Winner of 2022 CMC Prairie Region, Emerging Composer Competition: Thomas Joiner
Winner of 2021 CMC Prairie Region, Emerging Composer Competition: Isaac Zee

The Canadian Music Centre, Prairie Region (CMCPR) is pleased to announce that Thomas Joiner (Calgary) is the winner of the 2022 Emerging Composer Competition (ECC) for his piece, Dawn, and Isaac Zee (University of Manitoba) is the winner of the 2021 ECC for his piece, On the Day of Judgement.

The CMCPR – ECC is a joint project of the Canadian Music Centre, Prairie Region, the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra (WSO), and the Winnipeg New Music Festival (WNMF) and is entirely funded by an anonymous donor.

Mr. Joiner’s and Mr. Zee’s winning pieces will both be premiered at the 2022 Winnipeg New Music Festival, by the WSO (Daniel Raiskin conducting) on Monday, January 24, 2022, and they will be invited to attend a rehearsal and the performance, as well as to participate in the full week of the 2022 WNMF Composers Institute.

The competition was adjudicated based on anonymous score submissions. The panels for these editions consisted of:

ECC 2022
Rolf Boon, CMC Prairie Region’s Associate Composer representative
Daniel Raiskin, WSO Music Director and WNMF Artistic Director
Julian Pellicano, WSO Associate Conductor
Harry Stafylakis, WSO Composer-In-Residence and WNMF Co-Curator.

ECC 2021
Charles Stolte, CMC Prairie Region’s Associate Composer representative
Daniel Raiskin, WSO Music Director and WNMF Artistic Director
Naomi Woo, WSO RBC Assistant Conductor
Harry Stafylakis, WSO Composer-In-Residence and WNMF Co-Curator.

For more information, please contact: John C. Reid, Prairie Regional Director, Canadian Music Centre,, (403) 220-7403.


Thomas Joiner: Bio

Thomas Joiner hated music as a kid. He refused to listen regardless of genre, artist, or song and during a short period of time studying piano he refused to practise. This attitude persisted until he was 13 when he began studying composition with local Calgary composer Scott Ross-Molyneux. His new teacher had an infectious love of music that inspired Joiner and taught him to appreciate the beautiful intricacies of the vast musical repertoire we are fortunate to have access to today.

His primary instruments are trumpet and piano, which he began around the same time he began composition lessons. In addition, he has also studied voice, violin, and drums.

His first experience having a work of his performed was in 2018 when a classmate of his played his work Piano Sonata No. 0. Since then, he has composed music for his school’s plays, a piece produced in collaboration with a painter, a flute quartet for students at his school, and Dec 23, 2020 for Calgary’s Timepoint Ensemble.

A key experience for Joiner’s view of music was spending time playing for his grandpa in a seniors’ home. The residents were sickly and dejected, but his music inspired and entertained. This experience taught him that music has the power to create happiness and hope, even in the darkest times. His newest piece Dawn, composed for the Canadian Music Centre Prairie Region’s Emerging Composers Competition, is about finding hope and happiness in the darkness of the pandemic.

Thomas Joiner is currently 17 years old, is in Grade Eleven, and attends Central Memorial High School in Calgary.

Isaac Zee: Bio

Isaac Zee is a Vancouver based composer, violinist, educator, and media performer.

Embracing the impossibility of theoretical absolutes and yet rejecting pure romanticism in music, Isaac’s works come across as quirky, bold, but still somewhat relatable. While he favours writing for small ensembles, especially string quartets, the style of his music takes inspirations from many different genres, including contemporary western classical, Balinese gamelan, swing, spectral, and computer-generated music.

Isaac earned his undergraduate degree in composition in the University of Manitoba and his master’s degree in composition in the University of British Columbia. Throughout his music education, Isaac had the opportunity to work with various ensemble across Canada and internationally, including the Turning Point ensemble, Quatuor Bozzini, Chroma Quartet, and the Rose Gellert String Quartet.

The piece Conversations was the humble recipient of the Canadian Music Centre Barbara Pentland Award for Outstanding Composition in 2019. It features quartertones, irregular phrasings, extended techniques, with an emphasis on the natural contour of each individual phrase, like those found in human conversations. This style represents Isaac’s latest composition flavour, with the frequent involvement of spectral analysis and computer assisted composition in the creation process. Isaac was also part of the UBC Laptop Orchestra as a MaxMSP programmer and composer, where he collaborated with musicians and dancers from the Philippines and successfully created and performed an interactive multimedia performance in the University of Philippines, Diliman (2020).