Music: Commissioning of Canadian Compositions



15 September, 2016
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Grant Amount

Up to $ 20,000

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The Canada Council for the Arts is committed to equity and inclusion, and welcomes applications from diverse Aboriginal, cultural and regional communities, and from people with disabilities.

Please refer to the complete Program Guidelines [PDF, 596.5 KB].

Program Description

The Commissioning of Canadian Compositions program encourages the creation of new works by Canadian composers, through commissions. It fosters partnerships and collaborations among professional arts organizations, performers and Canadian creators, while offering Canadian and foreign audiences greater access to Canadian works.

Through this program, the Canada Council provides grants to commissioners, to pay composers’ fees.


15 September, 2016

If this date falls on a weekend or statutory holiday, the deadline moves to the next business day.

This will be the last deadline. Activities normally funded through this program will be eligible in the New Funding Model, starting April 1, 2017.

Grant Amount

These grants cannot be used to fund activities that occurred before this program deadline.

Applicants may apply for a grant of up to $20,000 in total.

For new opera compositions, up to $20,000 is available for the combined professional fees of the composer and the librettist, and copying costs.

For classical, contemporary and new music concert works, the Canadian League of Composers’ schedule of fees for various durations and instrumental combinations are used as a guideline for maximum payments under this program.

For non-classical music, the composer’s fee is negotiated and based on the duration, the number of musicians and the amount of work required to compose the piece. The Canadian League of Composers’ schedule of fees for various durations and instrumental combinations can be used as a guideline for maximum payments under this program.

The Canada Council may contribute toward certain copying costs and, in the case of electroacoustic music, some production expenses, provided that these are fully justified by the applicant.


Note that meeting the eligibility criteria does not guarantee that you will receive a grant.

Eligibility of applicants (commissioners)

  • Individual professional artists, groups of professional artists, ensembles, collectives and professional arts organizations that wish to commission Canadian works are eligible. The applicant does not have to be Canadian.  
  • Non-professional performing ensembles and arts organizations are considered eligible only if the applicant demonstrates that the project will potentially have a significant national impact.
  • Managers and agents cannot apply on behalf of artists.
  • Organizations that receive funding from the Residencies for Composers and Conductors program may not apply to this program to commission works from the composer-in-residence.

Eligibility of composers

  • The composer must be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada, as defined by Citizenship and Immigration Canada. For new opera commissions, support to librettists and/or playwrights is available to Canadian citizens or permanent residents only. They do not need to be living in Canada at the time of the application.
  • Composers are not eligible to apply for support of their own creations. Artistic directors or band leaders writing for their own ensemble or group should consult the Canada Council’s Grants to Professional Musicians - Individuals program for possible funding.

Eligibility of project

  • A project qualifies as a commission when an individual artist, group of artists, ensemble, collective or professional arts organization requests a composer to write a piece of music. To be eligible for support from this program, the applicant must commit to a premiere performance of the new composition or to the workshop development of the new opera work. (For this program, new opera compositions are defined as those involving important scenic components, including a predominant use of the singing voice along with other means of dramatic expression.)
  • Commissions for functional music by dance companies, independent choreographers, theatre companies and multidisciplinary groups are eligible only when they propose an innovative use of music in a live performance in a public venue. Functional music applications will not be eligible if the project has received commissioning support from any other program at the Canada Council.

Further Information

Jeff Morton
Program Officer
Music Section

1-800-263-5588 (toll-free) or 613-566-4414, ext. 5211
TTY: 1-866-585-5559