The Walter Prystawski Prize, valued at $5,000, is given annually to the person whom the jury feels is the most deserving of all successful candidates. Its purpose is to provide extra funds to broaden the winner’s musical education and enable that person to enjoy the rich cultural experiences that might not otherwise be possible for a student or young professional.
The prize was created in recognition of Walter Prystawski’s invaluable contribution to the board of the Foundation. As a personal friend and colleague of Sylva Gelber and while he was still concertmaster of the National Arts Centre Orchestra, Mr. Prystawski supported her decision, as a founding member of the board, to assist young musicians making the transition to a professional career. After her death in 2003, he continued to serve for some 15 years, helping to shape our program of awards and to establish the policies that continue to drive our process and our decisions. Mr. Prystawski’s wise counsel is greatly responsible for the Foundation’s success in recognizing and encouraging dozens of exceptionally talented young musicians.
About Walter Prystawski
Born in Toronto, Ontario, Walter Prystawski graduated with an Artist Diploma of the Faculty of Music, University of Toronto.
From 1959 to1969 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 to become founding concertmaster of the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa, a position he held with great distinction until his retirement in 2006.
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 at the University of Ottawa, in 2001.