Deadlines for nominations & applications in 2024

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The timetable for 2024 is:

Call for nominations:  December 2023/January 2024
Nominations due: 9 February 2024
Deadline for applications and supporting materials: 28 March 2024 at 5 p.m. EDT
Round one: April 2024
Final interviews: 29–31 May 2024

Once nominations are received, candidates will be contacted and invited to submit an online application by 28 March 2024. Late applications will not be accepted.

Twelve 2023 Gelber Foundation Award Winners You Should Know!

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The number, depth, and diversity of musical talent across Canada continues to amaze. This year’s award winners represent a wide range of musical instruments, including voice, and are pursuing fascinating study and performance projects around the world.

They were drawn from an initial pool of 51 applicants, nominated by dozens of prestigious music schools and eminent musicians from Canada, the US, the UK, and Europe. The Foundation is grateful to these schools and individuals for taking the time and care to put forward their top Canadian students for consideration. As in previous years, our pre-selection panel spent several days listening to the recordings submitted by each candidate and determining which of them would move on to the final round of adjudication. This panel included renowned clarinetist James Campbell, CM, long-serving Artistic Director of the Festival of the Sound; Joanne Kolomycek, former Assistant Professor of Voice at McGill; cellist Britton Riley of the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Centre; and acclaimed pianist and professor, Andrew Tunis. We are immensely appreciative of their hard work in support of the Foundation.

We are equally grateful to the five jurors who had the difficult task of choosing this year’s laureates: Agnes Grossmann, former conductor of the Orchestre Metropolitain; soprano and respected voice teacher Rosemarie Landry, CM, professor at the Université de Montréal’s Faculty of Music and Sylva Gelber Music Foundation board member; celebrated pianist Stéphane Lemelin, Chair of Performance at McGill’s Schulich School of Music and Vice-Chair of the Foundation; Chris Millard, recently retired principal bassoon at the National Arts Centre; and board member, violinist and violist Barry Shiffman, Associate Dean and Director of Chamber Music at the Glenn Gould School.

We are pleased to present this year’s award winners, below.

Leslie Ashworth, Viola, Oakville, ON

One of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s (CBC’s) 2021 “30 hot Canadian classical musicians under 30” and 2022 prize winner of the Stepping Stone International Competition, violinist and violist Leslie Ashworth has performed in France, Italy, New York’s Carnegie Hall, and Toronto’s Koerner Hall.

She earned her Bachelor of Music from The Glenn Gould School and Master of Music in Violin from Rice University. She recently earned her Master of Music in Viola at The Juilliard School as an Ear Training Teaching Fellow, Morse Community Engagement Teaching Artist, and proud recipient of a Kovner Fellowship. Leslie is currently pursuing her Doctor of Musical Arts studies under Misha Amory at Juilliard as a C.V. Starr Doctoral Fellow.

Leslie received the Ontario Lieutenant Governor’s Community Volunteer Award for founding Suite Melody Care, a non-profit organization that offers performances to hospital patients and the elderly in Canada and the U.S. As a composer, Leslie won first place in the Sudbury Youth Orchestra’s Young Women Composers’ Competition 2022; she is currently studying composition classes with Dr. Philip Lasser at Juilliard.

Leslie plays on a 1696 Albani violin on loan from a private benefactor and an 1854 Joseph Rocca viola on loan from Juilliard. She gratefully acknowledges the Sylva Gelber Music Foundation for supporting her studies at Juilliard (2022–23, 2023–24).

Chloé Dumoulin, Piano, Montreal, QC

Pianist Chloé Dumoulin has performed as a soloist in Canada, the USA, and Europe, as well as in Montréal’s most wonderful halls, including the Maison Symphonique and Bourgie Hall. She has earned many prizes, including the 3rd Grand Prize of 2021 Prix d’Europe, 1st prize in the

Canadian Music Competition and 2nd Grand Prize in the CMFTA National Piano Competition, to name only a fewChloé holds two masters degrees from the Conservatoire de musique de Montréal, where she worked under André Laplante in Piano Performance and Claire Ouellet in Collaborative Piano. She is currently on full scholarship at London’s Guildhall School of Music and Drama, pursuing an Artist Diploma in Piano Performance under the guidance of Ronan O’Hora.

Passionate about chamber music and collaborative work, she founded the Quatuor Vatra in 2020. Chloé is very grateful for the support of Sylva-Gelber Music Foundation, the Fondation du Conservatoire, the Desjardins Foundation and Jeunesses Musicales Canada’s AIDA Fund.

Jaclyn Grossman, Soprano, Montreal

Hailed as an “exciting dramatic soprano” (Opera Canada) with a “command over a powerful range of expressive emotion” (The Whole Note), Jaclyn Grossman is currently a member of the Rebanks Family Fellowship and International Residency Program with Toronto’s Royal Conservatory of Music.

This season, she will perform recitals in Montreal through the Schulich School of Music Alumni Series, and in Chattanooga as part of a partnership between Chattanooga Symphony and Chattanooga Public Library.

She will also cover the role of Judith in Against the Grain Theatre’s production of Bluebeard’s Castle, be featured in the Richard Bradshaw Free Concert Series at the Canadian Opera Company and begin her tenure as a Resident Artist (Civic Engagement Quartet) with Pacific Opera Victoria and Vancouver Opera. In 2024, she sings the role of Freia in Oas Rheingold at Edmonton Opera and joins the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra to sing Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9.

A proud co-founder of Likht Ensemble, Ms. Grossman is passionate about sharing music by Jewish composers from the Holocaust, and her Gelber award is intended to support her research and performance of this repertoire. As a Jewish dramatic soprano, she is eager to explore the intersection of the Germanic repertoire and voices silenced during the Holocaust. In the past season, she has continued to curate and perform in the Shoah Songbook, a concert series for the Harold Green Jewish Theatre Company. Additional recent engagements include recitals with Pacific Opera Victoria, the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, Royal Conservatory of Music, Sewanee Music Centre, Holy Blossom Music, and Tempie Sinai.

Ms. Grossman is the 2022 winner of the Career Blueprint Award from the International Resource Centre for Performing Artists, the 2020 winner of the Ben Steinberg Musical Legacy Award from Temple Sinai and has received numerous grants from the Canada Council for the Arts. She is a graduate of McGill University’s Master of Music and Graduate Diploma programs in Opera and Voice.

Cole Knutson, Collaborative Piano, North Battleford, Sask.

Métis musician Cole Knutson grew up in North Battleford, Saskatchewan where he studied piano and completed his undergraduate degree in classical saxophone performance with Allen Harrington. Cole received a master’s degree from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, where he studied on full scholarship with Julius Drake and Eugene Asti and worked as a staff accompanist. In the fall of 2023, he will begin studies with Professor Wolfram Rieger at the Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler in Berlin, Germany.

In the fall of 2022, Cole was made a scholar at the Liedzentrum Liedakademie in collaboration with Heidelberger Frühling and the Pierre Boulez Saal, led by Thomas Hampson. He also participated in the 2023 SongStudio at Carnegie Hall, led by Renée Fleming, and was appointed a scholar at France’s Académie Orsay-Royaumont for the 2023–2024 season. An active recitalist, Cole has enjoyed recent performances at the Heidelberger Frühling Lied Festival, Carnegie Hall, the Pierre Boulez Saal as part of the Schubert Week, London’s Wigmore Hall, Montréal’s Salle Bourgie, and Paris’ Salle Cortot. He regularly performs at The Oxford Lieder Festival, LSO St. Luke’s, throughout the UK, Germany, Switzerland, Iceland, France, Austria, and North America.

Recent award-winning performances with regular duo partner Joël Terrin include the Kattenburg Concours de Voix in Lausanne, the 2022 Kathleen Ferrier Awards at Wigmore Hall, and the the 2022 finals of the Young Classical Artists Trust (YCAT) at Wigmore Hall. Other award-winning performances include the 2022 Concours Musical International de Montréal, the 2022 International Mozart Competition with baritone Michael Lafferty, and the 2021 London Song Festival Competition with French-Canadian mezzo-soprano, Anika France-Forget.

Cole is grateful for the continuous support of the Métis Nations Saskatchewan, the Gabriel Dumont Institute, SK Arts, the Guildhall Trust, the Art Song Foundation of Canada, and The Sylva Gelber Music Foundation.

Alan Liu, Classical Guitar, Vancouver, BC

Alan Liu is a classical guitarist from Vancouver, Canada. Liu is the recipient of numerous international prizes, including the prestigious Guitar Foundation of America’s International Concert Artist Competition. Named by the CBC as one of the “30 hot Canadian classical musicians under 30,” he has appeared as a soloist with several North American orchestras and has been an artist at various music festivals, including the QinLing, Montreal, and Crown International Guitar Festivals. Currently studying at the Juilliard School, Liu received his Bachelor’s degree from the Curtis Institute of Music. Liu is an Augustine and Altamira artist.

Wilhelm Magner, Viola, Drummondville, QC

The first violist to win the Prix d’Europe (2022) in the 111-year history of the competition, Wilhelm completed a Graduate Diploma in viola with Prof. André Roy, in addition to studying the violin with Prof. Axel Strauss at McGill University. He has also participated in master classes by artists such as Ana Chumachenco, Yura Lee, Grigory Kalinovsky, Ian Svensen, and Yehonatan Berick. He was listed as one of CBC’s “30 hot Canadian classical musicians under 30” in 2022. In September 2022, he started his Master’s in Viola Performance at Yale University in the class of Ettore Causa.

Wilhelm is a prizewinner of many competitions, including the Canadian

Music Competition (ex-aequo First Prize) and the OSJS Concerto Competition. He was a semi-finalist in the 2022 Oskar Nedbal International Viola Competition and also took part in the Prague Spring competition. His Sylva Gelber Music Foundation Award will support his continued studies at Yale and his participation in festivals and competitions in 2023-24.

Wilhelm has participated in many summer festivals, such as the Gstaad Menuhin Festival, Kneisel Hall, the Young Artists Program of the National Arts Center and the Orford Music Academy. He studied for seven years with Natalia Kononova, concertmaster of the Drummondville Symphony Orchestra. He has performed with various ensembles, including the OSM, Les Violons du Roy, and I Musici. Wilhelm’s solo engagements in 2022-2023 include recitals in Montreal, Val d’Or and a concerto appearance with the Montreal Youth Symphony.

Wilhelm plays a viola by Giovanni Battista Guadagnini, Turin, 1773-78, a violin by Claude Augustin Miremont, 1860-70, uses a Jean Joseph Martin bow, and a Lamy bow generously loaned by CANIMEX INC. from Drummondville.

Jonathan Mak, Piano, Toronto, ON

Winner of the 2023 inaugural Bader & Overton Canadian Piano Competition, pianist Jonathan Mak made his orchestral debut at the age of four. Since then, he has been a guest soloist with numerous orchestras, most notably the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra in Bulgaria, Manchester Camerata, Orchestra Filarmonica di Udine, and Krakow Philharmonic Orchestra. In addition to his win at the Bader competition, Jonathan’s recent accomplishments include the Grand Prize at the Plowman Chamber Music Competition with Trio Menil, and the third prize in the OSM competition. Jonathan received special prizes at the

Ljubljana Festival International Piano Competition in Slovenia, and the Maj Lind International Piano Competition in Finland. He has also participated in the Van Cliburn and Dublin International Piano Competitions. Named as one of CBC’s “30 hot Canadian classical musicians under 30,” Jonathan is a recipient of the Canada Council for the Arts-Michael Measures award. This is his second award from the Sylva Gelber Music Foundation, and it is accompanied by the 2023 Walter Prystawski Prize, awarded annually to the most deserving candidate in competition.Jonathan has been invited to perform at various festivals including the Bravo! Vail Festival in Colorado, the Festival of the Sound in Ontario, Ottawa Chamberfest, and the Edinburgh International Festival. He has attended various summer festivals, including the Aspen Summer Music Festival, Kneisel Hall Music Festival, and the Sarasota Music Festival.

An advocate for community outreach, Jonathan is a member of DACAMERA’s Young Artist Program, a fellowship program for emerging professional instrumentalists, vocalists, and composers that serves the Houston community.

Jonathan is currently pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts at Rice University with Jon Kimura Parker. He began his studies with Aster Lai in Toronto, and holds a Master’s of Music and a Master’s of Musical Arts degree from the Yale School of Music, studying with Boris Slutsky. He received his Bachelor’s degree at the Cleveland Institute of Music with Dr. Daniel Shapiro, as well as minors in viola and German.

Emma Meinrenken, violin, Toronto, ON

Canadian-German violinist Emma Meinrenken, 23, is currently pursuing her Master of Music degree at Yale, under Augustin Hadelich, and is the 2023 recipient of Yale’s Presser Foundation Music Award. She recently graduated from the Curtis Institute of Music, where she studied with Ida Kavafian, was the

Dorothy Richard Starling Annual Fellow, and received the Milka Violin Artist Prize. She is also a former student of Atis Bankas at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto.

Emma debuted with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra at the age of 10 and has since performed as a soloist with many other orchestras across North America, including the Utah Symphony Orchestra and Montreal’s Orchestre Metropolitain. She has played for WHYY Radio, CBC Radio, and 96.3 Classical FM. She is passionate about collaborating with composers and has both premiered new work and had new works dedicated to her. She made her Carnegie Hall debut playing the New York premiere of a duet for violin and guitar by Fred Lerdahl. She has participated in many international music festivals and is often a featured performer at the Music Niagara Festival in Canada, where she has been a faculty member for the festival’s young artist academy since 2020. 

She has participated in many international music festivals and is often a featured performer at the Music Niagara Festival in Canada, where she has been a faculty member for the festival’s young artist academy since 2020. Emma has won many top awards and prizes internationally, including 1st place at the Stradivarius International Violin Competition, and the Silver Medal award at the Stulberg International String Competition. She was a semi-finalist for the Menuhin Competition and, recently, a finalist for the Young Concert Artists International Auditions. She was a winner of the Canada Council Musical Instrument Bank competition and received the 1689 Baumgartner Stradivarius violin on loan from 2018-2022. She was the 2019 winner of the Prix Ravel at the Ecole d’Art Américaines de Fontainebleau, and while there won the prize for best interpretation of a new composition. This is her second award from the Sylva Gelber Music Foundation. Emma currently plays on a 1687 Gioffredo Cappa violin.

Sebastian Reuten, Oboe, Calgary, Alta

After meeting Prof. Louise Pellerin at the Orford Music Academy, Sebastian decided to pursue his music studies with her at the Zurich University of the Arts in 2018, where he completed his Bachelor’s in Oboe Performance in 2022 and where he remains as a Master’s music student specializing in Pedagogy.

Born in 2000, he received his first oboe lessons in his hometown of Calgary at the age of twelve with Associate Principal Oboe David Sussman of the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra; he subsequently attended the Advanced Performance Program at the Mount Royal Conservatory.

In Switzerland, Sebastian performs as a soloist and an orchestral musician, and particularly enjoys playing chamber music in trios and octets. He was recently appointed as the oboe instructor at the conservatories in Solothurn and Gerlafingen and he teaches privately in Zurich.

As a composer, Sebastian continues to collaborate internationally with animation students and professionals across North America and Europe to score films, animatics, and other artistic productions. In his spare time, he enjoys writing music, watching films, and travelling. Sebastian is proud to be among the Sylva Gelber Music Foundation award winners and is extremely grateful for the Foundation’s continued support of his studies in Switzerland.

Abigail Sinclair, Soprano, Halifax
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A committed storyteller and performer, Halifax/Kjipuktuk soprano Abigail Sinclair seeks to inspire new audiences by fluidly reinterpreting classical works while promoting the creation and performance of new music.

Abigail began her Masters in Voice Performance at the Royal Academy of Music in 2022 under the instruction of Kate Paterson. Since joining the Academy, she has been accepted into the prestigious Bach Consort, through which she has performed in concerts presenting six different cantatas with the Academy’s historical performance division, under the baton of

Dame Jane Glover, Iain Ledingham and Peter Whelan respectively. In the fall of 2023, Abigail will also join the Academy’s Song Circle and Preparatory Opera Program. In October, she will perform the role of Marie from Donizetti’s “La fille du régiment” in the Academy Opera Division’s 2023 Autumn Scenes.

The highlight of her 2022/23 season was making her Southbank Centre debut with the London Sinfonietta as the Soprano I soloist in “The Fields of Sorrow” as part of a concert conducted by Martyn Brabbins commemorating the late composer Sir Harrison Birtwistle. 

Abigail is immensely grateful for the support of the Sylva Gelber Music Foundation, the Nova Scotia Talent Trust, and the Royal Academy of Music.

Grace Sohn, Cello, Vancouver, BC

Cellist Grace Sohn began her musical journey at the age of six and her studies are currently supported by the BC Arts Council and, for the second time, the Sylva Gelber Music Foundation, which is contributing to her participation in festivals and competitions, as well as her studies toward a Master’s degree.

She was named the first prize winner of the 2019 Vienna Classical Strings Competition, the 2018 International Anton Rubinstein Competition in Berlin,

and the 2016 International Busan Maru Competition in South Korea, as well as the second and the special prize at the Shean Strings Competition in Canada. She was also a prize winner at the 2019 OSM Competition in Canada, the 2021 Johannes Brahms Competition and at the 2023 International Markneukirchen Competition.She was named the first prize winner of the 2019 Vienna Classical Strings Competition, the 2018 International Anton Rubinstein Competition in Berlin, and the 2016 International Busan Maru Competition in South Korea, as well as the second and the special prize at the Shean Strings Competition in Canada. She was also a prize winner at the 2019 OSM Competition in Canada, the 2021 Johannes Brahms Competition and at the 2023 International Markneukirchen Competition.

Grace has performed as soloist with Philharmonia Northwest, Busan Philharmonic, Zagreb Virtuoso, Clara-Schumann Philharmonie, Mozart Collegium Orchestra and with the VAM Symphony Orchestra.

Grace has participated in masterclasses with renowned artists such as Frans Helmerson, David Geringas, Jens Peter Maintz, Rafael Wallfish and Wolfgang Emanuel Schmidt. She is now based in Berlin, where she studies with Prof. Troels Svane at the Hanns Eisler Hochschule für Musik.

The 2023 Walter Prystawski Prize

Jonathan Mak, piano, Toronto

We are delighted to announce that Jonathan Mak, a 26-year-old pianist from Toronto, is this year’s Walter Prystawski Prize winner.

Winner of the 2023 inaugural Bader & Overton Canadian Piano Competition, pianist Jonathan Mak made his orchestral debut at the age of four. Since then, he has been a guest soloist with numerous orchestras, most notably the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra in Bulgaria, Manchester Camerata, Orchestra Filarmonica di Udine, and Krakow Philharmonic Orchestra. In addition to his win at the Bader competition, Jonathan’s recent accomplishments include the Grand Prize at the Plowman Chamber Music Competition with Trio Menil, and the third prize in the OSM competition. Jonathan received special prizes at the

Ljubljana Festival International Piano Competition in Slovenia, and the Maj Lind International Piano Competition in Finland. He has also participated in the Van Cliburn and Dublin International Piano Competitions. Named as one of CBC’s “30 hot Canadian classical musicians under 30,” Jonathan is a recipient of the Canada Council for the Arts-Michael Measures award. This is his second award from the Sylva Gelber Music Foundation, and it is accompanied by the 2023 Walter Prystawski Prize, awarded annually to the most deserving candidate in the competition.Jonathan has been invited to perform at various festivals including the Bravo! Vail Festival in Colorado, the Festival of the Sound in Ontario, Ottawa Chamberfest, and the Edinburgh International Festival. He has attended various summer festivals, including the Aspen Summer Music Festival, Kneisel Hall Music Festival, and the Sarasota Music Festival.

An advocate for community outreach, Jonathan is a member of DACAMERA’s Young Artist Program, a fellowship program for emerging professional instrumentalists, vocalists, and composers that serves the Houston community.

Jonathan is currently pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts at Rice University with Jon Kimura Parker—the Foundation’s very first award winner in 1981! Jonathan began his studies with Aster Lai in Toronto, and holds a Master’s of Music and a Master’s of Musical Arts degree from the Yale School of Music, studying with Boris Slutsky. He received his Bachelor’s degree at the Cleveland Institute of Music with Dr. Daniel Shapiro, as well as minors in viola and German.

Click here for more information about the Prize and about Walter Prystawski