The SOCAN Foundation has distributed nearly $75,000 among 23 award recipients of its annual competitions. With more than 350 submissions, the Awards for Young Composers and Emerging Screen Composers were evaluated by juries of music industry professionals from across the country.

“SOCAN Foundation believes in celebrating the achievements of young emerging artists,” said Charlie Wall-Andrews, SOCAN Foundation Executive Director. “These awards help support and foster the development of talented young SOCAN members across Canada.”

The SOCAN Foundation Awards for Young Composers is designed to recognize Canadian composers 30 years of age or under, for original concert music works. Cash prizes in the total amount of $46,250 were awarded to the finalists in the competition’s five categories — The Choral Awards, The Electroacoustic Awards, The Solo and Duet Awards, The Chamber Ensemble Awards, and The Large Ensemble Awards. Jury members for this year’s award included Jared Miller, Analia Llugdar, and Lesley Hinger.


Grand Prize
Francis Battah for Toccata no 2

The Choral Awards
1st Prize—Katerina Gimon for Shadow/Light
2nd Prize—Stephanie Orlando for kyrie
3rd Prize and Young Composer Award—Benjamin Sigerson for Stratocumulus

The Electroacoustic Awards
1st Prize—Dong Ho You for Look Straight, Don’t See
2nd Prize—Dominic Jasmin for Ici
3rd Prize—Thomas Quirion for Consequential
Young Composer Award—Michael Selvaggi for Marine Transmutations

The Solo and Duet Awards
1st Prize— Nicholas Denton-Protsack for Into this Fracturing Land
2nd Prize— James Lowrie for Chainsmoking;Index
3rd Prize—Liam Ritz for Three Inventions
Young Composer Award— Henry From for Chorale and Variations

The Chamber Ensemble Awards
1st Prize— Francis Battah for Codes, claves, accidents
2nd Prize—Haotian Yu for Ritual IIIb
3rd Prize— Sami Seif for Orientalism
Young Composer Award—Michael Selvaggi for Midwinter Fractures

The Large Ensemble
1st Prize—Nicholas Denton-Protsack for Iterations on a Theme by Antonio Salieri
2nd Prize—Sami Seif for Harp Concerto
3rd Prize—Liam Ritz for Chamber Dances
Young Composer Award—Henry From for Petawawa Gorges

Katrina Gimon (Ice Forms), Stephanie Orlando (riptide), and Liam Ritz (Chamber Dances) have been selected for the National Youth Orchestra of Canada’s mentorship program. They will be invited to attend an NYOC rehearsal reading of their orchestral composition.

The SOCAN Foundation Awards for Emerging Screen Composers is designed to recognize Canadian screen composers 30 years of age or under, for original musical themes or scores created exclusively for the screen, in audio-visual support (TV, film, etc.). Cash prizes worth $26,000 in total were presented to the winners of the competition’s four categories. Jury members included recognized film composers Steffan Andrews, Stephanie Hamelin Tomala, and Neil Parfitt.


Grand Prize
Dillon Baldassero for The Family (Escape)
Dillon Baldassero for Girl – Best Original Theme (2021)

Best Original Score—Animated
1st Prize—Medhat Hanbali for Trashy Friends
2nd Prize—Joey Reda for Drought

Best Original Score—Fiction
1st Prize— Virginia de Vasconcelos Kilbertus for Endlings: Season 2
2nd Prize— Iva Delic for I Can’t Said the Ant

Best Original Score—Non-Fiction
1st Prize— Andrés Galindo Arteaga for In Despair
2nd Prize—MAO YU for music for Wrought (spoil section)

Best Original Theme (opening or closing)
1st Prize—Spencer Creaghan for Letters To Satan Clause
2nd Prize— Lora Bidner for Elephant Sheets

For more information on SOCAN Foundation award winners, click here.

The registration deadlines for the 2022 SOCAN Foundation awards will be posted on the organization’s website in the early months of 2022.

SOCAN member and legendary concert music composer R. Murray Schafer – also a writer, and “acoustic ecologist” – passed away at the age of 88, on Aug. 14, 2021, following a struggle with Alzheimer’s disease.

“R. Murray Schafer was one of Canada’s most highly esteemed composers, and deservedly so,”
said SOCAN CEO Jennifer Brown. “He was among the first classical composers to incorporate the sounds of nature into performances of his music, bringing the concept of ‘soundscapes’ to life. In doing so, he developed a uniquely Canadian kind of concert music that owes so much to the beloved natural wilderness of our country.”

In 1978, Schafer was awarded the inaugural Jules Léger Prize for New Chamber Music, for his String Quartet No. 2 (Waves).  In 1987, he won the inaugural Glenn Gould Prize, and jury member Yehudi Menuhin praised his “strong, benevolent, and highly original imagination and intellect.” A recording of his first five string quartets won the JUNO Award in 1991 for Best Classical Album, Solo or Chamber Ensemble. The same year, Schafer won the JUNO for Best Classical Composition, for his String Quartet No. 5 (Rosalind). Again in 1991, he earned the SOCAN Jan V. Matejcek New Classical Music Award. Schafer was awarded the Canada Council’s Walter Carsen Prize in 2005; received a Governor General’s Performing Arts Award in 2009; and was inducted into the Order of Canada in 2013.

Schafer composed a great deal, in all genres: symphonic, chamber, opera, choral, and oratorio. His works were often performed outdoors, in order to integrate natural sounds into the music. For example, Music for Wilderness Lake was written for 12 trombonists spaced around a body of water. For another example, the opera The Princess of the Stars was intended to be performed by musicians gathered on the edge of a lake one hour before dawn, with awakening birds, and sunrise, contributing to both the sound and the drama, and some characters entering via canoe. (A 1985 production of the opera at Banff National Park attracted an audience of 5,000.)

Schafer was also concerned about the damaging effects of noise on people, particularly those living in cities. In 1969, he founded the World Soundscape Project at Simon Fraser University, “to find solutions for an ecologically balanced soundscape where the relationship between the human community and its sonic environment is in harmony.” He presented his theories and research in his 1977 book, The Tuning of the World.

Schafer began his studies at the Faculty of Music at the University of Toronto and the Royal Conservatory of Music, but dropped out after three years to study music less formally, in Vienna and England. He returned to Canada in 1961, and directed the first Ten Centuries Concerts in Toronto before starting a 12-year period of teaching: first, as an Artist-in-Residence at Memorial University (1963-65) and then at Simon Fraser University (1965-75). He then retired from teaching and began devoting himself solely to writing and composing.

It was after this retirement that Schafer wrote one of his most ambitious compositions, Apocalypsis,  an orchestral, choral, and theatrical piece based on the biblical Book of Revelation, requiring at least 500 performers. Because of its size and complexity, it has only been performed twice: first, in 1980, to commemorate the 125th anniversary of London, Ontario; and then, in 2015, at Toronto’s Luminato Festival. More than 1,000 artists participated in the latter, and it was live-streamed by CBC, and later released by Analekta Records.

SOCAN extends its deepest condolences to Schafer’s wife, family, friends, colleagues, and listeners.

Music trade publication Country Air Check has announced that “Barefoot Blue Jean Night,” co-written by Terry Sawchuk, is the most performed country song of the decade 2011-2021 at radio.

The song – written by Sawchuk, Dylan Altman, and Eric Paslay, and recorded by Jake Owen – was released in 2011, and has since earned almost 500,000 airplays on the radio, almost 35 million views on YouTube, and sold almost three million copies. The single also won Sawchuk a SOCAN Award, a Nashville Songwriters Association International No. 1 Award, a Country Music Academy No. 1 Award, and a nomination as Music Row’s Breakout Songwriter of The Year. It was the 2012 ASCAP Song of The Year.

Owen presented the award to co-writers Sawchuk and Paslay (Altman wasn’t available) onstage at The Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, during a performance on July 15, 2021.

“It was Sept. 27, 2010, in an attic on the fourth floor of a publishing house on Music Row,” says Sawchuk, describing how the song came together. “We felt like pedestrians, watching from afar as ‘Barefoot Blue Jean Night’ fell together in an hour-and-a-half, right before our eyes. It was so weirdly effortless and natural, definitely not your average writing day on Music Row.

“Unfortunately, labels weren’t responding to our simple guitar-and-vocal demo. We were tired of years of hearing the word ‘no,’ and too many songs being dropped from albums. This song felt too special, so we decided to take an outside-the-box approach. It wasn’t until I added an R&B beat in the verse, and a hip-hop beat in the chorus, Eric’s signature high-strung guitar playing, and Dylan’s New Jersey-esque gang-vocal ‘woohs’ in the chorus, that record labels took notice. Urban beats in country music? A production approach that in 2010 could get you thrown out of town…. LOL!

“Ten years later, Jake Owen surprised us onstage at The Ryman with this award. It just points to his humility and gratitude as a person, beyond being a fearless artist. We’re all so thankful and humbled by this award.”

Sawchuk is no stranger to success, as an artist, producer, songwriter, music publisher, and mixer for almost 30 years. In 2005, he produced  and co-wrote his first No. 1 song for Universal Music artist Matt Dusk, “Back in Town” – which also became the first jazz song in history to hit No. 1 on the Japanese pop charts. Dusk’s Canadian single “All About Me,” which Sawchuk produced, reached No. 1 on Adult Contemporary radio in Canada; his album My Funny Valentine: The Songs of Chet Baker was JUNO-nominated  for Best Jazz Vocal Album, and also earned a double-platinum award in Poland.

Kobalt Music signed Sawchuk to a worldwide music publishing deal in 2013, and the following year Canadian country music chart-topper Chad Brownlee released Sawchuk’s song “Falling Over You” as a single, reaching the Top 10 on Canada’s Country Chart. In 2017, the 20th Anniversary release of Alanis Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill album featured two songs co-written by Morissette and Sawchuk. He also co-wrote “This One’s On Me” with longtime Shania Twain and AC/DC producer/songwriter Mutt Lange, Simon Fuller-managed artist Ashley Clark, and Mike Krompass.

Most recently, Sawchuk co- wrote and co-produced the song “Blow” with Toronto artist Ruby Waters. It  reached No. 1 on the CBC Music Top 20 in May, and peaked at No. 5 on Canadian Alternative Radio. “Blow” was co-written by Ruby Waters, Jackson Willows, and Sawchuk.