The Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra (HPO) has won the 2023 Vida Peene Orchestra Award, as announced by the Ontario Arts Council (OAC). The award, which includes $10,000 CAD, recognizes achievement at both the artistic and organizational levels.
The award will be presented on September 23, at the HPO’s Gemma Conducts Schumann & Mendelssohn concert.
The Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra
The Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra began its life as The Hamilton Orchestral Society in 1884. In 1949, it became the Hamilton Philharmonic, and presented its first concert under that name in January 1950. It has grown from its roots to become one of the nation’s main professional orchestras, and a pillar in Hamilton’s music community.
Along with mainstage concerts, the HPO performs in other venues throughout the city, including outdoor festivals. Members of the HPO have gone on to headlining careers, including members of the Canadian Brass.
Led by conductor Gemma New, the orchestra’s performances include traditional favourites from the repertoire, along with premiering new works by Canadian and international composers.
The Hamilton Philharmonic Youth Orchestra is a performance and training program for young musicians between the ages of 12 and 24. The HPO conducts other educational and outreach initiatives throughout the city, including a seniors’ wellness programme, and talks as well as performances tailored to the needs of specific audiences.
Vida Peene & The Award
Hamilton native Vida Peene (1898-1978) was a lover and patron of the arts. She graduated from the University of Toronto and the Ontario College of Art, and served as in the Red Cross Corps during the Second World War.
She later served on the boards of the National Ballet of Canada, the Dominion Drama Festival, the Canadian Music Centre, among others. From 1968 to 1970, she was appointed to the Board of Management of the O’Keefe Centre by the Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto Council.
On her death in 1978, her bequest to the Canada Council from 1978 has been administered by the CCA ever since. Every year, a portion is transferred to the OAC to fund a series of awards designed to support Ontario orchestras, as well as the acquisition of Canadian paintings by the Art Gallery of Hamilton.
A jury oversees the selection process for the biennial award.
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