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THE SCOOP | Pianist Christina Petrowska Quilico Given 2023 Oskar Morawetz Award

By Anya Wassenberg on October 4, 2023

Christina Petrowska Quilico (Photo: Bo Huang)
Christina Petrowska Quilico (Photo: Bo Huang)

The Ontario Arts Council has announced that pianist Christina Petrowska Quilico is the recipient of the 2023 Oskar Morawetz Award for Excellence in Music Performance. The award is granted every two years.

In granting the award, the jurors stated that Christina Petrowska Quilico, “has made an astonishing contribution to musical life in Canada.” As they remarked: “Christina is a champion of Canadian composers — and her pioneering dedication to Canadian female composers is especially noteworthy. She has helped to secure this period of Canadian music through her impressive catalogue of recordings, and further through the ripple effect of her many students. She is steadfast. She is legend.”

Named after a multiple Juno Award-winning Canadian composer, the Oskar Morawetz, the Award recognizes Canadian professional classical music performers or conductors who have performed in Canada, and for most, also on international stages.

Up to five candidates are selected by the Ontario Arts Council, and an awards’ committee then chooses the winner. This year’s jury was made up of musician/composer India Gailey (Halifax, N.S.), broadcaster/producer Paolo Pietropaolo (Vancouver, B.C.) and composer/educator Ana Sokolović (Montréal, Que.).

Christina Petrowska Quilico

Christina was born in Ottawa, and first studied piano in Toronto. She went on to study at The Juilliard School in New York City. That’s where she first caught the attention of writers at the New York Times, who called her “an extraordinary talent with phenomenal ability [and] dazzling virtuosity.”

She later went on to studies at the Sorbonne in Paris, as well as in Berlin and Darmstadt.

In her professional career, Christine has released more than 50 albums of contemporary and international composers, with a specialty for women composers. She has recorded five albums of the work of Canadian composer Ann Southam, one of which was nominated for a Juno Award. Her many other accolades include an appointment to the Order of Canada in 2020, and induction into the Royal Society of Canada in 2021.

Christina is a professor emerita and senior scholar at York University, where she began teaching piano and musicology in 1987.

“I am very honoured to receive the Oskar Morawetz Award and to be in the company of such celebrated Canadian artists who have received this prize,” said Christina Petrowska Quilico. “I will continue to perform the wonderful music of Oskar Morawetz and our other esteemed Canadian composers. Thank you to the award jurors, and to the Ontario Arts Council for your continued support of Canadian artists to do what we love to do, which is to perform and create music.”

Known as a champion of contemporary Canadian music, the award will be presented on October 21 at the opening night of the Kindred Spirits Orchestra 2023-24 season. Christina will be performing the piano concerto by Witold Lutosławski in a program titled War and Peace.

Congratulations on a well-deserved award win.

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