On Saturday June 18, at the historic Chapel of Bon-Pasteur, the gala concert and the award ceremony for the 110e edition of the Prix d’Europe. Fourteen prizes were awarded to nine lucky winners, some of whom won more than one.
What is the Prix d’Europe?
As mentioned in the program: “The Prix d’Europe is an annual scholarship created in 1911 thanks to the initiative of J.-Arthur Paquet, businessman and organist, then treasurer of the Academy of Music of Quebec. As for the Prix d’Europe Competition, it is “the oldest classical music competition in North America to support the excellence of the young musical elite of Quebec.” »
This year, during the 110e edition of the Prix d’Europe, twenty-two candidates competed, ie five violinists, two cellists, two violists, nine pianists, two sopranos, a contralto, and a tenor. The semi-finals took place from June 13 to 16, followed by the final event on June 17, all crowned by the gala concert and the awards ceremony on June 18.
Prizes and winners
The first prize, the Europe priceswent to the violist Wilhelm Magner. This is a $50,000 scholarship offered by the Ministry of Culture and Communications. He also won the Montreal Youth Symphony Orchestra Prize, a $1,000 scholarship and an “invitation to perform as a soloist at a regular concert in the 2023 season under the direction of Louis Lavigueur. »
I take this opportunity to mention that I have several times attended concerts by this orchestra conducted by one of the most affable and talkative Louis Lavigueur in his role as maestro. He has a habit of making remarks that are always as relevant as they are educational about the works and composers on the program of his concerts, wishing to inform his appreciative listeners.
Wilhelm was also awarded the Val-d’Or Prize in concertsa scholarship of $1,500 accompanied by an “invitation to give a recital during the 2022-2023 season of Val-d’Or en concerts”.
The second prize, the Pierre Mantha Prizea $5,000 grant from the Père Lindsay Foundation, was won by the formidable contralto Rose Naggar Tremblaywhich, at the same time, earned the John Newmark Award, a $4,000 scholarship from the Friends of the Art Fund. She also scored a hat-trick thanks to the Claire Charbonneau Clerk Award, a $1,000 scholarship awarded to a “candidate in singing whose artistic and technical qualities have particularly attracted the attention of the jury. »
Rose masters the technique as much as she excels in her game. Indeed, she is not content only to “push the note” but also to push the theatricality of her interpretations to the maximum, without however sinking into excess. In my humble opinion, she embodies her roles wonderfully. So much so that it is as much a pleasure for the eyes as for the ears to attend his performances. No wonder she has won so many awards and accolades so far.
In my own book, Rose is more than a triple winner at the Prix d’Europe Competition, she is more of a quadruple winner, in that she managed to distinguish herself in the semi-finals and the final by interpreting, among other things, a song cycle titled healing – of which she is the author and co-composer with Éric Champagne – and thanks to which she won the Prize for the best interpretation of a Canadian worka $2,500 scholarship offered by Ms. Juliana Pleines, during the 2021 OSM competition. Rose has the wind in her sails and is promised a brilliant career.
The third prize, the Quebecor Prizea $5,000 scholarship, was awarded to the pianist Joon Oh Kimwho also won the Monik Grenier Award, a $1,000 scholarship awarded “for the best interpretation by a pianist of an important work by André Mathieu. »
The fourth prize, the Guy Soucie Award from the Académie de musique du Québec, a $3,000 scholarship, was won by the pianist Christopher Knopp.
For the complete list of all the prizes and all the winners, I invite you to visit the Prix d’Europe Competition website.
Musical content of the gala concert
He’s the pianist Christopher Knopp who kicked off the gala with excerpts from Kreisleriana, op. 16 by R.Schumann.
Rose Naggar Tremblayaccompanied by pianist Julien Leblanc, then took over the stage to give us a vibrant interpretation of the aria “Cruda sorte” from the opera The Italiana in Algeri by G. Rossini.
The pianist Joon Oh Kim chained with Images, second series (either “Bells through the leaves” and “Golden fish”) by C. Debussy.
The violist Wilhelm Magner topped it off with Concerto for viola (“Vivo con molto preciso”) by W. Walton, accompanied by Felix Hong on the piano.
I did not know any of the works played by the two pianists and the violist, but their discovery was a source of delight and earned warm applause from the performers.
After this delicious spicy main course, dessert was served to us by the guest of honour, the 2021 winner of the Prix d’Europe, the soprano Carole-Anne Rousselwho offered us a performance of about 20 to 25 minutes made up of three songs in English (Three Browning Songs, op. 44) by A. beach, two French songs (“Les abeilles” and “Au Printemps”) by F. Fourdrain, and three songs by R. Strauss taken from 6 Song, op. 60. She was accompanied by pianist Martin Dubé.
Her performance was eloquent and convincing enough for us to fully realize why this Quebec soprano was last year’s big winner.
In closing, I must mention that the evening was masterfully animated by the actor, pianist, and host John Marchand, whose shoes, a vibrant red, emphatically highlighted her classic black outfit. His professionalism was exemplary.