OTTAWA, March 27, 2019 — On March 25, at 2:00 p.m. music students aged 16-24 from the National Capital Region competed for a chance to win prizes worth more than $20,000 in the 39th annual National Arts Centre Orchestra Bursary Competition.

This year’s winners are:

  • 2019 NAC Orchestra Bursary ($7,000) – Thalia Navas, bassoon
  • Crabtree Foundation Award ($5,000) –  Eric Prodger, bass trombone
  • Friends of the NAC Orchestra Award ($3,000) – Charles Watson, trumpet
  • The NAC Orchestra Vic Pomer Award ($2,000) – Éric Gauthier, clarinet
  • The Sturdevant Orchestral Excerpts Prize ($1,500) – Eric Prodger, bass trombone
  • The Piccolo Prix ($1,000) – Quinn McGillis, trombone
  • Honourable mentions ($250 each) –
    1. Lina Yang, flute
    2. Max Ostic, bassoon
    3. Renz Adame, oboe

Roderick Bell, Chairman of the NAC Orchestra Bursary Committee said, “The 2019 NAC Orchestra Bursary Competition once again demonstrated both the remarkable level of achievement of young musicians in our local community and the exciting potential for their continued musical progress.  The NAC Orchestra Bursary Competition makes a difference to these talented young people in achieving their goal as professional orchestral musicians.”  

Winners were evaluated based on their performance of short orchestral excerpts and movements from a concerto or sonata written for their instrument.

The 2019 Bursary competition was open to students of winds, brass, percussion and timpani. In 2020, it will be open to string and harp students.

ted by a jury from closed preliminary auditions held on March 23rd and 24th at the National Arts Centre.

The jury comprised of Chair Roderick Bell (non-voting), five NAC Orchestra musicians, Christine McLoughlin of the Friends of the NAC Orchestra (non-voting) and two special guest jurors JoAnn Simpson, bassoon performance instructor at Carleton University, and musical arts consultant Douglas Payson Sturdevant deliberated to select this year’s award winners.


The National Arts Centre Orchestra Bursary Competition was first held in 1981. The prime objective of the competition is to encourage the pursuit of excellence on the part of young instrumentalists aspiring to orchestral careers. Each year, a jury identifies deserving recipients through audition and competition.

The Bursary was created in 1979 by members of the NAC Orchestra as a gesture of appreciation to the audiences who had been so supportive of it during its first decade. It is meant to provide recognition and financial support to help further the development of young musicians who have connections to the National Capital Region (NCR). Funding for the award came originally from two sources: the NAC Orchestra Bursary Fund created in 1979 by the members of the National Arts Centre Orchestra and the NAC Orchestra Trust (originally the Capital Trust founded in 1932 to benefit the Ottawa Philharmonic Society which on its demise in 1970 transferred the income to the NAC). It is now known as the NAC Orchestra Trust Fund.

In 1981, one prize of $1,000 – the NAC Orchestra Bursary – was awarded. In subsequent years, thanks to the growth of the Fund as well as the generosity of private organizations and individuals, prizes now total more than $20,000.


The NAC Orchestra Bursary Competition is supported by The Crabtree Foundation, the Friends of the NAC Orchestra, David and Susan Laister, Wendy Hanna, the NAC Foundation and individual donors to the NAC Orchestra Trust Fund.


Formed in 1969 at the opening of Canada's National Arts Centre, the NAC Orchestra gives over 100 performances a year with renowned artists including Itzhak Perlman, Renée Fleming, James Ehnes, Emanuel Ax and Yo-Yo Ma. It is noted for the passion and clarity of its performances and recordings, its ground-breaking teaching and outreach programs, and nurturing of Canadian creativity. Since its inception, the Orchestra has commissioned 80 works, mostly from Canadian composers.