Career Development Award

2021 Career Development Award | Finalists announced

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)
https://kevinahfat.com/about/

Michael Bridge, accordion (Calgary, AB)
http://www.michaelbridgemusic.com/about.html  

Matthew Cairns, tenor (St. Catharine’s, ON)
https://www.coc.ca/COC-news1?EntryID=22098

Marcel D’Entremont, tenor (Merigomish, NS)
http://www.boulevart.ca/en/artistes/marceldentremont-tenor/

Simona Genga, mezzo-soprano (Woodbridge, ON)
http://www.simonarosegenga.com/about.html

“Meagan & Amy” – Amy Hillis, violin, and Meagan Milatz, piano (Regina, SK)
https://www.meaganandamy.com/

Jaden Izik-Dzurko, piano (Salmon Arm, BC)
https://www.jaedenizikdzurko.com/

Alice Lee, violin (Victoria, BC)
http://www.sheancompetition.com/strings/competitors/Alice-Lee.html

Anna-Sophie Neher, soprano (Gatineau, PQ)
http://www.annasophieneher.com/biography

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.
https://www.markfewer.com/mark-fewer-short-biography.html

Naomi Woo: conductor (opera & orchestra) pianist, opera coach, musicologist, Professor at the University of Manitoba. 
https://wso.ca/about-us/the-orchestra/assistant-conductor/ 

Christina Haldane: soprano, international performer and educator. Professor at Dalhousie University in Halifax.
 https://www.dal.ca/faculty/arts/school-of-performing-arts/faculty-staff/our-faculty/Christina_Haldane.html

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

Chair, Career Development Award

Charles Richard-Hamelin opens the season

Les Violons du Roy are among the many Québec-province musical presenters embarking on live performance series. Their first concert takes place September 25 in the Salle Raoul-Jobin in the old city of Québec, including Mozart’s Piano concerto no. 23, with soloist 2015 WMCT CDA winner Charles Richard-Hamelin.

Charles will also play a recital of the complete Chopin Preludes in the Palais Montcalm, on October19 and 20.

Karina Gauvin – Live!

Karina Gauvin, WCMT 1994 Career Development Award Winner, appeared in the season-opening concert of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra on Friday September 11, in the Maison Symphonique in Place des Arts, singing Beethoven’s concert aria Ah! perfido. Bernard Labadie conducted 43 physically-distanced orchestra members. The hall has a capacity of 2,100: the provincial guidelines for indoor gatherings and all other Covid-19 protocols were observed. Ludwig van Montréal posted a full review.

Congratulations to Stéphane Tétreault

The Canada Council’s 2019 Virginia Parker Prize has been awarded to cellist prodigy, Stéphane Tétreault. Among his numerous awards and honours was the second prize at the 10th anniversary WMCT Career Development Award competition.

The Parker Prize is given to “a musician…under the age of 32 who demonstrates outstanding… artistic excellence and who makes a valuable contribution to artistic life in Canada and internationally.” In 2018 the Parker Prize went to violinist Blake Pouliot, our current CDA winner!

2019-11-27

Charles Richard-Hamelin’s new Chopin CD with Kent Nagano gets UK radio play

A few months after receiving the 10th WMCT Career Development Award, Charles was the silver medalist and winner of the Krystian Zimerman award for the best sonata, at the International Chopin Piano Competition in 2015. He has just issued a CD of Chopin concertos, with Kent Nagano and the OSM.

The CD received immediate attention in the UK. Classic FM, the most important classical radio station in London, has chosen it as its Album of the week! Starting April 15, tracks from the album will be played every day on the station which has 5.3 million listeners tuning in every week. 

From the April 2019 review by Alex Baran in Wholenote Magazine:

“Charles Richard-Hamelin’s recent recording Chopin: Concertos Nos. 1 & 2 (Analekta, AN 2 9146) is an exhilarating encounter with these two items of standard repertoire. There is a freshness in this performance that owes everything to its collaborators. Kent Nagano and the OSM are deeply aware of how much Chopin has vested in the piano’s role. Their ability to morph into something purely ethereal for the slow movement of Concerto No.2 is magical. The balance and unity across the ensemble, in this and similar passages, support the piano exquisitely. So much of the piano part in this movement is in simple octaves, albeit often very ornamented and fast. Richard-Hamelin performs it with absolute fluidity, as if it were an extended keyboard recitative. The time signature seems to dissolve, leaving only a hint of anything resembling a beat as the soloist and orchestra flow toward some distant ending.

The essence of dance that is inherent in Chopin’s writing saves the pianist from a conflictual role with the orchestra. The two are instead a pair of dancers elevating the solo instrument above the ensemble…. Hamelin and Nagano have delivered such a transcendent experience that [any] criticism seems somehow lost if not irrelevant in the overwhelming beauty of this performance.”

Canada Council Awards for Blake Pouliot

Blake Pouliot, 2018 WMCT Career Development Award winner, has been awarded the Canada Council’s Virginia Parker Prize.  This $25,000 Prize is awarded to a musician, under the age of 32 who demonstrates outstanding talent, musicianship and artistic excellence and who makes a valuable contribution to artistic life in Canada and internationally.  

Several WMCT CDA winners have been awarded this prize in earlier years: Shannon Mercer (2006), James Ehnes (1997), and Karina Gauvin (1995).

In 2015, Blake was given the use for three years of the 1729 Guarneri del Gesu violin from the Canada Council Musical Instrument Bank.  This loan has now been renewed until 2021.