Frequently Asked Questions

Applying to PRISMA

How can I apply to PRISMA?

You can apply for PRISMA via Acceptd, the online application tool.  For more information about how to apply, please visit our apply now page.

What is the application fee?

The application fee is $75 USD.

When is the application deadline?

All applications must be received by February 28, 2017.

What do I need to play for my audition video?

Click here to view our suggested audition repertoire for each instrument.  Please note that you may also use another audition video that you have already prepared, as long as it includes orchestra excerpts.

I am not sure if PRISMA is the right program for me.  Is there someone I can talk to about this before I apply?

PRISMA offers Pre-Audition Skype Consultations, which allow you to play for and talk to the Music Director and receive his advice as to whether your current musical skills match the PRISMA standard.  To request a Skype consultation, click here.

When will I hear if I have been accepted to PRISMA?

All applicants will be notified of their acceptance or waitlist status by March 20, 2017.

What happens once I receive my acceptance letter from PRISMA?

Once you receive your acceptance letter, you will have one week to notify us of your acceptance and pay your tuition deposit.  Your deposit of $575 CAD will be due within 10 days of your being notified of acceptance.

You must pay your deposit to secure your place at PRISMA.

Concerto Competition

What is the Concerto Competition?

The Concerto Competition provides interested students with an opportunity to compete. Up to twelve students will make it to the semifinals and will perform their selected piece with piano accompaniment in front of an audience and an international jury of guest artists  The three finalists will be soloists with the Pacific Philharmonic in (a movement of) a solo concerto or solo piece during a symphony concert.

How can I enter the Concerto Competition?

In order to enter, you must specify on your PRISMA application that you are interested in participating in the competition.

You must select a movement of a concerto or a solo piece that requires orchestra accompaniment and does not exceed 15 minutes in length. 

When is the deadline for competition submissions?

In order to participate in the preliminary round of the competition, you must provide us with a YouTube link to an unedited video of your piece before April 15, 2016.

What happens after I submit my video?

Once your submission has been received, it will be reviewed by the judging panel.  Semi-finalists will be announced prior to the start of PRISMA.  The semi-final round will take place during PRISMA and is open to the public.  Piano accompaniment will be available for the semi-final round.

How do I prepare if I am selected to take part in the semi-final round?

If you are selected for the semi-final round, you must ensure that you bring the sheet music for the full orchestra with you, in case you are selected for the finals.  PRISMA will not supply the music for the orchestra for your piece, so it is important to make sure that you are well-prepared.  This is also something to consider before selecting the piece you will use to compete.  You can find pieces that are past copyright here:

What is the prize for the winner of the competition?

The Grand Prize of a week in the Moscow Symphony Orchestra will be awarded to the winner at the evening concert as judged by the international jury.

More information about the Concerto Competition and the full competition rules can be found here.


How much does it cost to attend PRISMA?

In addition to your application fee, you will pay for your tuition, and, if you so choose, your meals and accommodations.

We offer two fee packages for students:

PRISMA Tuition Only (does not include housing or meals):  $575 CAD for 2017

PRISMA Complete Package (tuition, housing, and meals):  $1575 CAD for 2017

For more information about PRISMA’s fees, click here.

When are my fees due?

Upon acceptance, you must pay a deposit of $575 for 2017 to secure your place at PRISMA.  The balance of your fees will be due within 10 days of your being notified of acceptance.  Failure to pay your fees on time may result in the loss of your place at PRISMA.

Is my travel included in my fees?

No.  In addition to your fees, you will be responsible for paying for and arranging your own travel to and from Powell River, BC, Canada.  Information about how to get to Powell River can be found here.

Once you get to Powell River, PRISMA will pick you up from the Powell River airport, ferry or bus terminal.

I can’t afford to pay my fees or travel, but I really want to attend PRISMA.  Is there financial assistance available to help me?

One of the core goals of PRISMA is to be accessible and welcoming to the most talented students regardless of financial means. As a relatively young institution we are still in the process of building the endowment that will allow us to fully realise this goal;  however, we do set aside funds every year to assist students who might otherwise be unable to attend.   This assistance takes two forms:

1.  All students who are accepted into the program in 2017 will receive a ‘half fellowship’, bringing the tuition cost down from $1150 to $575

2.  We also award a limited number of scholarships, covering tuition, tuition and meals, or tuition and full board.  Students receiving these scholarships are selected on the basis of financial need, artistic merit, and the necessity of achieving the proper instrumental balance within the Academy orchestra.

The award of the ‘half-fellowship’ is automatic upon acceptance;  no application is necessary.  However, students who wish to be considered for an additional scholarship should click here to submit an application for financial assistance.  Scholarship applications MUST be received by February 28.

PRISMA also works with the Rotary Clubs of Powell River and the worldwide Rotary network to help students apply for funding from their local Rotary Club(s).  More information about this can be found here.  If you are interested in getting Rotary support, you will want to start this process even before hearing about your admission to PRISMA, so that you will be able to get a decision on time.

Some schools also provide assistance for students to attend summer programs.  Check with your school to see what options are available.

Travelling to Powell River

Where is Powell River?

Powell River is located on British Columbia’s scenic Sunshine Coast, 124 km northwest of Vancouver. 

How do I get to Powell River?

Powell River is accessible by car, bus and airplane. If you travel by bus or car you will need to take a ferry from the Vancouver area (Horseshoe Bay) or Vancouver Island (Courtenay/Comox). The plane leaves from Vancouver International Airport’s (YVR) South Terminal.  Because the flights and ferries are on a limited schedule, make sure you coordinate your arrival to take travel time into consideration to get to Powell River before the start of the program.  For more information on how to travel to Powell River, click here.

When should I arrive in Powell River?  When should I book my return travel home?

Students should arrive in Powell River on June 11, 2017, and plan to depart on June 25, 2017.

Preparing to Attend PRISMA

I have paid my fees and booked my travel.  How can I prepare to attend PRISMA?

Practice your parts in advance.  PRISMA works according to the model of a professional symphony orchestra.  There is only one week to prepare the repertoire for each concert, and there will not be enough time to practice your parts upon arrival.  Also prepare a minimum of three (3) standard excerpts you want to work on during the classes. Preparation of more excerpts is advised.

Students should read the PRISMA website thoroughly prior to attending PRISMA, to ensure that they have all the required information.  We will send you informational email messages, and it is important for students to read them and reply as required.

If you have any questions that are not answered by the website or informational emails, it is important to ask us so that we can provide you with the information you need.

Do I need a visa to enter Canada?

Canada requires visas from certain countries.  To find out if you require a visa, click here to search for your country and the necessary requirements.

Please note that a visa is not required for students from the United States.

If you are not a Canadian citizen or permanent resident and are coming to Canada just for PRISMA, you will enter as temporary resident/tourist/visitor.  If you are just attending a short-term program, you will not be considered to be entering Canada to study.  You do not need – and should not apply for – a student visa.  When you enter Canada, you will have to complete a customs form. You should check that the purpose of your visit is “Personal” not “Study”.

I need a visa to enter Canada.  How can PRISMA assist me with this process?

PRISMA will provide a letter for you to submit with your visa application.  To request a visa letter, please send us an email.

When should I apply for my visa?

It may take up to 60 days for your visa application to be processed.  We advise you to contact your visa office as soon as possible to determine processing times and the requirements you must meet to receive a visa.

What is the concert repertoire?

The 2017 repertoire is as follows:

Week 1

Beethoven Overture Fidelio

Strauss – 4 last songs, soprano Lauren Margison

- - -

Rachmaninoff – Symphony no. 2


Week 2

Concerto Competition                                                                              

- - -

Mahler - Adagio from Symphony no. 10 

Strauss - Rosenkavalier Suite

(Repertoire subject to change)

More information about the concert repertoire can be found here.

Will I receive my sheet music ahead of time?

Yes, you will receive your music ahead of time in digital format, and are expected to print them, pack them and arrive at PRISMA fully prepared to begin orchestra rehearsals immediately.  As PRISMA has a very intense schedule, it is important to be well prepared prior to arrival.

Accommodations and Meals

Where will I be staying if I select the Complete Package with accommodations and meals?

All students who elect to have their accommodations and meals provided by PRISMA will be staying at the first-class Town Centre Hotel, which is located a short walk from concert and rehearsal spaces and local amenities. 

I have special dietary or other requirements.  Can PRISMA accommodate these?

Yes, PRISMA can accommodate your special requirements, as long as you let us know ahead of time.  When you are preparing to attend PRISMA, you will receive an email asking if you have any special requirements, and it is important to let us know as early as possible so that we can make suitable arrangements for you.

If I book my own accommodations, will PRISMA provide me with meals?

No.  If you choose to book your own accommodations and pay for only your tuition, you will need to provide your own meals.

What to Expect at PRISMA

What does a typical day at PRISMA look like?

Each morning, breakfast will be provided for students who have selected the complete package at the Town Centre Hotel.  After breakfast, students will proceed to the Evergreen Theatre for orchestra rehearsals, after which lunch will be served back at the hotel. 

A detailed schedule of events including master classes, student recitals, and private lessons that will take place in the afternoons can be found here.

Dinner will also be served at the hotel, after which students will take part in concerts, other activities, or have free time depending on the day.

A complete schedule will be given to participants upon arrival at PRISMA.

What will the schedule be like during PRISMA?

PRISMA will provide you with two weeks of non-stop learning and activity, including orchestra rehearsals, concerts, private lessons, master classes, student recitals, sectionals, and audition training.

For details about what you will be doing during each of these activities, click here.

For a schedule of events including concerts (subject to change), click here.

Will I have time and space to rehearse alone?

Students will have some time to rehearse alone, and rehearsal space will be available upon request, subject to availability.

Where will rehearsals, lessons, and concerts be taking place?

This year, PRISMA offers three venues for rehearsals, concerts, and lessons.  All major concerts will take place at the Evergreen Theatre at the Powell River Recreational Complex.  Master classes, student recitals, and lessons may take place at the Recreation Complex, Town Centre Hotel, or Town Centre Mall.  All venues are within walking distance of the hotel and each other.

For details about the location of various activities (subject to change), please click here.


My question is not answered here.  Who can I contact for more information?

Send an email to with any additional questions, and we will be happy to answer them.