Productions Totem Contemporain (hereafter “PTC”) is a non-profit organization founded in 1995 (incorporated in 2003) by Jean-François Laporte, who works at the forefront of research, experimentation and innovation, mostly in the niche field of new acoustic musical instruments.

The starting point of the “Totem” sound is the sound generators invented by Jean-François Laporte, a variety of musical instruments often created from unusual or commonly used objects.

In the last 13 years, PTC set up six series of events that allow us to make the “Totem” sound heard in various settings. We invite you to visit the web pages dedicated to these series: Totem Dance, Totem Electric, Totem Installation, Totem Youth, Totem Off Series, and Totem Digital.

In 2022, to celebrate 20 years of sonic research, PTC is calling on Canadian and international composers from all genres to participate in the Totem Electroacoustic Competition (hereafter the “Competition”).

The second edition of the Totem Electroacoustic competition will be launched on September 15, 2023 at 11:59 p.m. (eastern daylight time).

Goals of the contest

  • To promote PTC’s unique acoustic instrumentarium.
  • To provide creators with new means of expression while arousing their interest in future collaborations.
  • To encourage the creation of new electroacoustic works and encourage the presentation of these works in Quebec and abroad.
  • To diversify the repertoire of works in TPC’s programming.
  • To reach new audiences (composers and music lovers).

Competition Description:

The Competition is open to all professional composers and all musical styles (electroacoustic, digital, techno, noise, etc.).

As of September 15, 2023 at 11:59 p.m. EDT (eastern daylight time), PTC is inviting composers to register for the Competition to compose a work from a bank of more than 1,600 high-definition sounds recorded from instruments invented by PTC (especially the SubTuyo, Babel Table, and Siren Organ). Participants will have until December 20, 2024, to submit their composition, which will be evaluated by juries and, ultimately, by the audience of a public concert that will take place in the end of the winter 2025.

The prizes consist of money, work commissions, residences, and a phonographic release.


We would like to thank our partners Akousma and le Groupe Le Vivier for their generous contribution to the Totem Electroacoustic Competition with the Akousma Prize and the ViU Prize (Vivier InterUniversitaire).

We also thank the Conseil des Arts et des Lettres du Québec, the Canada Council for the Arts and the Conseil des Arts de Montréal, which generously support our annual activities, allowing us to carry out the various artistic projects that we present each season.


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Totem Electroacoustic is a competition whose purpose is to foster the creation of electroacoustic works from the sounds of PTC’s instruments.

Section 1: Organizer

The creation competition entitled “Totem Electroacoustic”, hereafter the “Competition”, is organized at the initiative of:

Productions Totem Contemporain

7128 14e Avenue, Montréal

Québec, H2A 2V7, Canada

Email : concours [at] totemcontemporain [dot] com


Section 2: Registration

  • The Competition is open to professional composers of all nationalities and ages.
  • Before registering, composers can assess their interest by consulting the Competition’s website. There they will find a representative sample of sounds produced by PTC’s various instruments. A few dozen sounds in MP3 format (not downloadable) will be accessible.
  • To register, participants must do the following:
    • Review the rules of the Competition;
    • Complete the online entry form. In that form, participants will need to briefly explain their motivations for participating in the Competition;
    • Accept the terms of participation stipulated in the rules of the Competition;
    • Submit the form. 
  • Once the form has been submitted and the participation fees have been paid, the participants will be assigned a user account on the Competition platform. From that account, they will be able to select a maximum of 50 sounds, in one or more sessions, among a bank of 1,200 stereo sounds generated by PTC instruments. Among these sounds, 200 are game sequences lasting up to 6 minutes and offering a rich diversity of sound material. Some sounds may be accompanied by a monophonic version. The composer will then be able to download these sounds in high resolution (96 kHz, 24 bits).
  • Participants will have until December 20, 2024, to submit their composition, royalty free, from their user account on the PTC website, for evaluation by the Competition’s juries. 


Section 3: Registration Fee

The Competition entry fee is CAD 45 non-refundable.

Exceptional exemption

In order to make the Competition accessible to all composers, PTC undertake to subsidizing certain participants whose condition do not allow these registration fees to be paid. These composers are welcome to advise us that they are unable to pay these fees in the registration form. The Competition may take discretionary action to waive their registration fee.


Section 4: Terms of participation

By November 22, 2024

  • Participants must be registered in accordance with the rules of the Competition.


By December 20, 2024

  • Participants must have submitted their work for the Competition. Each composer can submit only one work.
  • The submitted work must be:
    • An electroacoustic composition to be broadcast by loudspeakers without the use of live sound interventions;
    • In stereo or multichannel format (maximum 8 channels) and must be at least 7 minutes long and preferably not exceeding 15 minutes;
    • royalty-free and unpublished: it must not have been performed in a public concert, distributed electronically (SoundCloud or other platforms) or released on CD;
    • Composed from sounds generated by PTC’s instruments and available in the Competition sound bank; these sounds may, however, undergo various sound treatments at the realization stage. The addition of other sound sources will be accepted but must remain exceptional so that the work submitted to the Competition primarily reflects the imprint of the sounds of PTC.
  • Mention of the origin of sound materials must be made during any form of public communication about the work. To this end, presentation of the work must always be accompanied by the following statement: This work was made from sounds that were originally generated by the instruments of Productions Totem Contemporain.
    • This mention must also accompany any other future use of these sounds (the wording may be adapted to the specific use: concert piece, podcast, installation, etc.).
    • Commercial use of sounds generated by PTC instruments is not permitted.
  • The work may not be submitted to another competition until the results of the Competition have been announced.
  • There is no restriction on the musical aesthetics adopted, provided that the work can be broadcast exclusively on a loudspeaker system.
  • The composer retains the copyright of the work submitted to the Competition. The composer will always have the option of recording their work or using it as they see fit after the Competition. However, PTC may make the work available for viewing/listening on the company’s website for promotional and archival purposes.
  • The files submitted to the Contest will remain in the archives of PTC.


Section 5: Documents to be submitted by December 20, 2024 (registered composers)

  • All candidates must submit the following files through their user account:
    • A text presenting the work submitted to the Competition in PDF format;
    • A high-resolution photo of the candidate;
    • An MP3 file of the work (320 Kbps);
    • An AIFF or WAV audio file (16-bit or 24-bit, at a sample rate of 44.1 kHz) containing the stereo version of the work;
    • A 3-minute excerpt (MP3) of the work deemed particularly representative by the candidate. A first screening will be made using this 3-minute extract.
  • Audio files should be named as follows: TE2023_ user account number_Work Title_duration in minutes (for example: TE2023_145_Totem_11min). The names of the composers must not appear in any of the file names: candidates will be identifiable only by the number associated with the user account that they obtained upon registration.
  • The finalists will be advised to send, if applicable, the multichannel version of their work for concert presentation.


Section 6: Juries

  • The juries will evaluate the works anonymously.
  • The juries’ decisions are final and will be communicated to the finalists no later than January 15, 2023.
  • The juries will consist of composers of various aesthetics who will gather for several days to listen to and evaluate the works submitted to the Competition.
  • The composition of the juries will be established taking into account gender representation (male/female) and artistic diversity.
  • A main jury consisting of personalities of different nationalities well-known in the world of art and music, will have the mandate of awarding the “Totem Electroacoustic Prizes”.
  • A special jury made up of members of Akousma’s artistic committee will award the “Akousma Prize”. This prize will be awarded to the best acousmatic work among all the works submitted to the Competition.
  • A Vivier InterUniversitaire (ViU) jury made up of composition students from different institutions of higher music education in Montreal will award the “ViU Award”. The formation of this jury, under the supervision of Groupe Le Vivier, helps to broaden aesthetic horizons by integrating emerging composers who, through awarding this prize, will express a vision specific to their generation. This initiative of Groupe Le Vivier is also an opportunity for training and professional integration for the members of the new generation who will make up this jury.


Section 7: Prizes and Awards

  • The finalist works will be presented in concert in front of the juries and the public in the winter of 2025. Composers whose works have been selected will be invited to come to perform and present their works in concert.
  • The “Electroacoustic Totem Prizes” will be awarded to three finalists of the Competition. The main jury will award a monetary prize for the three “Electroacoustic Totem Prizes”: the first prize is worth CAD 2,500, the second CAD 1,500 and the third CAD 1,000.
  • The “Akousma Prize” will be awarded to one of the finalists and will be endowed with a sum of CAD 1,500.
  • These prizes will be paid to the candidates within one month of the deliberations of the juries and the announcement of the results.
  • An Audience Award will be awarded by the audience attending the concert and, simultaneously, by the online audience.
  • The “Audience Award” and “ViU Award” are not endowed with money, but the composers will benefit from the exposure offered by the concert and the promotional tools of the Competition.


Section 8: Other benefits

In addition to the prizes and awards mentioned above, the finalists will be able to enjoy the following benefits:

  • Work commission: among the winners of the Competition, three composers will be offered a commission for a mixed work composed for PTC instruments associated with an electrical/electronic component (fixed sounds, live electronic processing, amplification, etc.). These works will be premiered as part of the Totem Electric Series and will be the subject of multi-camera audiovisual recordings to be made available on various digital platforms.
  • Creative residency: to complete their commission, the three selected composers will be invited to Espace Totem for a 10-day creative residency with one of the PTC instrument performers. PTC will cover the cost of accommodation and stay in Montreal. However, travel and transportation will be at the composer’s expense, but PTC commits to provide a letter of support to help with the awarding of a grant for this purpose. 
  • CD publication: the finalists’ works will be the subject of a CD publication on Totem Electroacoustic’s house label.


For any further information, please contact us at: concours [at] totemcontemporain [dot] com