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Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra to perform student's award-winning composition

Roydon Tse, a master of music student studying with Professor Christos Hatzis at the University of Toronto Faculty of Music, is the 2014 winner of the Canadian Music Centre Prairies’ Emerging Composers Competition

His winning work Three Musings – a triptych for chamber orchestra – will be performed by the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra on January 28, 2014 as part of the symphony's New Music Festival. The concert also features a work by alumnus and Academy Award-winning composer Mychael Danna.

This annual competition for composers is administered by the Canadian Music Centre, with the aim of helping young composers establish themselves in this very competitive field.

Previous winners have included several music graduates from the University of Toronto, including Abigail Richardson, Vincent Ho, Shelley Marwood and Andrew Staniland

“It is extremely humbling and validating to be awarded the CMC Emerging Composers Prize," Tse said. "Knowing that several winners have gone on to very successful careers as composers gives me confidence that I can actually make it as a composer.” 

Since receiving its world premiere by the Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber Orchestra in 2011, Three Musings was read by the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. Competition to have a work read by an orchestra – a process which allows the composer to hear the piece performed by the symphony and receive feedback from the musicians – is stiff. Perhaps three of 50 submissions each year are selected for the honour.

The work will receive its Australian premiere in September 2014 by the Sydney Contemporary Orchestra.

“I’m very lucky to have had such incredible orchestras perform my pieces throughout my time in Canada," said Tse. “It is extremely rare to see orchestras taking on young composers’ pieces, and it is a real privilege to listen to your work performed by so many professional musicians.” 

Originally from Hong Kong, Tse began his studies in piano and violin at a very young age, and started dabbling in composition at 14 when he was studying in England. When he was 16, Tse and his family immigrated to Edmonton, where he met composer John Estacio.

“It was after meeting and learning from John that I knew I needed to become a composer. He taught me how to write for orchestra and showed me the ropes.”

Tse's first commission for the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra was Remembrances, a five-minute prelude for orchestra that led to his acceptance at the University of British Columbia, where he completed his bachelor in music composition in 2013 with Dorothy Chang.

“Roydon is a great addition to our Faculty of Music,” said Professor Hatzis. “He is an exceptionally talented, motivated and hard-working individual whose intuitive compositional insights combined with uncommon intellectual curiosity make his music sound mature beyond his years.”

Winning the CMC Prairies’ Emerging Composers Competition is the latest in a string of wins for Tse in national and international competitions. In September, his piece Lontano for piano trio won the 2013 Trio Anima Mundi International Composition Prize in Melbourne, Australia, and in July, he won second place at the Robert Avalon International Composers Competition in Houston for his Rondo for piano trio and flute. (Read more about Tse.)

“Roydon is poised to capture national and international attention to his music," says Hatzis. "I feel very proud to be his composition teacher.”