Composition Competition Winner 2019

Julijana Hajdinjak
(Mississauga, Ontario)

Winning piece:

Julijana Hajdinjak (b. 1996 – Scarborough, Ontario) is a composer, soprano, singer-songwriter, teacher and conductor based in Mississauga, Ontario. Her works have been performed and read across Canada by ensembles including the Laurier Orchestra, the Via Choralis Choir, Choirs for Change, Vera Causa Opera, the University of Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Elektra Women’s Choir, George Brown College and the world renowned Penderecki String Quartet. Julijana is also a film composer, and actively works in the film industry on a variety of genres from documentaries to shorts to tv episodes.

She has been fascinated by music since the early age of three. Her passion for music is fuelled by her joy of creating and expressing herself. While Julijana received private piano instruction with Cynthia Kaarto, she also attended the Regional Arts Program at Cawthra Park Secondary School where she majored in Voice. Being a member of Cawthra Park’s Chamber Choir, under the direction of Bob Anderson, she had the opportunity to perform with Cirque du Soleil numerous times, and even with The Rolling Stones at the Air Canada Centre in 2013.

She has graduated from Wilfrid Laurier University with an Honours Bachelor of Music with distinction majoring in Contemporary Music: Composition. She studied composition with Linda Catlin Smith and Glenn Buhr, and was the Teaching Assistant for Buhr’s composition course in 2018. Her music education introduced her to a variety of composers such as P.I. Tchaikovsky, Alexandre Desplat, Louis Andreissen, John Williams and Hans Zimmer, who significantly affected both her musical style and influenced her compositions.

Julijana is a member of  The Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN) and the Screen Composers Guild of Canada (SCGC). She is also the founder of Fortepiano Music Studio, her own music school and composition studio.

Honourable Mentions

Laura Collier
Charlottesville, VA)
Two Ocean Songs

Laura Collier began piano lessons when she was 7 and has been playing and composing ever since. In 2015, she graduated with a master’s degree in music composition from George Mason University where she studied under Mark Camphouse and Jesse Guessford. Her piece Six Bagatelles was recently selected as finalist in the Sorodha 7th International Composition Competition and had its premiere in Antwerp.


Elliott Grabill
(Baltimore, MD)
Two Songs of Incarceration

Composer / songwriter Elliott Grabill’s music has been described as “hauntingly beautiful, sumptuous and gorgeous.” His lyrics often address issues of social inequality based on his experiences teaching math in for nine years in public schools. Elliott’s music has been premiered by Dark in the Song, the Pique Collective, the Washington Men’s Camerata, and numerous soloists. He currently teaches calculus at Bard High School Early College.