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La Scena Musicale - Vol. 19, No. 2

Canadian Music Competition: Jocelyn Lafond & Ji Soo Choi

by Marc-Olivier Laramée / October 1, 2013

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Jocelyn LafondJocelyn Lafond
Grand Prize, 19 to 30 years old category, organ

At the latest edition of the Canadian Music Competition, 25-year-old organist Jocelyn Lafond brought home first prize in the 19-to-30-year-old category (finishing ex aequo with violinist Ji Soo Choi) and the $2,000 Jacqueline Desmarais scholarship. Hailing from Drummondville, where he began with piano, he has been a student at the Conservatoire de musique de Trois-Rivières since 2005. He has a BA in piano as well as one in organ.

He has been a student of Raymond Perrin and is working on a master’s degree in organ and orchestral conducting as well as a graduate degree in writing. He is a regular organist at the Cathédrale Saint-Hyacinthe. Participating in the CMC since 2007, Lafond began with piano, but continued with organ. Duruflé is one of his favourite composers and he is especially fond of French music.

His career as an organist began when he was only 10 years old. The village organist died and Lafond was asked to replace him on short notice. His taste for the organ repertoire surfaced during his postsecondary studies, when he studied piano at the Conservatoire but had the organ as a supplementary instrument. Says Lafond, “That’s where the flame was lit.” Lafond considers himself an organist, though the course of his future career remains undetermined.

Ji Soo Choi

Ji Soo Choi
Grand Prize, 19-to-30-year-old category, violin

Few people know that the Canadian Music Competition began in Montreal in 1958. Thousands of young musicians and future stars have participated, such as Marc-André Hamelin and Marie-Nicole Lemieux. Ji Soo Choi, a young violinist of South Korean origin, may someday achieve the same heights. After five competition entries, she was awarded first prize this year, tied with organist Jocelyn Lafond. She also won a $2,000 scholarship from Caminex as well as an internship at the Orford Academy.

Choi began studying violin at the age of three in her home country. Arriving in Oakville, Ontario nine years ago, she studied at Toronto’s Royal Conservatory and at the Young Artist Performance Academy. She is currently completing a BA at Juilliard with Ida Kavafian.

For the national final, she played Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1. “I always dreamed of playing this piece with an orchestra, ever since the day I heard Sarah Chang’s recording,” says Choi. She describes the concerto as being technically difficult, but also melodic.

Choi’s next goal is to participate in the Montreal International Music Competition.


Translation: Rebecca Anne Clark

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