Congratulations to Kelly-Marie Murphy

Kelly-Marie Murphy, pictured here with Artistic Director Simon Fryer, has won this year’s Jules Léger Prize for New Chamber Music. Her composition titled Coffee Will be Served in the Living Room, for 8 cellos, was commissioned by the WMCT, and premiered on May 3, 2018 at CelloDrama!, in Music in the Afternoon‘s 120th season.

The prize, administered by the Canada Council, was established in 1978 by the Right Honourable Jules Léger, then Governor General of Canada.

Other WMCT-commissioned composers who have won this prize are Christos Hatzis, Chris Paul Harman, and Zosha di Castri.

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)

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)

Jaden 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

Chair, Career Development Award

Scholarship Winners 2020-21

Emily Bosenius currently studies violin with Jonathan Crow, in her third year at the University of Toronto‘s Faculty of Music, where she holds Principal and Concertmaster positions in the University of Toronto Symphony Orchestra. Emily has performed under the baton of Jonathan Darlington, Anton Kuerti and Peter Oundjian, participated in the Orford Music Academy and Domaine Forget’s International Academy, and toured Germany and Scotland with the 2018 National Youth Orchestra of Canada. The COVID shutdown cancelled her planned engagements this year with the Guelph Symphony Orchestra, the Oakville Chamber Orchestra, and UTSO, and her planned attendance at the 2020 Aspen Music Festival. Coronavirus restrictions also prevented the winner of the WMCT Centennial Scholarship from performing at our AGM, but you can sample her artistry in this video.

With degrees from the New England Conservatory and the Juilliard School, violinist Hee-Soo Yoon is a new student at the Glenn Gould School of the Royal Conservatory of Toronto, supported by the WMCT and WMCTF 110th Anniversary Scholarship. Hee-Soo Yoon began playing violin at age 3. An avid chamber musician, she has performed with members of the Borromeo and Cleveland Quartets and has worked with members of the Brentano, Miró, and Juilliard Quartets. She made her solo debut performing Vivaldi’s Spring with the Vancouver Symphony with maestro Bramwell Tovey. She has collaborated with Sofia Gubaidulina, Julian Anderson, Stephen Chatman, and Eduardo Caballero. Here is a video excerpt of her April graduation recital, held in confined quarters because of COVID-19.

A note from Hee-Soo

I am so incredibly honoured to be a recipient of the Women’s Musical Club of Toronto and the Women’s Musical Club of Toronto Foundation 110th Anniversary Scholarship! It was so wonderful to meet you earlier this month, and I wanted to write to you to express my gratitude for your generosity, and share a bit about my background and why this scholarship is so important to me.
As you know, I just recently moved back to Canada to start the Artist Diploma Program at The Glenn Gould School to study with Mayumi Seiler. I was born in Victoria and grew up near Vancouver, but much of my musical education took place in the US. Even throughout high school, I found myself taking lessons and attending festivals across the border. Despite this, I have been wanting to return home to Canada and refamiliarize myself with the diverse musical scene here. GGS is the perfect place for young musicians like myself to explore our own artistry, and here it is easy to find inspiration from my colleagues and the city itself. Much of the curriculum is online for now, but I already feel like I am part of the community and I look forward to being a part of it in person! Currently, in addition to attending school I am working on a couple of personal musical projects, all collaborative in nature. While COVID-19 has made the execution of these projects a bit tricky, I hope to see them come to fruition soon.
Thank you so much for your gift and for supporting my education. It means so much to have this opportunity to be a part of the musical community in Toronto and at The Glenn Gould School, and I am very grateful to you for making this possible. I look forward to seeing how my career evolves from here!
Hee-Soo Yoon

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.

CORONEWS 3: Planning in this Time of Uncertainty

Planning in this Time of Uncertainty  

With no end in sight to the crushing effects of the pandemic on the seasons of performing arts presenters, on the livelihoods of artists, or on the spirits of audiences, the WMCT is still optimistic. Supported by the engagement of our members, the generosity of our donors, and the backing of the WMCT Foundation, the volunteer Board firmly intends to deliver an exceptional chamber music experience for the 123rd time.

The 123rd Season – Covid-19 Version
 In light of changing local regulations in health and safety, and shifting factors in international travel, the recital by Spanish oboist Ramón Ortega Quero has been moved from the beginning of the season (October 8) to the end (June 24, 2021.)

Presuming access to Walter Hall by November 12, Michael Bridge & Friends will perform there in a professionally-produced webcast.

By the time of our spring Music in the Afternoon events, we may all be able to meet in person.  We’ll keep you informed by e-newsletters, and on the website.  You can contact us anytime at or phone 416-923-7052.

The 2021 Career Development Award Competition is in progress, and Student Scholarships for the coming academic year to the Faculty of Music, University of Toronto, and the the Glenn Gould School of the Royal Conservatory of Music, will be presented as usual.

Best wishes for health and safety to you and your loved ones.

In Memoriam: Victor Feldbrill

Conductor Victor Feldbrill died on June 17, 2020, aged 96. He was a great friend of the WMCT, an honorary advisor, and several times a juror for the Career Development Award. In May 2013 he was guest speaker at a Club Lunch. For News & Notes no. 48, then president Annette Sanger interviewed Maestro Feldbrill and summarized his talk.

 WMCT member John Beckwith remembers: “Victor and I were fellow music students in Toronto seventy years ago.  He was noted as a champion of Canadian composers and I can testify to that: he conducted the premiere of my first orchestral composition around 1950 and some time in the early 2000s he conducted the premiere of what is likely to be my last, with several other titles in between.  He was a versatile and technically brilliant musician and in his long career he participated decisively in the development of the Winnipeg, Hamilton, and Toronto symphony orchestras, the University of Toronto student orchestra, and an orchestra of retiree professionals which he formed during his own retirement – this in addition to numerous guest appearances, notably during his extensive stay in Japan in the 1980s.   I will remember him fondly and with much admiration.”        

Prof. Robin Elliott, organizer of WMCT’s pre-concert lectures, “Tuning Your Mind,” has posted a full obituary on his website of the Institute for Music in Canada.

His illustrious career has also been noted on these websites:


Covid-19 has affected every feature of life in Toronto.  All levels of our governments have mobilized resources to meet the threats of the pandemic.  Remarkably, most citizens have found within themselves the strength required to live within unprecedented restrictions.  Many in the arts community have offered virtual gifts of music, dance, and theatre.

Toronto Arts Foundation list
CBC Arts coverage
Martha Graham dancers and the TSO
A song a day since March 19 from Russell Braun, a 1989 scholarship winner
Current WMCT scholarship holder Hannah Corbett, with the NYOC

The Women’s Musical Club of Toronto faces its first experience of concert cancellations since World War II.  Thank you to members who were able to make donations of their tickets to the April and May concerts.  Receipts will be issued a little later in the year.  Even more thanks to those who have subscribed to next season, our 123rd.

Members, volunteers, Artistic Director Simon Fryer, and our invaluable Arts Administrator, Shannon Perreault constitute an arts organization built to survive and thrive.  We are actively working to find ways to present the “virtuosity, variety, and vitality” of live chamber music in the future. We will keep you posted on developments and stay in contact electronically.

Board members in happier times.

We understand that the virus has had a financial impact, and that a subscription or donation may not be possible for many of you at the moment.

We also remind you that we are not only a performing arts organization, but also a club. If you are in need of support during this crisis, let us know: if we can’t help directly we can put you in touch with local resources who can. And we are happy to connect with you and have you connect with us.

Jamie Parker delivered a sensational “Tuning Your Mind” lecture before the Trio Fibonacci concert last October.  Recently he shared his pandemic project with the CBC.  For his less tasteful but equally hilarious responses to life at the moment, check out the reports from the PNN (Parker News Network) on his Facebook page.

CORONEWSLETTER: Missing the music and each other

With desktop publishing software locked up in our locked-down office on Adelaide Street, this is an alternative to our usual spring newsletter. 

The Women’s Musical Club of Toronto is an organization that thrives on our sociable gatherings around and in support of chamber music performance.  With concert production suspended by the pan(dem)ic, the Club will still aim for social cohesion, despite physical distancing. We are all missing the music and each other.  Look after yourselves and reach out to others. We’ll be in touch.

From the President
For the spring newsletter, my planned topic was “Philanthropy.”  The Canadian Oxford Dictionary defines it as “A love of humankind; the disposition or effort to promote the happiness and well-being of one’s fellow people; especially by gifts of money.”  That last phrase of the definition reminds me to thank you for your generous contributions to our fall appeal and ask you to please subscribe to the newly-announced 123rd season.

But now, it’s time to show your love of humankind by keeping rather than giving: keep your distance; keep only your own immediate needs in your shopping basket; keep your coughs to yourself; keep a diary; keep in touch with those whose support you need, or who need yours.
                                                                                           -Kathleen McMorrow

You usually pick up this marvellous monthly magazine of Toronto and area concert listings, features, and reviews at your favourite music performance venues. 

Stay home and read it here!

Some online substitutes

Musical entertainment from the internet is unlimited.  Google search the name of your favourite artist/work (and) youtube to locate a universe of examples.  Try the artists of our next season!

Live performances of complete concerts or operas available to stream free:
The European Union’s Opera Vision project from a dozen opera houses
The Berlin Philharmonic
Metropolitan Opera
Bavarian State Opera
The Dutch National Opera

Local Content:
Songbook X with Kristina Szabo and Chris Foley from Tapestry Opera.
Witch on Thin Ice, from Confluence Concerts, featuring our (cancelled) April 2 concert star, Bev Johnston. Start this about the 7:00 mark.
Tafelmusik has its own YouTube channel with current clips and older concerts.
Toronto Arts Council list of virtual and innovative programs