History and Purpose of the Foundation

The Sylva Gelber Music Foundation, originally the “Young Canada Music Foundation,” was established by Sylva Gelber in 1973 to support and encourage the study of music and assist talented young artists to pursue a career in music.

From 1981 to 2007, the Foundation’s activity consisted primarily in financing the Sylva Gelber Music Foundation Awards administered by the Canada Council for the Arts. The Council presented this award annually to the one, and sometimes two, most talented Canadian artists under the age of 30 who were successful in the competition for grants to individuals in classical music performance.

Sylva Gelber’s generosity in designating the Foundation as a major beneficiary of her estate led to the decision to replace the awards available through the Canada Council with a new and expanded program of awards to be administered directly by the Foundation. This has enabled the foundation to enhance the size and number of the awards.

The Foundation seeks out the most promising young Canadian talent in the field of classical music performance in a select number of Canadian and foreign music schools and, through a competitive process, awards support to individuals of outstanding ability for projects to further their studies and advance their career.

The Foundation has also made a significant donation to the Piano Pedagogy Research Laboratory at the University of Ottawa’s School of Music. The lab is a state-of-the-art facility that makes it possible to directly observe specific visual or auditory phenomena in order to measure the complex activity of learning to play the piano.

The world’s first lab focused exclusively on the scientific study of piano pedagogy, the facility brings together researchers with expertise in a variety of disciplines, including music, education, psychology, health sciences, information technology, bio-engineering and neurosciences.

The University is fortunate to include Aline Chretien and Jon Kimura Parker as Honorary Co-Chairs of the Friends of Laboratory. In December 2007 a ceremony was held at the University to celebrate the naming of the central studio within the lab as the Sylva Gelber Music Studio.

Biography of Sylva M. Gelber

Photo of Sylva Gelber

Born in Toronto in 1910, Sylva M. Gelber was a distinguished Canadian who served Canada in various capacities, most notably as Director of the Women’s Bureau of the Department of Labour and Canadian representative on the UN Commission for the Status of Women (1970-74). She held many international appointments during her lifetime, including that of Canadian delegate to the United Nations General Assembly (1976 and 1978). She was an Officer of the Order of Canada.

Shortly after her death in December 2003, a Globe and Mail article described her as follows:

Sylva Gelber, who gained national prominence in the late sixties as director of the women’s bureau in the federal Department of Labour, was an outspoken advocate of women’s rights who helped to introduce equal-pay legislation, maternity leave and women’s pension benefits into Canadian society.

Known for her wit, humour and a love of music, stylish clothes and fast cars, she led a colourful life that included early stints in theatre and radio. She also spent 15 years as a medical social worker and government administrator in British-mandate Palestine, an experience she chronicled in No Balm in Gilead, an award-winning 1989 memoir.

Feminist Tore Down Barriers“, Globe & Mail, January 31, 2004

Sylva M. Gelber had passions for both music and the visual arts, and a keen desire to help unusually talented musicians to fulfill their potential. She established her Foundation as a vehicle to help young musicians at the beginning of their professional careers, and took a keen interest and delight in maintaining personal contact with many of the winners of the Foundation’s awards.

Foundation Board Members


Montreal, Quebec
Soprano, music professor, artistic advisor.

Head of Voice at the Faculty of Music of l’Université de Montréal, soprano Rosemarie Landry has sung on all major Canadian stages, either in recital or in concert. She was guest artist of major orchestras and of numerous opera and chamber music festivals throughout the world, and toured extensively in North and South America, Europe and Asia. She studied with Bernard Diamant, Pierre Bernac, Gérard Souzay and Margaret Harshaw, among others. She has given masterclasses in places such as le Conservatoire de musique de Paris and the conservatories of Beijing, Tokyo, Reykjavik and Bogota. She also gives masterclasses in many Canadian universities and opera companies, and teaches in a number of vocal art Summer schools and venues such as Le Centre d’art Orford, the Toronto Summer Opera Lyric Theatre and the Canadian Vocal Art Institute.

Winning First Prize of the coveted CBC Young Artists Competition early on in her career, Rosemarie Landry went on to win numerous other prizes, scholarships, honorary doctorates and distinctions of all sorts. She is a Member of the Order of Canada, Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (France) and Chevalier de l’Ordre de la Pléiade.

For years, Rosemarie Landry has been actively involved as artistic advisor or member of the board of directors with many of the major cultural and musical organisations in Canada such as the Canada Council, the Ontario Council for the Arts, the National Art Centre, the National Film Board, the New Brunswick Arts Council, Les Jeunesses Musicales du Canada, the Sylva M. Gelber Music Foundation and l’Orchestre de la francophonie canadienne.

Montreal, Quebec

Pianist Stéphane Lemelin is well-known to audiences throughout Canada and regularly performs in the United States, Europe and Asia. A guest soloist of the major Canadian orchestras, he is widely sought after as a recitalist and chamber music partner.

His vast repertory reveals a particular affinity for the German classical and romantic literature and for French music; his more than twenty recordings include works by Fauré, Saint-Saëns, Debussy, Poulenc and Roussel.  He also directs the French music series “Découvertes 1890-1939” on the  Atma Classique label, for which he has recorded works by Samazeuilh, Ropartz, Migot, Dupont, Dubois, Rhené-Bâton, Rosenthal, Alder, Lekeu and Vierne.

A winner of the Robert Casadesus International Competition in Cleveland, he has received many national and international awards and grants, notably from the Canada Council for the Arts and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

Stéphane Lemelin studied with Yvonne Hubert in Montreal, Karl-Ulrich Schnabel in New York, Leon Fleisher at the Peabody Conservatory, and Boris Berman and Claude Frank at Yale University, where he obtained a doctorate. He taught at the University of Alberta for more than ten years. In 2001, he moved to the University of Ottawa, becoming Director of its School of Music in 2007. He was appointed Chair of Music Performance at the Schulich School of Music in 2014. A dedicated pedagogue, he has been invited to give master classes around the world.  Stéphane Lemelin is also a member of Trio Hochelaga and Artistic Director of the Prince Edward County Music Festival.

IAN NUTE, F.C.A., Treasurer
Ottawa, ON
Chartered Accountant

Since becoming a CA in 1964, Ian Nute has practised in various settings. From 1969 to 2005 he was a Partner in the Ottawa office of BDO Dunwoody and its predecessor firms; he served as managing Partner of the firm from 1993 to 1996. He joined CIBC Wood Gundy in 1996, offering his services as a Financial Advisor for nearly a decade. Since 2005 he has been self-employed.

In addition to serving as a member of the National Executive Committee of BDO Dunwoody, Ian Nute has been a member of the Practice Inspection Committee and the Special Committee on Mandatory Practice Review of the Ontario Institute of Chartered Accountants, of which he became a Fellow in 1984.

An active community volunteer, he has also contributed his time and skills as board member and treasurer to numerous non-profit and community-based organizations, including the Kanata Golf Club, the March Tennis Club and Junior Achievement of Ottawa. He is past chair of the St. Patrick’s Home of Ottawa, past board member of the National Capital Commission and chair of its Audit Committee, and past President of the Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa, which he continues to serve as Treasurer. Ian Nute was elected treasurer of the Sylva Gelber Music Foundation in November 2005.

Ottawa, ON
President, Tim Plumptre and Associates Inc.

A frequent speaker on governance and public service reform issues and an advisor to ministers and senior officials in Canada and abroad, Tim Plumptre is president of a Meta4 Consulting, specializing in public policy, strategy, governance, organizational performance, and performance assessment. He is also the founder and former President of the Institute On Governance, a non-profit, Ottawa-based think tank established in 1990. The Institute has helped to define what “good governance” means in the public sphere; under his leadership, it initiated a wide range of research activities, publications, learning events and other projects related to better governance, both in Canada and internationally.

Prior to founding the Institute On Governance, Tim Plumptre enjoyed a multi-faceted career as a journalist, foreign service officer, public servant, and national partner in a large multinational consulting firm. He is the author of Beyond the Bottom Line: Management in Government, a bestselling book that discusses how management in the public sector differs from management in a private sector context, and of The Intrepid Nonprofit: Strategies for Success in Turbulent Times, to be published in the spring of 2019. A graduate of the University of Toronto and the London School of Economics, he is a Fellow of Massey College, University of Toronto.

In a voluntary capacity, he has served as Chair of a number of major community-based organizations, including the New Edinburgh Community Association, the Ottawa Community Care Access Centre, responsible for home care in Ottawa, the Ottawa Carleton Children’s Aid Society, and the Hospice at Maycourt, a palliative care centre. He currently chairs the Sylva Gelber Music Foundation.

Ottawa, Ontario
Founding Concertmaster of the National Arts Centre Orchestra, Ottawa (retired)

Born in Toronto, Ontario, Walter Prystawski graduated with an Artist Diploma of the Faculty of Music, University of Toronto.

From 1959 to 1969 he lived in Switzerland where he studied with Austrian violinist Wolfgang Schneiderhan, and became a member, then concertmaster, of the chamber orchestra Lucerne Festival Strings.Mr. Prystawski toured with the ensemble in Europe, South Africa and the Middle East and recorded extensively as member and soloist for Deutsche Grammophon Gesellschaft. He served as First Concertmaster, Basler Orchester Gesellschaft in Basel, Switzerland.

Walter Prystawski returned to Canada in 1969 as founding concertmaster of the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa.

He has served on juries or as an assessor for the Montreal International Music Competition, the Conservatoires du Québec, the Canada Council, CBC music competitions, the City of Ottawa and various music festival competitions.

Mr. Prystawski became a Member of the Order of Canada in 2000 and Doctor of the University, University of Ottawa, in 2001. He retired from National Arts Centre Orchestra in 2006.

Ottawa, Ontario
Barrister & Solicitor

An Ottawa native, Ian Warren is a graduate of Queen’s University (BComm) and the University of Western Ontario (LLB). He was called to the Ontario Bar in 1989 and has been a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada since that time. After serving as a member of several established Ottawa law firms, Mr. Warren went into private practice in 1992, specializing in business law, commercial and residential real estate, wills and estate administration. He is a former Director of the Shepherds of Good Hope, and a former Director and Executive Member of Therapeutic and Educational Living Centres Inc. He is married to Andrea Camacho and proud father of Madeline and Jack.