Bursary, awards and prizes

Up to eight finalists will be chosen from the preliminary auditions to compete in the finals for the following prizes:

The NAC Orchestra Bursary ($8,000)

The NAC Orchestra Bursary is the top prize in the competition. One award of $8,000 is available to the most deserving candidate.

The Crabtree Foundation Award ($5,000)

This award of $5,000, offered for the first time in 2003, is provided by the Crabtree Foundation. The Foundation is a strong believer in the importance of helping young people. The award’s primary purpose is to encourage a particularly promising young musician to persevere in pursuit of an orchestral career.

The Friends of the NAC Orchestra Award ($3,500)

The Friends of the National Arts Centre Orchestra Award was established in 1993 to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the NAC Orchestra. It is intended to further the training of a gifted young musician and to illustrate the Friends’ continuing and deeply felt commitment to the NAC Orchestra. This award of $3,500 is funded by a bequest from James W. Morton who was the founding principal clarinet of the NAC Orchestra, and by generous donations from the Friends of the NAC Orchestra.

The NAC Orchestra Vic Pomer Award ($2,000)

The Vic Pomer Award honours one of the founding members of the NAC Orchestra, violinist Victor (Vic) Pomer. This much-loved musician, who died in 2001 at age 70, left the Orchestra in 1995 after 40 years of orchestral performance – 26 of them at the National Arts Centre. As well as performing, Vic was a dedicated teacher. As fellow founding violinist Elaine Klimasko recalls: “Victor guided and encouraged his students in the most devoted way.” This award is intended to support a deserving musician in his or her further education. It was established in 2001 by the NAC Orchestra Bursary Committee and is now worth $2,000.

The Friends of the NAC Orchestra Evelyn Greenberg Award ($2,000)

The Evelyn Greenberg Award of $2,000, established in 2019 by the Friends of the NAC Orchestra, is in recognition of Evelyn's vision and dedication as the founding president of the Friends in 1969, and of her extraordinary work as a collaborative pianist with the NAC Orchestra and with Ottawa music students.

Piccolo Prix ($1,000)

The $1,000 Piccolo Prix has been awarded since 2001. It is currently financed through the generosity of two of the National Arts Centre’s most dedicated volunteers and Donors’ Circle members, David and Susan Laister.

Honourable Mention (up to two prizes of $350)

In 2002, the NACO Bursary Committee decided to recognize the merit of those who reach the Finals but do not receive an award. Such candidates will receive an Honourable Mention accompanied by an award of $350 generously funded by Donald MacLeod.

Note: Winners of the NAC Orchestra Bursary are ineligible to enter subsequent NAC Orchestra Bursary competitions. The Crabtree Foundation Award and the Friends of the NAC Orchestra Award may not be given more than once, and all other awards not more than twice, to the same person. Awards may not be split between competitors.

The Sturdevant Prize for Orchestral Excerpts ($1,500)

The NAC Orchestra Special Prize for Excerpts was renamed The Sturdevant Prize for Orchestral Excerpts in 2016 to honour NAC retiree Douglas (Pace) Sturdevant. The prize was established by the NAC Orchestra Bursary Committee to recognize outstanding performance of prescribed orchestral excerpts by any of the eight finalists in the competition. This prize of $1,500 is available to any of the finalists regardless of whether the recipient has otherwise won a prize in the competition.

Don Renshaw Memorial Award for Brass

With a suggested award amount of $500, the Don Renshaw Memorial Award for Brass will be funded by the Don Renshaw Memorial Fund and awarded to recipients as determined by the NACO Bursary Awards jury. This prize shall be awarded to a brass player who exhibits a flair for style, sound, and emotion as a future professional orchestral musician. The NACO Bursary Competition jury may decide not to award this prize if its award criteria are not met.

When there are no brass musicians participating in the NACO Bursary Awards Competition, the prize will not be awarded.