The Canadian Music Centre in BC is pleased to announce the 2018 Jean Coulthard String Quartet Readings, offered in collaboration with the Borealis String Quartet, Composer-Mentor Rita Ueda, and the Vancouver Maritime Museum.

Named in honour of one of British Columbia’s most beloved legacy composers and teachers, the Jean Coulthard String Quartet Readings allow emerging composers to gain experience writing for string quartet, along with the invaluable opportunity of having their pieces read, workshopped, rehearsed, and performed by a professional string quartet through sessions facilitated by a professional Composer-Mentor.

The program’s unique format is designed for composers to receive feedback from both the Borealis Quartet and the Composer-Mentor, so they may revise and refine their works several times over the course of the twelve-week seminar.

This year, the Jean Coulthard String Quartet Readings includes a special partnership with the Vancouver Maritime Museum, centered around the celebrated RCMP schooner, the St. Roch. Built in North Vancouver in 1928, the St. Roch was the first vessel to sail the Northwest Passage from West to East (1940-1942), and the first to completely circumnavigate North America. The St. Roch, a National Historic Site, celebrates its 90th Anniversary on Canada Day, July 1, 2018.

The 2018 Jean Coulthard String Quartet Readings will culminate in two public performances. The first, on Saturday, June 30th, will take place at the CMC’s intimate Murray Adaskin Salon. The second will occur on Sunday, July 1st at the Vancouver Maritime Museum, in close proximity to the St. Roch herself, as part of the museum’s Canada Day celebrations and the 90th Anniversary of the St. Roch.

Thanks to the generosity of the Deux Mille Foundation, sponsor of the Jean Coulthard String Quartet Readings, all events are offered to participants free of cost.


1. Applicants must be BC-based composers in the early stages of their professional careers; however, there is no age restriction. Composers must attend all readings and performances.

2. Submitted works must be scored for the full ensemble of two violins, one viola, and one cello. Works for partial instrumentation, or works involving other instruments, will not be considered. Works requiring electronic elements will be considered subject to feasibility; to be eligible, composers must provide full technical specifications.

3. Preference will be given to works five minutes and under in duration. Works must not have been performed previously.

4. For this year’s session, composers are encouraged to take inspiration from some aspect of the history of the St. Roch. To this end, free, private tours of the vessel at the Vancouver Maritime Museum are available to all prospective applicants (please see below).

5. In the event that more applications are received than can be included, a jury of experienced composers and performers will evaluate the submissions. Decisions of the panel are final.


1. Application packages must be submitted no later than midnight on Wednesday, May 23, either in person or by mail to the Canadian Music Centre, 837 Davie St., Vancouver, BC, V6Z 1B7, or by email to Please submit only paper copies or PDFs (no computer notation software files).

2. Application packages must include the following:

(a) A draft score and parts to be read at the first session. NB: this need not yet be a complete, finished work. Sketches and partial works are permitted at this stage; however, the submitted material must be in a form that can be read by the quartet.

(b) A short biography (100 words maximum), including full contact information.

(c) A short program note for the piece (100 words maximum).


1. Free tours of the St. Roch for prospective applicants at Vancouver Maritime Museum (1905 Ogden Ave., Vancouver; please RSVP to

2. Deadline for applications
Thursday, May 17, by 4:30 PM. Please send or deliver to the Canadian Music Centre in BC (837 Davie Street, Vancouver, BC, V6Z 1B7), or by email to

3. First reading with Borealis Quartet and Composer-Mentor Rita Ueda.
Saturday, May 26, 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM.

4. Second reading with Borealis Quartet and Composer-Mentor Rita Ueda.
Saturday, June 16, 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM. (NB: only composers who make substantive revisions to their works will receive a second reading).

5. Deadline for submission of final scores and parts.
Thursday, June 21, by 4:30 PM. Please send or deliver to the Canadian Music Centre in BC (837 Davie Street, Vancouver, BC, V6Z 1B7), or by email to

6. First public performance of works.
Saturday, June 30, 2:00 PM at CMC BC’s Murray Adaskin Salon.

7. Second public performance of works.
Sunday, July 1, 3:30 PM at Vancouver Maritime Museum.


Please direct any questions to the Canadian Music Centre in BC (