By McGill Reporter Staff
McGill music student Bénédicte Lauzière is the first ever winner of the Canada Council Michael Measures Prize.
Lauzière, a 21-year-old Montrealer who is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in violin with Professor Jonathan Crow at the Schulich School of Music, takes home $15,000 to help build her music career.
The prize presentation will take place tonight (Friday, August 5) at Montreal’s Notre-Dame Basilica as part of the National Youth Orchestra of Canada’s (NYOC) 2011 concert tour.
The Canada Council Michael Measures Prize recognizes promising young performers of classical music through a partnership with the NYOC. The Orchestra coordinates and supervises the administration of the competition and selection of the annual winner. A recipient, between the ages of 16-22, is chosen from those who have successfully completed the annual summer training program. Michael Measures was a music enthusiast and long-time volunteer in the Ottawa arts community. He took a particular interest in providing opportunities for young classical musicians to improve their skills and in encouraging public recognition of their achievements.
“We are delighted to partner with the NYOC in investing in young Canadian talent,” said Robert Sirman, Director and CEO of the Canada Council for the Arts. “This prize is made possible thanks to a $1 million bequest from the late Michael Measures and in awarding the prize to Bénédicte Lauzière it is clear that Mr. Measures’ passion for music lives on.”
“Bénédicte was the clear and obvious choice for the inaugural Canada Council Michael Measures Prize,” said Barbara Smith, Executive Director of the National Youth Orchestra of Canada (NYOC). “She is one of the most promising string players in the country and we are certain she will make an impact on the world of classical music for many years to come. This first-time award is acknowledgement for all her years of hard work, both as a violinist and as student of NYOC’s Career Training Institute.”
Lauzière began learning the violin at the age of five and, by the time she was 10, she started studying at Conservatoire de Musique de Montréal with Helmut Lipsky. In 2010, she won the silver medal of the Stulberg String Competition, an international competition in Kalamazoo, Michigan as well as the Peter Mendell award, which is given out every year to one of the most promising string players in one of the four Montreal universities. Lauzière won the first prize in her age category at the Canadian Music Competition three years in a row (2006–2008). In 2008, she was invited to play as a soloist Prokofiev’s first concerto with the Quebec Symphony Orchestra and maestro Yoav Talmi. In the past few years, she participated in masterclasses with top violinists Salvatore Accardo, Martin Beaver, Pinchas Zukerman, Alexandre Da Costa, Régis Pasquier and Leonidas Kavakos.