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La Scena Musicale - Vol. 13, No. 8 May 2008

The Canadian Music Competition celebrates 50 years of excellence!

by Graham Lord / May 11, 2008

The Canadian Music Competition celebrates 50 years of excellence!

Graham Lord

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Canadian Music Competition. A national cultural institution and a ritual of overcoming nerves and stress for roughly 4000 young musicians, the competition has been going strong in its national incarnation since 1971. Why 50 years, then, you ask? In 1958, the Quebec Music Festivals were founded with the goal of preparing young musicians for international careers. After ten years of steady development, the project’s director, Claude Deschamps, realized that keeping the competitions within provincial borders no longer made sense, and so the national organization was established.

Throughout its history, the CMC has provided countless Canadian artists with opportunities to hone their competition and performance skills in order to prepare them for the rigorous life of a concert artist. Such laureates include Angela Hewitt, André Laplante, Louis Lortie, Jane Coop, Gwen and Desmond Hoebig, Denis Brott, Marcel Saint-Cyr, and Marc-André Hamelin, who will serve as this year’s Artistic Ambassador for the CMC.

Competitors must pass through regional rounds, then provincial finals, followed by, of course, the national final round. This year, the nationals will be held in Quebec City as part of the city’s 400th anniversary, and will run from June 23 to July 6.

The 2008 edition of the CMC also includes the biannual International Stepping Stone, an additional component of the competition aimed at young artists of a very high calibre who are just starting their careers. Competitors must be no older than 28 (31 for singers) and first prize is an $8,000 scholarship plus a three-week residency at the Banff Centre for the Arts (second prize is $4,000 and third prize is $2,000); to be sure, the competition will be stiff. Stay tuned, as LSM will bring you all the details of this very prestigious competition.

(c) La Scena Musicale