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THE SCOOP | Godwin Friesen Takes First Prize At The 83rd OSM Competition

By Anya Wassenberg on November 14, 2022

Godwin Friesen plays Prokofiev's Concerto no 3 during the finals of the Concours OSM, with Maestro Jacques Lacombe (Photo: Antoine Saito)
Godwin Friesen plays Prokofiev’s Concerto no 3 during the finals of the Concours OSM, with Maestro Jacques Lacombe and the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal (Photo: Antoine Saito)

The Orchestre symphonique de Montréal has announced pianist Godwin Friesen as the 2022 OSM Competition’s Grand Prize winner.

The 83rd edition of the competition was held between November 8 and 12. Open to young Canadian musicians, the OSM Competition has often been a precursor of both more wins on the international circuit, and productive performing careers.

The prizes

Friesen takes the Barbara Bronfman Prize of $20,000, named after a dedicated patron of the OSM. Along with the cash prize, he can look forward to other Grand Prize perks.

  • Invitations to three performances in the OSM’s calendar: Virée Classique 2023, recitals and/or chamber music;
  • The Queen Elisabeth Music Chapelle prize (Belgium): A residency at the Chapelle during the 2023-2024 season offered by Mrs. Marina Gusti.

The second and third prize winners are also recognized.

  • Second Prize: Jaeden Izik-Dzurko wins a $12,000 prize offered in collaboration by the Marjorie and Gerald Bronfman Foundation and the Lambert-Gagnon-Fortier Estate.
  • Third prize: Jonathan Mak takes home a $7,500 prize offered by the Paul A. Fournier Fund.

The finals were performed onstage with the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal and conductor Jacques Lacombe, with the winners announced at a gala ceremony at the Maison Symphonique.

More prizes:

Here are some of the supplementary prizes awarded during the competition.

  • Prize for best interpretation of a Canadian work: Godwin Friesen ($3,000 prize offered by the OSM Volunteer’s Association)
  • J.S. Bach Special Round Prize: Jaeden Izik-Dzurko ($5,000 prize offered by Mrs. Juliana Pleines)
  • Orford Musique prize: Hamilton Lau, Jean-Christophe Melançon, Jessica Yuma ($5,000 prize offered by Mrs. Juliana Pleines)
  • Domaine Forget prize: Godwin Friesen, Jonathan Mak, Victoria Wong (Three scholarships including accommodation for an advanced training program at the International Music and Dance Academy at Domaine Forget in 2023.)
  • Michelle Paré Prize: Jaeden Izik-Dzurko ($5,000 prize recognizing a candidate’s commitment to the community in promoting music and making it accessible to all. This prize is offered by Mr. Jean Paré.)
  • Semifinalist prizes: $500 prizes offered by the OSM Musician’s Association for the 7 non-finalists candidates.

The full list of winners is available here.

Grand Prize Winner Godwin Friesen

Godwin Friesen was born into the Friesen Family Band. He travelled across the country with the family ensemble, including five siblings, performing as a singer and multi-instrumentalist from an early age. They recorded three albums as a group. He describes himself as “a performer, composer and collaborative artist”.

Saturday’s win is not his first.

  • First Prize at the 2015 National Music Festival;
  • Received the national Senior Mary Gardiner Award in Canadian contemporary music also in 2015;
  • One of ten pianists selected to compete in the 2018 PianoArts North American Competition in Milwaukee, where he won the Audience Communication Award.

Along with his work as a performer, Friesen is a composer. His first work for orchestra, titled Pilgrimage, was premiered by the Saskatoon Youth Orchestra. He’s on the faculty of the Saskatoon’s Summer Academy for Voice and Piano, and he’s performed with the Milwaukee, Regina, and Saskatoon Symphony Orchestras. With his Mykola Trio, he participated in the Trondheim International Chamber Music Academy in Norway. The Mykola Trio recently won first prize at The Glenn Gould School Chamber Music Competition.

Godwin studied at The Glenn Gould School in Toronto on full-tuition scholarship under the direction of John O’Conor from 2016 to 2022. He received both a bachelor’s degree and an Artist Diploma from the institution. He began his master’s degree studies at the Université de Montréal in the fall of 2022 as a student of Henry Kramer.

Friesen still takes time to play with his family members.

Bravo to a young artist we will no doubt be hearing much more of in the years to come.


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