Top award for string musician at Schulich School of Music
By Chris Chipello
Violinist Ewald Cheung has been named the 2010-2011 recipient of the largest privately funded music scholarship in Canada: the Schulich School of Music’s Golden Violin Award.
Cheung becomes the fifth winner of the $20,000 award, presented annually to a top McGill University string player who is close to completing studies and has demonstrated the potential for a successful performing career. The announcement was made at a McGill Symphony Orchestra performance in Pollack Hall on Friday, April 8.
“It’s a great honour to have been chosen,” said the 21-year-old Cheung, who is completing his Bachelor of Music in Performance degree this spring. Cheung told The Reporter the prize money will help cover the costs of traveling abroad for international competitions – an important step toward his long-term goal of establishing a career as a soloist.
“The Golden Violin award is a recognition of everything a student has done at McGill,” said Jonathan Crow, Cheung’s violin teacher at Schulich. “Ewald is the perfect recipient because he’s done everything at McGill,” from concerto competitions to chamber music concerts to outreach performances at senior-citizen residences. “He’s been an inspiration to other students. He represents everything we hope that all of our students aspire to at McGill University.”
Cheung is a five-time laureate of the Canadian Music Competitions from 2000 to 2004, winning in 2001 and 2003. In 2007, he was a laureate of the Standard Life Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal Competition. In 2009, he won the Shean Strings Competition in his hometown of Edmonton, and in 2010 he won the McGill Concerto Competition and the Orchestre Symphonique de Trois-Rivières Competition.
In chamber music, Cheung was a founding member of the former Roddick String Quartet, coached by the Schulich School’s André Roy. In 2009, the Roddick String Quartet competed at the London International String Quartet Competition.
Despite his impressive accomplishments, Cheung remains remarkably unassuming. “Ewald is such a wonderful human being,” Crow said. “In a way, he doesn’t have any ego.”
For his part, Cheung said, “I’ve felt I’ve matured as a musician in the last four years, since coming to McGill … It’s been a wonderful ride.”
The Golden Violin award was provided in 2006 by businessman and philanthropist Seymour Schulich, a year after he donated $20 million to McGill’s School of Music.
The Golden Violin, made of pewter and gold plate, remains on permanent display in McGill’s Marvin Duchow Music Library. Its recipients, chosen by the McGill scholarships committee, receive a smaller likeness in the form of a 14-karat gold lapel pin. The four previous winners are violinist Emmanuel Vukovich, violist Lambert Chen, cellist Chloé Dominguez and violinist Aaron Schwebel.
To watch a video of interviews with Cheung and Crow, go to: www.youtube.com/watch?v=yg3_MQ7V2T4