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THE SCOOP | Canada Council For The Arts Announces 2023 Musical Instrument Bank Competition Winners 

By Anya Wassenberg on August 16, 2023

The winners of the 2023 Musical Instrument Bank competition (Photo: Donna Santos)
The winners of the 2023 Musical Instrument Bank competition (Photo: Donna Santos)

The Canada Council for the Arts has announced the winners of the 2023 Musical Instrument Bank competition. A total of 21 musicians have been selected to borrow an instrument after a series of auditions in Toronto.

Playing on some of the world’s finest instruments will allow the talented young musicians the opportunity to further their playing and artistic endeavours.

The Music Instrument Bank

The MIB was launched with $100,000 in seed money from a private bequest, along with other fundraising efforts by the late Montréal businessman William Turner, and cellist Denis Brott.

From that initial investment, other individuals and organizations have either contributed instruments, or loaned them to MIB, including violins, cellos, and bows crafted by revered makers such as Stradivari, Guarneri, and Gagliano. Additional instruments have been added as funds are available.

Many prominent Canadian classical musicians have benefited from the programme, including Roman Borys, Lara St. John, Martin Beaver, Marc Djokic, among others.

The Winners & Instruments

The instruments are donated for a three-year period on the basis of auditions that took place in Toronto between July 30 and August 5.

Auditions for the Canada Council for the Arts Musical Instrument Bank took place in Toronto from July 30 to August 5. The candidates had submitted a detailed application where they talked about their experiences and achievements, and what the instrument will do for them. A total of 32 musicians took part. The instruments available includes 23 violins and cellos made between the late 17th century and the early 20th century by luthiers like Stradivari, Gagliano and Pressenda.

The cellists were selected after two days of auditions. Then, another four days were dedicated to whittling the list of violinists, who were named at the end of the sixth day of auditions. On the seventh day, the winning musicians selected their instruments, with each given some time to assess them.

These 21 talented artists will have the chance to play and perform with these incredible instruments for a three-year period:

  • Violin Alice Lee | 1689 Baumgartner Stradivarius violin
  • Cello Andrea Stewart | 1824 McConnell Nicolaus Gagliano II cello
  • Violin Astrid Nakamura | ca.1830-1850 Eckhardt-Gramatte Joachim Georges Chanot I violin
  • Cello Bryan Cheng | ca. 1696 Bonjour Stradivarius cello
  • Cello Cameron Crozman | ca. 1750 Gennaro Gagliano cello
  • Cello Christopher Hwang | 1929 Carlo Giuseppe Oddone cello
  • Violin Christopher Whitley | 1900 Stefano Scarampella violin
  • Violin Daniel Dastoor | 1700 Taft Stradivarius violin
  • Cello Daniel Hass | 1730 Newland Joannes Franciscus Celoniatus cello
  • Violin David Baik | 1871 Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume violin
  • Violin Emma Meinrenken | 1717 Windsor-Weinstein Stradivarius violin
  • Violin Eva Aronian | 1715 Dominicus Montagnana violin
  • Violin Gregory Lewis | 1768 Miller Januarius Gagliano violin
  • Violin Julia Mirzoev | 1747 Palmason Januarius Gagliano violin
  • Violin Kumiko Sakamoto | 1820 Joannes Franciscus Pressenda violin
  • Violin Leland Ko | A Spanish cello attributed to Joannes Guillami of Barcelona, Spain and bearing a label dated ca. 1769 / ca. 1830 Shaw Adam cello bow
  • Violin Lucy Wang | ca. 1700 Bell Giovanni Tononi violin
  • Violin Shannon Lee | 1902 Enrico Rocca violin
  • Violin Tiffany Yeung | 1869 Jean Baptiste Vuillaume violin (with Vuillaume model bow)
  • Violin Vivian Kukiel | 1851 Jean Baptiste Vuillaume violin
  • Violin Yu Kai Sun | 1757 Carlo Tononi Bolognese Violin

Congratulations! We’ll look forward to hearing them perform on these venerated instruments.


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