Ontario Arts Council announcement
Operatic baritone Russell Braun has received the Oskar Morawetz Award for Excellence in Music Performance. This prize honours the legacy of Oskar Morawetz, one of Canada’s leading composers of contemporary music, whose career spanned more than 50 years. It is presented biennially to an outstanding Canadian performer in the field of classical music, recognizing talent and commitment to Canadian music.
Russell was selected for this award by a jury of music professionals convened by the Ontario Arts Council. The jury, which was unanimous in its decision, stated: “Russell’s powerful voice and strong stage presence have made him a highly sought-after artist by the world’s major opera companies. Along with his stellar international reputation, he also makes it a point to maintain his commitment and connection to Canadian music and composers – including Oskar Morawetz.”
The award presentation took place on Wednesday, February 19, 2020, following that evening’s performance of the Canadian Opera Company’s Hansel & Gretel, in which he is performing the role of Peter. The award was co-presented by Claudia Morawetz, daughter of Oskar Morawetz, and Judith Gelber, vice-chair of the Ontario Arts Council board of directors.
In response to receiving the award, Russell said: “It fills me with a great sense of honour to receive the Oskar Morawetz Award. I am humbled to be in the company of other esteemed Canadian artists who have received this prize. I had the great privilege to meet Oskar Morawetz, and I saw how, through his keen sense of storytelling, he was able to express Canada’s place in history in a way that was informed by his own personal experience, empathy and sense of humour. Thank you to the award jurors, the Morawetz family and to all brave composers who express their voice and entrust artists to speak eternally for them.”
(French version to follow/Version française à suivre)
Do you know anyone who has excelled in any of the following categories? Get their outstanding work recognized by nominating them for a National Choral Award!
Deadline: March 1, 2020
Click here to submit a nomination: https://www.choralcanada.org/national-choral-awards.html
Connaissez-vous quelqu’un qui fait du travail excellent dans l’une des catégories ci-dessous? Vous pouvez récompenser leurs efforts en posant leur candidature pour un des Prix nationaux de chant choral!
Date limite: le 1 mars 2020
Pour poser une candidature: https://www.choralcanada.org/prix-nationaux-de-chant-choral.html
From Mark Vuorinen, President of the Choirs Ontario Board of Directors:
It is a great pleasure for me to recognize two individuals whose impact on choral music in Ontario has been both broad and very deep.
The President’s Leadership Award of Choirs Ontario recognizes individuals who, through their support or engagement in choral music-making, have made an exceptional contribution to the promotion and advancement of choral music in their communities.
The recipients of this year’s award have been supporting choral music in this province, across the country, and around the world for decades. They have demonstrated their commitment to and passion for choral music as volunteers, board members, philanthropists, Honorary Patrons and audience members as they have assisted choirs and choral organizations and encouraged conductors to fulfill a vision for choral excellence and creative transcendence.
The recipients of the 2019 President’s Leadership Award are Frieda and Vern Heinrichs.
They are Honorary Patrons of both the Elmer Iseler Singers and the Amadeus Choir, among many other groups.
As the jury for this award met, we encountered overwhelming support from the choral community for the Heinrichs’ nomination through many letters of nomination. To understand the breadth and depth of the Heinrichs’ rich contribution to the choral landscape of this province is to sample from the many extraordinary letters of nomination and support. I quote:
Vern and Elfrieda Heinrichs truly love the choral art form. They are there for advice, wisdom, and support of all kinds. They put all this into action every day of their lives. In their quiet way, they lift us up and lead us to a higher place, inspiring those whose lives they have touched to seek excellence in all that they do.
When our valued art form is continually experiencing the uphill struggle of funding, the Heinrichs’ engagement has brought an essential legitimacy to the support of choral music, influencing many others to do likewise. Their rich Mennonite heritage has been an immense influence in their philanthropy, which they demonstrate with modesty, humility and great passion and enthusiasm.
Vern and Frieda were instrumental through the Heinrichs Foundation in endowing the Elmer Iseler Chair in Choral Conducting and the Elmer Iseler National Graduate Fellowships in Choral Conducting at the Faculty of Music at the University of Toronto. Their commitment to the importance of educating and exposing both current and future generations to excellence in choral music is evident in these and other endeavours.
Vern and Elfrieda are passionate about choral music, and they understand what a profound impact it can have on singers and audiences. They show their love and support for the choral community by their steady attendance at concerts, festivals and choral events of all levels in Toronto, Guelph, and throughout Canada and the US.
This very kind, compassionate couple has made an avocation of supporting choral music, and we in Canada have benefitted from their expertise and generosity. I can think of no better recipients for Choirs Ontario’s President’s Leadership Award.
Their kindnesses to musicians, their warm hospitality, their presence at so many events in the community, and their additional efforts behind-the-scenes to support the choral art are more than worthy of recognition from Choirs Ontario. In fact, I would say we are overdue in granting them this honour.
Please join me in recognizing and thanking Elfrieda and Vern Heinrichs for their transformational contribution to the choral music.
The 2019 Ken Fleet Choral Conducting Scholarship awarded to Nila Rajagopal, Conductor’s Intern/Conductor’s Assistant, Toronto Children’s Chorus at Pro Musica’s Choral Masterpieces concert on Sunday, April 28th at the Church of St. Jude. The $1000 grant will help Nila with the cost of her choral conducting studies.
The Ken Fleet Choral Conducting Scholarship Fund was established by London Pro Musica Choir and named in honour of Ken Fleet, the choir’s beloved conductor for 23 years. The scholarship embodies Ken’s passion for music and education and gives young conductors a chance to forge their own path towards a career in choral conducting. The recipient must be an Ontario resident with formal music training.
Ken taught at Medway High School in Arva, Ontario, where his choral program won the CBC Choral Competition. He also taught at Western, conducting the UWO singers, and co-conducted the Amabile Mens’ and Boys’ Choirs in London with fellow Western graduate Carol Beynon, winning three CBC National Radio Competition awards.
The arts are vital to creating a vibrant, smart, and caring community. LCF is honored to steward this fund, ensuring talented conductors have the opportunity to follow in Ken’s footsteps, pursue their dreams, and contribute to their community through the gift of music.
“This is a unique scholarship meeting an important need”, says Lori Runciman, who represented LCF at the concert on Sunday. “We commend London Pro Musica’s desire to honour Ken and his vision in this lasting way.”
Established in 2001 to commemorate Choirs Ontario’s 30th anniversary, the President’s Leadership Award recognizes individuals who, through their support or engagement in choral music-making, have made an exceptional contribution to the promotion and advancement of choral music in their communities. Choirs Ontario is proud to present this year’s award to Dr. Hilary Apfelstadt and Linda Beaupré in recognition of their remarkable contribution to the promotion and advancement of choral music in the province. The jury panel commended recipients’ outstanding impact on choral education and larger arts community in this province.
Linda Beaupré, through her amazing career, has changed the lives of thousands of young singers through her two exceptional organizations, The Bach Children’s Chorus/Bach Chamber Youth Choir and the Guelph Youth Singers. With her joyous approach to music making, and her unstinting dedication to excellence, Linda Beaupré is truly one of the foremost conductors in this country.
Ms. Beaupré is a musical force of nature who exemplifies the very best of humanity. Through her inspired leadership in her exemplary career, and with her excellence, inspiration, vision and artistry, her dedication and integrity, she has made a truly positive difference in Ontario and the world to thousands of children, creating and nourishing, over 30 years, organizations that count themselves among the very best internationally. Linda’s outstanding career as a conductor, educator, adjudicator, arranger, author and editor has positively inspired thousands of children and children’s choir conductors in Ontario and internationally.
Dr. Apfelstadt has been a model leader and educator. In her role as the Director of Choral Activities and Professor of Conducting, she fostered a collegial and collaborative community across all the Faculty of Music choral ensembles. During her tenure as the Elmer Iseler Chair of Conducting and Director of Choral Activities at the University of Toronto, Dr. Apfelstadt created one of the most diverse programs for choral conducting in the country. Her conducting, mentorship, and high standard of excellence and artistry fostered a love of choral music in all her students who continuously showcase her lasting positive impact in their ongoing work as some of the province’s leading conductors, music educators, and singers. An advocate for choral music across the broader community, she built and strengthened connections between the University of Toronto and various schools, youth groups, and community choruses such as the Orpheus Choir, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the Young Voices of Toronto Choirs, and Cawthra Park High School Choirs. Dr. Apfelstadt has a sincere passion for promoting Canadian music locally and internationally.
Choirs Ontario applauds Dr. Hilary Apfelstadt’s and Linda Beaupré’s work and is pleased to be honouring them with this award.
The 2018 Presidents’ Leadership Awards presentation times and locations:
December 2, 2018 @ 2:30 PM
Choirs in Concert: For the Joy of the Singing – A Tribute to Dr. Hilary Apfelstadt
Elaine Choi, Trevor Dearham, Lori-Anne Dolloff, Mark Ramsay, conductors
Join the choirs of the Faculty of Music as they pay tribute to Dr. Hilary Apfelstadt, recently retired Director of Choral Activities, with a concert featuring the music of Orban, Balfour, and Pinkham.
MacMillan Theatre, 80 Queen’s Park
$30, $20 senior, $10 student | BUY TICKETS ONLINE or call 416-408-0208
December 8, 2018 @ 7:30 PM
Mystical Light – A 2018 Holiday Concert by Bach Children’s Choir and Bach Chamber Youth Choir
A Tribute to Linda Beaupre
Presenting a glowing holiday concert including “Chasing the Northern Lights” to and “I Want To Stare At My Phone With You”. Our award-winning choirs will feature music from Raffi, Gordon Lightfoot, as well as many festive choral favourites!
Toronto Centre for Performing Arts, 5040 Yonge Street
$35/$40 | BUY TICKETS ONLINE
The Choral Canada Distinguished Service Award is given in recognition of long-term service to choral music in Canada. Awards are based on the significance and extent of transformative service in building, nurturing or promoting the Canadian choral community through a primary career in Canada. The individual’s contributions may have been made through teaching, conducting, or leadership.
The Elmer Iseler Singers’ Board of Directors and Administration are proud and pleased to announce that Lydia Adams of Caledon, ON, Conductor and Artistic Director, is a recipient of the DISTINGUISHED SERVICE AWARD from Choral Canada, July 2018, presented at the Bi-Annual Podium National Conference in St. John’s, Newfoundland.
According to Choral Canada’s website “the Choral Canada Distinguished Service Award” is given in recognition of long-term service to choral music in Canada. Awards are based on the significance and extent of transformative service in building, nurturing or promoting the Canadian choral community through a primary career in Canada. The individual’s contributions may have been made through teaching, conducting, or leadership.”
New award honours work created for women’s voices
The Lirit Women’s Chamber Choir is very pleased to announce the result of the first Lirit New Composition Award. This award will be given annually to a Canadian composer for an unpublished work for women’s voices.
Lirit received 10 submissions from Canadian composers across the country and abroad. We extend warm congratulations to Prince Edward Island resident F. Jane Naylor for her winning composition, “After Mountains”. This is a dramatic choral setting of a poem by the late Joseph H. Sherman of Sydney, Nova Scotia. It is notable for its feminine sensibility that evokes the strength of the Biblical matriarchs, its contrasting vocal sections, and its rich harmonic language. The composer will receive $1,500 and the piece will be premiered by the Lirit Women’s Chamber Choir in the spring of 2019.
Naylor is an Associate Composer with the Canadian Music Centre. Her works have been commissioned by eklektikos with funding from SOCAN, and commissioned and broadcast by the CBC. She has also received grants from the PEI Council of the Arts.
This composition is especially relevant to 2018, the 70th anniversary of the State of Israel: the ‘wanderer’ in the poem is the Jewish people, and the ‘woman’ is the land of Israel. Lirit Women’s Chamber Choir is a Toronto-based group of experienced choral singers. They are committed to exploring the joy and vast range of Jewish music, whether through Jewish texts, themes or composers. Lirit wishes to thank the Judy Dan Fund for Arts and Education for generously supporting this award.
Congratulations to Douglas Price, composer of the winning composition, Laughter & Light
The requirement of this year’s NewWorks competition was that submissions relate to the idea of new home, suitable for inclusion as part of our season 18/19 theme of “resettlement”.
Laughter and Light by Douglas Price was selected as this year’s winner and reflects the perspective of a refugee arriving on a new shore. Jurors praised how its “harmonic and rhythmic language fit beautifully with the text”.
Originally from London, Ontario, Douglas is currently the inaugural Head of Music at the National Theatre School of Canada in Montréal. His most current composition project is a piece of musical theatre based on the true story of ‘Kitsault’, the most well-preserved ghost town in the world, located in the mountains of northern British Columbia.
Director Leonard Enns calls Laughter & Light (with text written by its composer) “a lovely musical “essay” that expands on the question lying at the heart of its text, “will this be where I call home?”…the music is questioning, yet hopeful, beginning as though tentatively testing a new ground to see if it will hold, and progressing gently but engagingly to a final and fresh harmonic universe, to a grateful arrival “Here in this new land. A new life, with laughter and light.”
DaCapo will premiere Laughter & Light at our May 2019 concert, with Douglas joining us for the concert.
For more information about Douglas and his winning composition, please visit our web site!