The Canada Council for the Arts recently announced the winners of the 2019 Michael Measures Prize. The two prizes, worth $25,000 and $15,000 each, are awarded to young classical musicians who are enrolled in the summer training program of the National Youth Orchestra Canada (NYO Canada).
First prize was awarded to cellist Matthew Christakos, a student of David Hetherington and Hans Jensen at the Phil and Eli Taylor Performance Academy for Young Artists at Toronto’s Royal Conservatory of Music. The Phil and Eli Taylor Performance Academy for Young Artists supports talented young classical musicians with advanced training, including mentorship, and performance opportunities. The prize money is sure to come in handy when Christakos begins his BFA in Music studies at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia under Peter Wiley and Carter Brey in September 2019.
Alison Kim, a violinist from Coquitlam, British Columbia, took home the $15,000 second prize. After studying with Kristopher Tong, a member of the Borromeo string quartet, Kim is currently pursuing her bachelor’s degree in music from the New England Conservatory in Boston with Ayano Ninomiya.
Matthew Christakos and Alison Kim will be the featured soloists on the NYO’s 2019 TD Odyssey Tour, performing Brahms’ Double Concerto for Violin & Cello, op. 102 as conducted by Michael Francis. The tour hits Ottawa Sunday, July 21, then the Maison symphonique in Montreal on July 22, Parry Sound on July 25, and Stratford, Ontario on July 27 and 28 as part of Stratford Summer Music.
On July 29, the NYO tour comes to Toronto’s Koerner Hall, where the talented young performers will officially be awarded their prizes. After the Canadian leg of the tour, the NYO jets off to Spain for the first time.
Barbara Smith, President & CEO of NYO Canada, commented in a media release. “The annual Canada Council for the Arts Michael Measures Prizes are among the most prestigious awards in Canada and represent an incredible opportunity for our young musicians. We are extremely proud of this year’s laureates, Matthew Christakos and Alison Kim, and look forward to hearing them on tour.”
Michael Measures was a well-known lover of music and super-volunteer in Ottawa’s artistic community with a passion for helping young musicians. When he died in 2008, he made a bequest to the Canada Council for the Arts in order to offer opportunities and encouragement to young classical performers, and the prize in his name was established.
Classical music performers between the ages of 16 and 24 can apply for enrollment in the NYO’s summer training program, in order to be eligible for the award. Check out the website for eligibility, deadlines, and other details.