Canadian Music Competition 2016 / Evaluation Committee

Historical Information

The information contained on this page is related to an older edition of the competition. It is made available for archival purposes only. For the most current information, please go to Canadian Music Competition 2021.

Andrée Azar

Originally from Sherbrooke, Andrée Azar began her studies in violin at the age of seven, using the Létourneau Method. From a young age, she regularly participated in the Canadian Music Competition, in the Solo and Chamber Music categories. At age thirteen, she entered the Conservatoire de musique de Gatineau and continued her training with Yaëla Hertz. She graduated with a “Premier Prix” in violin in 1980. A recipient of grants from the Ontario Arts Council and The Canada Council for the Arts, she completed her studies in the United States, obtaining Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from Indiana University (Bloomington) and the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor). In 1987, she joined the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, with Charles Dutoit inviting her to perform solo with the orchestra. She performed Alfred Schnittke’s Concerto for two violins and prepared harpsichord, with colleague and childhood friend Chantal Juillet, in New York’s Carnegie Hall. In 1992, she devoted herself to teaching violin while regularly appearing in concert and on tour with Les Violons du Roy. She teaches at the conservatories of Chicoutimi, Québec, and Montréal, as well as at McGill University. She also teaches at music camps such as Domaine Forget and the Laurentian Music Centre. Andrée Azar has taken many training courses in pedagogy, with Claude Letourneau, Johanne Arel, and Mimi Zweig, among others. She now spends a significant part of her time encouraging future generations of musicians through her work on juries and in master classes. In 2011, she was invited to be a juror at the Université de Montréal, Peterborough, and Toronto Kiwanis festivals. Her students have won numerous awards at regional and national competitions.

Murielle Bruneau


Murielle Bruneau was born in St-Maurice (Qc). She has been a member of the National Arts Centre Orchestra since 1989, and has performed as solo double bass with the Orchestra on a number of occasions.

She has appeared as a soloist and chamber musician at numerous festivals in Europe and North America, and was solo bass of the McGill Chamber Orchestra and the Montréal chamber ensemble La Pieta, with which she made six recordings.

She also played with the Chamber Players of Canada on the acclaimed recordings of Schubert’s Octet and Trout Quintet, as well as on the equally successful 2005 recording of the chamber versions of the Chopin concertos with pianist Janina Fialkowska and, more recently, on a recording of the works of Eldon Rathburn.

Murielle Bruneau studied at the Conservatoire de musique de Trois-Rivières with Zwislaw Marcinsky, in Rome with Franco Petracchi, and in Boston with Larry Wolfe. She has been a professor at McGill University and at the Conservatoire de musique de Trois-Rivières. She also taught at many other institutions, including the Université de Montréal and Cégep St-Laurent.

Mary-Jo Carrabré


Mary-Jo Carrabré divides her time between administration, teaching, and work as a collaborative pianist. She has released three recordings, including the Juno-nominated Jeté, and has premiered over 70 new works by Canadian and American composers.

Ms. Carrabré holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Manitoba, where she studied with the late Marek Jablonski, and a Master of Music degree from the University of Western Ontario. She is the RCM Examinations Centre Representative in Brandon, and is the Concert Convener for the Brandon Branch of the Manitoba Registered Music Teachers Association.

Now in her 17th year as the Director of the Eckhardt-Gramatté Conservatory of Music at Brandon University, Ms. Carrabré is also active as an adjudicator throughout Canada.

Jack Chen


Flutist Jack Chen has shared the stage with such diverse artists as Amy Grant, Bobby McFerrin, and Sir James Galway. He has also appeared on PBS television music specials and toured with Tim Janis, Finnouala Gill, and EMI vocalists Giorgia Fumanti, Ryland Angel, and Siren. He earned his graduate degree in flute and early music performance from Indiana University, and has studied with flutists Jeanne Baxtresser, William Bennet, Robert Dick, Patrick Gallois, Sarah Jackson, Bart Kuijken, Robert Langevin, Emmanuel Pahud, and jazz legend David Baker.

An instructor of Flute and Flute Methods at Acadia University (NS), Mr. Chen has also taught at Mount Allison University (NB) and at Memorial University (NL). With a tremendous love for chamber music, he now performs regularly with Fifth Wind, the Conundrum Duo, and the Jollimore Trio. In addition to performing and teaching, Mr. Chen is the Artistic Director of Inner Space Concerts, the Maritime Provinces’ newest classical house concert series.

Andrew Dawes


Born in High River (AB), violinist Andrew Dawes has been acclaimed as a recitalist, chamber musician, and soloist throughout the Americas, Europe, and Asia. The founding member and first violinist of the famous Orford String Quartet over its 26-year existence (1965-1991), he gave nearly 3,000 concerts on six continents and made over 60 recordings with the ensemble.

In 1992, he was appointed to the University of British Columbia in Vancouver to teach violin and chamber music, after having taught at the University of Toronto for over 20 years. In 1995-96, he took a leave of absence from UBC to perform as first violinist of the Tokyo String Quartet. He also taught at McGill University and in Switzerland.

Mr. Dawes has served as a jury member for many international competitions, and was Chairman of the Banff String Quartet Competition from 1989 to 2004. He is the recipient of several major awards and distinctions, including the Order of Canada, the Chalmers National Music Award, three JUNO Awards, and the Governor General’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

Since 2011, he has been the director of the Chamber Music Institute at the Vancouver Academy of Music.

Lee Duckles


Lee Duckles, former Principal Cello and soloist with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, received his degree in performance from the University of Illinois and participated in master classes with cellists Mstislav Rostropovich, Janos Starker, and Harvey Shapiro.

An active chamber music performer, he has appeared at music festivals in British Columbia, California, Colorado, Washington, Alaska, and South Korea. For 35 seasons, he was the Principal Cello at the Cabrillo Music Festival of Contemporary Music in California, where he premiered several works and worked with composers Aaron Copland, Lou Harrison, Phillip Glass, A.J. Kernis, and John Adams.

In Vancouver, Mr. Duckles has enjoyed an association with the University of British Columbia, the Vancouver New Music Society, and the Masterpiece Music series. He has recorded for the CBC (both as a performer and arranger), the Musical Heritage Society of America, Polydor Records, Heliodor Records and, most recently, with the salon music ensemble Viveza, for Skylark Records. He is currently on the faculty of the Vancouver Academy of Music, a Co-Director of the Vancouver Chamber Players, and the President of the Vancouver Cello Club.

Stanley Fisher

Dr. Stanley Fisher was designated Professor Emeritus at the Acadia University School of Music’s 2011 May convocation—the first such designation in the school’s 84-year history. Dr. Fisher has been recognized internationally as a clarinet soloist and chamber music player. The American Record Guide called his CD Images a “superb recording” and placed it on its “Critics Choice” list, while International Clarinet magazine remarked “solid and gorgeous, remarkable playing. I wholeheartedly recommend this recording.” Audiences in Canada have frequently heard him on both the English and French CBC radio networks and on television. Specializing in music with strings, he has performed with The Orford Quartet (Toronto), The Shostakovitch Quartet (Moscow), The Cassatt Quartet (New York), The Franciscan Quartet (Banff Competition winners), and The Minneapolis Artist Ensemble, as well as with the Penderecki, LeBlanc, Emily Carr, Blue Engine, and Brunswick quartets. Dr. Fisher enjoys an active and multifaceted career as a musician. Performances as a clarinettist and conductor have taken him to Quebec City, Frankfurt, London, Holland, Budapest, Oxford, Vienna, the Czech Republic, Calgary, the International Clarinet Conference in Vancouver, and the Victoria Summer Chamber Music Festival, among others. Dr. Fisher is a Yamaha performing artist for North America, conducting clinics for this corporation at the National Musicfest and at numerous locations across the country. A frequent guest of many universities, Dr. Fisher has given master classes at McGill University, the Conservatoire de musique de Montréal, The Liszt Academy, Arizona State and Brandon universities, and the universities of Alberta, British Columbia, Victoria, Calgary, Toronto, and Manitoba. As a frequent adjudicator, Dr. Fisher travels from coast to coast in Canada, and has acted as a judge at the Hong Kong Festival five times.

Adam Johnson


The 2015/2016 Season marks Adam Johnson’s third year conducting the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, currently serving as Associate Conductor. Beginning in the fall of 2016 he will be the Assistant Conductor of the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal.

Originally from Hinton, Alberta, Dr. Johnson holds a Doctorate in Piano Performance from the Université de Montréal and a Prize in Orchestral Conducting from the Conservatoire de musique de Montréal. In addition to his highly acclaimed work with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, he has also been a guest conductor with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra and the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra, as well as having toured with the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra.

As a pianist he has performed across Canada, as well as in France and Japan. Highly in demand as a pedagogue, he joined the Faculty of the McGill Conservatory in 2010, and the Université du Québec à Montréal Faculty in 2013. He has also taught harmony, analysis, and chamber music, and translated a major treatise on harmonic analysis from French to English.

Dr. Johnson was recently selected as the recipient of the 2015 Jean-Marie-Beaudet Award in Orchestra Conducting from the Canada Council for the Arts.

Robert Kortgaard

Pianist Robert Kortgaard was born in Regina, Saskatchewan and grew up in Calgary, Alberta. He completed his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees at the Juilliard School in New York City. As a recipient of arts awards from the Canada Council, he furthered his musical studies in Italy and England. Mr. Kortgaard has performed as a soloist with major Canadian orchestras, and has given recitals throughout Canada and the United States, as well as in England, Finland, Portugal, Italy, Indonesia, the Czech Republic, China, and Japan. He is a favourite collaborator of many of Canada’s finest instrumental and vocal soloists and chamber groups, and is Artistic Director of the Indian River Festival on Prince Edward Island and the Leith Summer Festival in Ontario. He was Musician-in-Residence at the University of New Brunswick from 1993 to 1998, and has given master classes at universities and festivals in Canada, Indonesia, and China.

Bruno Laplante


Opera singer Bruno Laplante is also an artistic director, producer, presenter, publisher, and teacher.

A graduate of the Conservatoire de musique de Montréal (in vocal performance), he went on to win the Prix d’Europe in 1966, a special performance award in Guelph, Ontario, and a Silver Medal at the Concours International de chant de Genève.

Several of his records (Reynaldo Hahn, Massenet, and Gounod) were awarded the Grand Prix du disque in Paris, and the Sunday Times in London named his recording of Massenet’s mélodies “Record of the Year.”

As a duo with mezzo-soprano France Duval, he gave over 300 concerts in some ten different countries. For his extraordinary career, he was awarded a special medal from the National Assembly of Québec. In 2011, he was made a Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters in France, and was inducted into the Opéra de Montréal’s Canadian Opera Hall of Fame for the more than 800 performances he has given over the course of his career. He is also the publisher of the Anthology of Québec Music, which includes over 100 musical scores.

Lorraine Prieur


Pianist Lorraine Prieur possesses a Master’s in performance from the Université de Montréal (1968). She made her debut at New York’s Carnegie Hall in 1966 at the invitation of the “Young Concert Artists Pianoforte Series.”

Ms. Prieur has appeared as a soloist on several national and international stages, performing with such major conductors as Maestro Wilfrid Pelletier. A chamber musician and instructor-accompanist, she has collaborated with hundreds of instrumentalists and singers.

A renowned teacher, Lorraine Prieur taught piano at UQÀM, and was an instructor-accompanist at the Conservatoire de musique du Québec in Montréal for over 25 years, where she also led the opera workshops. She was the Acting Director of the Conservatoire de musique du Québec in Montréal, Gatineau, and Rimouski (1999-2003), and the director of UQÀM’s Preparatory School of Music (2009-2013); today, she runs École La Montée des Arts in Mont-Saint-Hilaire with her partner, singer and presenter Luc Saucier.

Jean-Fabien Schneider


Born in France, Jean-Fabien Schneider is very active on the Québec scene, both as a soloist and a chamber musician. His musical activities range from traditional classical concert performance to musical theatre, art direction, and avant-garde music.

Mr. Schneider graduated with honours from the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory and he holds a doctorate in performance from the Université de Montréal. He has won several awards in international competitions, and has given recitals in over ten countries.

Mr. Schneider is a member of several chamber music ensembles, including the Montréal Piano Duo, with which he has performed throughout the country, and the Ensemble Quatrix (two pianists and two percussionists), specializing in the contemporary repertoire. He is also the pianist for the Montréal theatre company L’Arsenal à Musique.

Jean-Fabien Schneider is a piano teacher and Chair of the Piano Department at the McGill Conservatory. He is a lecturer for the conducting class and an accompanist at the Université de Montréal. He is also the director of the Montréal Russian Seasons, the first Canadian classical music festival entirely devoted to the Russian repertoire.

Mayumi Seiler


Mayumi Seiler began her musical training at the age of three, in Osaka, Japan, and went on to study at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria.While performing as a soloist and chamber musician throughout Europe, Japan, and North and South America, she also founded and serves as the Artistic Director of Via Salzburg Chamber Music, a Toronto-based chamber music organization whose orchestra she has led from the first desk for fourteen seasons.

Ms. Seiler has performed with numerous prominent conductors, including Neville Marriner, Christopher Hogwood, and Peter Oundjian, and has been a featured soloist with orchestras such as the City of London Sinfonia, the Berlin Symphony, and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. She has appeared as a soloist in such major venues as Toronto’s Roy Thompson Hall, New York’s Carnegie Hall, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, the Musikverein in Vienna, the Barbican and Wigmore Hall in London.

She has recorded many violin concertos and works of the chamber repertoire for such labels as Virgin Classics, JVC Victor, and Capriccio.

She performs on a circa 1740 J.B. Guadagnini violin.

Mark Simons


Clarinettist Mark Simons received his Bachelor’s degree from McGill University, and his Master’s degree from Temple University (Philadelphia, PA). He then went on to develop his expertise in various styles of music, including baroque, jazz and klezmer. His passion for the classical chamber music repertoire has led to collaborations with many ensembles, including the Alcan, Arthur-Leblanc, Bozzini, and Casals string quartets.

He has been a soloist with various ensembles such as Les Boréades, Les Idées Heureuses and the Orchestre symphonique de Québec. Recordings have included projects with Analekta, Atma, Chandos, and the Cirque du Soleil Musique labels. He has also performed for multiple documentary and feature films.

Mr. Simons studied conducting at Temple University, and attended numerous workshops, including at the Pierre Monteux School (Maine, USA). He was associate conductor with the National Youth Orchestra of Canada, and conductor of the Westmount Youth Orchestra (Montréal) for eight years.

He is an instructor of early clarinet at McGill University, teaches chamber music at Marianopolis College, and is woodwind coach for the OSJM (Orchestre symphonique des jeunes de Montréal).

Robin Wheeler

Robin Wheeler is in steady demand as a coach and accompanist throughout Canada and the United States. He was répétiteur for the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal’s presentation of Strauss’ Elektra under Charles Dutoit. For Toronto Operetta Theatre, he has conducted Gilbert and Sullivan’s Yeomen of the Guard and HMS Pinafore. For Opera North in New Hampshire, he has prepared a number of productions, including Tosca, Les Contes d’Hoffmann, Ariadne auf Naxos, and Carmen. He has been heard accompanying vocal recitals on both Vermont Public Radio and the CBC. For ten summers, Mr. Wheeler was principal coach at the Banff Centre for the Arts, preparing productions as diverse as Le nozze di Figaro, Little Women, and Stephen McNeff’s The Secret Garden. While at Banff, Robin was also privileged to prepare a large number of operas by Canadian composers, including John Estacio’s Filumena, Frobisher, and Lillian Alling. Robin Wheeler is currently Director of Opera Studies and Co‑Chair of the Voice Department at the Université de Montréal, where he has prepared productions of many operas, including Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande, Poulenc’s Dialogues des Carmélites, and Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. In August, he will return as a coach at the Canadian Vocal Arts Institute (CVAI) in Montreal.