.

1st (tie): August  Murphy-King, of Ontario, for  “Aanenson Reflections”; 1st (tie): Maria Atallah, of Ontario, for “Hymn to Inana”; 2nd: David Storen, of British Columbia, for “In Passing”; 3rd: Joel Balzun, of Alberta, for “Home Songs”; and Young Composer Award: Isaac Page, of Ontario, for “A Mari Usque Ad Mare.”

The Hugh Le Caine Awards for live or recorded electroacoustics, where the intended performance is, at least in part, through loudspeakers. Works in this category may be multimedia and may include acoustic instrument(s) or voice(s), live or recorded. The principal element in the work must be electroacoustic.

1st: Thomas Ciszak, of British Columbia, for “l(a”; 2nd:  Adam Pietrykowski, of Québec, for “Garbage In/Garbage Out”; 3rd: Léa Boudreau, of Québec, for “Dementia”; and Young Composer Award:  Jason Mile, of Ontario, for “Southern Wind.”

The Pierre Mercure Awards for solo or duet compositions, with or without voices and/or electroacoustics.

1st: David Storen, of British Columbia, for “Nameless Voices”; 2nd: Joel Balzun, of Alberta, for “Louise”; 3rd: Emilie Girard-Charest, of Québec, for “S'offrir”; and Young Composer Award: Liam Ritz, of Ontario, for “Sonata for Solo Marimba.”

The Serge Garant Awards for compositions for a minimum of three performers to a maximum of 12 performers, with or without voice and/or electroacoustics.

1st: Thomas Nicholson, of New Brunswick,for “MOTTE”; 2nd: Alison Yun, of Ontario, for “Birds, Reincarnate”; 3rd: William Kuo, of British Columbia, for “flieht wie ein Schatten for 12 instruments”; and Young Composer Award: Kohen Hammond, of Ontario, for “Serious Distance.”

The Sir Ernest MacMillan for compositions for no fewer than 13 performers up to full symphony orchestra, which may include vocal participation and may be scored to include electroacoustics.

1st: Thomas Nicholson, of New Brunswick, for “About”; 2nd: Dominique Lafortune, of Québec, for “Re-Tailles;” 3rd:  Riho Esko Maimets, of  Talinn, for “Oremus”; and Young Composer Award: Patrick Armstrong, of Ontario, for “Convergence for String Orchestra.”

More details about the winners can be found on the SOCAN Foundation Website, at

Details of 2018 SOCAN Foundation award submissions will be announced in February 2018.