Career Development Award

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 $25,000 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 Société Radio-Canada/ICI Musique, and it is funded by the WMCT Foundation.

The 2021 CDA winner is accordionist, Michael Bridge

Our audience will remember Michael from his brilliant Music in the Afternoon concert live-streamed on November 12 last year. Actually, this CDA award represents two firsts – the first accordionist, and the first awardee who has performed for us in advance of receiving the CDA!  But with such a talented and versatile performer as Michael we eagerly look forward to hearing him again (in person!) in his CDA-winner recital in our 2022-23 Music in the Afternoon season.

Michael hails from Calgary and is now based in Toronto. He is currently in the final stages of his Doctor of Musical Arts at the University of Toronto and on the cusp of a full-time performing career, though already he has toured every Canadian province, nearly half of the American states, and several regions in Europe and South America.

2021 Career Development Award | Finalists and Jury

The WMCT is delighted to announce the candidates and the jurors for its 2021 Career Development Award. The nine finalists are all exceptionally talented young musicians embarking on careers performing classical music. They were selected by CBC producers from across Canada. Each candidate has submitted audio-visual and written materials for review by a five-person jury and the announcement of the winner will be made at the Music in the Afternoon concert on March 4, 2021. The award is worth $25,000 and includes a performance in the WMCT’s concert series in 2022-23.

The Candidates

Kevin Ahfat, piano (Toronto, ON)
Michael Bridge, accordion (Calgary, AB)
Matthew Cairns, tenor (St. Catharine’s, ON)
Marcel D’Entremont, tenor (Merigomish, NS)
Simona Genga, mezzo-soprano (Woodbridge, ON)
“Meagan & Amy” – Amy Hillis, violin, and Meagan Milatz, piano (Regina, SK)
Jaeden Izik-Dzurko, piano (Salmon Arm, BC)
Alice Lee, violin (Victoria, BC)
Anna-Sophie Neher, soprano (Gatineau, PQ)

The Jury

Each year the jury includes two CBC producers, Alison Howard (Toronto) and Guylaine Picard (Montreal), who is also the jury chair. Special thanks also to Alison Howard for collating all the candidates’ materials and sending them out to the jurors. Three other jurors were selected for the 2021 award based on their musical/instrument expertise, experience with adjudication and representation from across Canada. They are:

Mark Fewer: violinist, chamber musician, new music promoter, Artistic/Festival Director, Professor at the University of Toronto.
Naomi Woo: conductor (opera & orchestra) pianist, opera coach, musicologist, Professor at the University of Manitoba. 
Christina Haldane: soprano, international performer and educator. Professor at Dalhousie University in Halifax.

Many thanks to all the candidates, the jurors, the CDA committee (Tamar Nelson, Holde Gerlach, Kathy Halliday and Alison Howard) as well as our very generous donors who have all contributed to making this significant and impactful award possible.

Annette Sanger, CDA Committee Chair

Career Development Award Winners:

  • 2018 – Blake Pouliot, violin
  • 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
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