VICO Summer Academy 2023

The Vancouver Inter-Cultural Orchestra (VICO) invites established and emerging musicians and composers to apply for the VICO Summer Academy, to be held June 26-July 8, 2023 in Vancouver, Canada. This innovative educational initiative offers hands-on experience in creating and performing intercultural music.

Space is limited, and the workshop spaces and instructional opportunities are tailored to the participating composers and musicians. Interested individuals should consider applying as soon as possible to allow for as much customization of the program to their needs as possible. The Summer Academy is open to composers and musicians aged 15 and up, of all nationalities and of every musical background.

About the Academy



How to Apply

Tuition & Method of Payment

Contact Information



The 2023 Academy will be held from June 26 to July 8, 2023 at the VSO School of Music (843 Seymour St. in downtown Vancouver). The program offers training in two streams:

1. Composers: 

    • Introduction to three musical cultures 
    • Instruction on instrumentation of non-Western instruments
    • Instruction on intercultural orchestration
    • Composition master classes and private lessons 
    • Performance of participating composers’ works with professional VICO musicians
    • Free admission to the Summer Academy Concert Series (four concerts July 1, 6, 7, 8)

2. Performers:

    • Introduction to three musical cultures 
    • Private instruction on instrument of study with world class faculty
    • Instruction on improvisation, intercultural ensemble skills
    • Aural skills training in specific world music traditions
    • Opportunity to perform in chamber ensemble and orchestra
    • Free admission to the Summer Academy Concert Series (four concerts July 1, 6 7, 8)


Participants should have a minimum of 4 to 5 years of private musical study or equivalent.

  • Applicants in the Performance stream need not read Western staff notation, but should be open to learning it during the course of study at the Academy.
  • Applicants in the Composition stream are expected to be fluent in Western staff notation.



1. Master Classes for Composers

Composers are invited to compose under the direction of established intercultural composers, then workshop their new compositions with professional VICO musicians, and attend the premiere performance. Composers will also receive digital documentation of their new work. Each composer may compose/workshop or submit a 6-8 minute-long composition, using instruments from ONE of the following three groups (Tentet, Quartet A or Quartet B):

  • Tentet: Erhu, viola, bass, tar/setar, oud/tar, santoor, flutes (one player), clarinets (one player), sheng and percussion (one player). This ensemble will be led by a conductor.
  • Quartet A: zheng,  kamanche, alto qaichak, cello 
  • Quartet B: pipa, ruan/daruan, violin/mandolin, dizi/xiao

 *For brief introductions to these instruments, click here.

2. Ensemble & Master Classes for Instrumentalists

Musicians performing any type of musical instrument—Western European orchestral instruments (e.g. clarinet, violin, cello) or non-Western traditional instruments (e.g. erhu, oud, accordion) – are invited to partake in hands-on workshops and master classes delving into topics such as: intercultural performance techniques, different improvisational styles, the musics of China and the Middle East and contemporary Western Classical music.

Participants will also have the opportunity to perform in a 20-piece intercultural orchestra under the mentorship of professional VICO musicians.

3. Lectures & Documentation

The Academy programme includes discussions on musics of different cultures, improvisational techniques, and intercultural composition. All workshops and performances will be documented (both audio & visual) for later reference.

4. Concert Series

The Academy programme includes concerts on July 1 at St Andrews Church (North Vancouver), and July 6, 7 and 8 at the Orpheum Annex (downtown Vancouver).

5. Auditing / Part-time Attendance

The Summer Academy can accommodate auditors and part time applicants. For more information, please contact:

 6. Support for Applicants Seeking Grant Funding to Attend

VICO can assist with a letter of invitation for applicants’ grant applications, if the request is received at least 1 week before the letter is required. Please contact us at with the details.


Mark Armanini – artistic director
Farshid Samandari – composer-in-residence
Janna Sailor – conductor
Joël Bons – guest composer (The Netherlands)
John Zoltek – guest conductor (Glacier Symphony Orchestra, USA)

Other special guests & full faculty to be announced soon!



Application deadline: May 31, 2023

1. Fill out and submit the online registration form here.

2. E-mail ONE letter of support (from a teacher, colleague or similar – someone who is knowledgeable about your background and skills, and can speak to how participating in the Academy would benefit you as an artist)  to

3. A non-refundable registration fee of $100 is required; please submit payment via Paypal ( if you have a Paypal account, or with a credit card via the Paypal button below).





Early bird rate (application accepted & tuition paid in full by April 30, 2023): $900 CAD

Regular rate (After April 30, 2023): $1,000 CAD

Small Scholarships are available, and are offered on a first-come-first-served basis.

Once accepted into the Academy, payment of the full tuition is required via Paypal, cheque, money order or wire transfer before June 10, 2023.

Please note: in the case of cancellation by the participant, tuition is non-refundable after June 10, 2023.

METHOD OF PAYMENT – Registration Fee & Tuition

Please select the appropriate option from the dropdown menu and then click “Pay Now” to enter Paypal or credit card information.

Choose one:


The VICO extends grateful thanks to our funders and partners, whose generous contributions have made the VICO Summer Academy possible:



Photos by Michael Marang

VICO Summer Academy 2019

Photos by Michael Marang

VICO Summer Academy 2019