The WMCT’s Career Development Award (CDA) is presented every three years to an exceptional young Canadian musician (or small ensemble) embarking on a professional performing career. The award includes a $20,000 cash prize as well as the opportunity to give a recital in the Music in the Afternoon concert series. The CDA is a project of the WMCT in partnership with CBC Radio Music and Espace musique de Radio-Canada, and it is funded by the WMCT Foundation.
The winner of the WMCT’s 2018 Career Development Award is 23-year-old Blake Pouliot. Mr Pouliot was selected from ten candidates by a jury of five esteemed musicians, music educators and music producers from across Canada – Jane Coop, Adrian Fung, Gordon Gerrard, Alison Howard and Guylaine Picard.
Already in demand as a soloist, during the 2017-18 season Mr Pouliot will appear with symphony orchestras in Toronto (April 14 & 15), Edmonton, Ottawa, Pasadena and Newfoundland, as well as in recital at the Banff Centre, Fête de la Musique Mont Tremblant, Orford Arts Centre and Pasadena’s Boston Court. Indeed, since his solo orchestral debut at the age of 11 with the Toronto Trinity Chamber Orchestra, Mr Pouliot has performed with orchestras in Europe and across North and South America.
Currently a Professional Studies Certificate candidate at the Colburn Conservatory of Music in Los Angeles, Mr Pouliot began his violin studies in Toronto with Marie Berard and Erica Raum, and completed his training as an associate of the Royal Conservatory of Music. He plays a 1729 Guarneri del Gesù, on loan from the Canada Council Musical Instrument Bank.
Blake Pouliot was the Grand Prize winner of the 2016 Orchestre symphonique de Montréal Manulife Competition and received the Canada Council for the Arts Michael Measures Prize in 2013. The multi-talented Mr Pouliot won first prize at the 2010 Canadian Contemporary Music Festival with his piano composition Starlight on Water. And, just one day after the announcement of the CDA, on March 9, 2018, Mr Pouliot’s debut CD, featuring the Debussy and Ravel sonatas, will be released on the Analekta label.
On hearing the news of his Career Development Award, Mr Pouliot wrote “I am so thrilled to have won this incredible award! The list of previous winners is an outstanding roster of artists, and I’m so humbled to now be included on that list!”
2015 Career Development Award Winners
First place: Pianist, Charles Richard-Hamelin
$20,000, plus a recital engagement in the WMCT’s Music in the Afternoon concert series in 2016-17
Charles Richard-Hamelin is one of today’s most promising young Canadian pianists, already in great demand on the world stage. Just a few months after winning the WMCT’s CDA, Charles went on to great success in the prestigious International Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw in October 2015, garnering both the Silver Medal and the Krystian Zimerman prize for the best sonata performance. Previously he won the second prize at the Montreal International Musical Competition. As a soloist, Charles has performed with various ensembles including the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre Métropolitain, Korean Symphony Orchestra, I Musici de Montréal, McGill Symphony Orchestra, Lanaudière Sinfonia, and Orchestra Toronto. Originally from Lanaudière in Québec, Charles Richard-Hamelin studied with Paul Surdulescu, Richard Raymond, Sara Laimon and Boris Berman. He obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Performance from McGill University in 2011 and a Master’s degree from the Yale School of Music in 2013 – on full scholarships in both institutions. Charles is now studying at the Conservatoire de Musique de Montréal with André Laplante.
Second place: Cellist, Stéphane Tétreault
Cello prodigy Stéphane Tétreault first made international headlines as the recipient of Bernard Greenhouse’s cello, the 1707 “Countess of Stainlein, Ex-Paganini” Stradivarius, on generous loan from Mrs. Jacqueline Desmarais. He was the laureate of the first Fernand-Lindsay Career Award as well as Jeunesses Musicales of Canada’s Choquette-Symcox Award in 2013. His debut CD, released on the Analekta label and recorded with the Orchestre symphonique de Québec and conductor Fabien Gabel, was nominated as the “Best Classical Album of the Year” at the 2013 ADISQ Gala, and earned rave reviews from The Strad and Gramophone magazines. As the first Soloist-in-Residence of the Orchestre Métropolitain, he performed alongside Yannick Nézet-Séguin during the 2014-2015 season and made his debut at the Auditorium of the Louvre Museum in March 2015. Now 22 years old, Stéphane was a student of the late cellist and conductor Yuli Turovsky for more than 10 years. He holds a Bachelor’s degree and is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Music Performance at the Université de Montréal.
Third Place: Pianist, Pierre-André Doucet
Acadian pianist and writer Pierre-André Doucet is presently a doctoral candidate at l’Université de Montréal, where he studies with Maneli Pirzadeh. He has also participated in masterclasses with such luminaries as Robert McDonald, John Perry and Paul Stewart (piano), and Elly Ameling, Marilyn Horne, Kiri Te Kanawa, Martin Katz, Graham Johnson, Warren Jones and Roger Vignoles (vocal piano). Winner of the Knigge Piano Competition (2013), Mr. Doucet has also been awarded top prizes for his performances of contemporary works, namely at the Ibiza International Piano Competition (2013) and the Prix d’Europe (2014). Recent projects have seen him travel throughout Canada, as well as to the United States, Austria, France, Germany, Lebanon, Spain, South Africa and his native New Brunswick, where he was named Co-Artistic Director of Barachois Summer Music in 2012.
Career Development Award Winners:
- 2015 – Charles Richard-Hamelin, piano
- with second prize to cellist, Stéphane Tétreault, and third prize to pianist, Pierre André Doucet
- 2012 – Vincent Lauzer, recorder
- 2009 – Darrett Zusko, piano
- 2006 – Shannon Mercer, soprano
- 2003 – Sonia Chan, piano
- 2000 – Yegor Dyachkov, cello
- 1997 – Jeanie Chung, piano
- 1994 – Karina Gauvin, soprano
- 1992 – James Ehnes, violin
- 1990 – Francine Kay, piano