To dream and compete: the NAC Orchestra Bursary Competition finals

Horn backstage nac - photo by dwayne brown
© Dwayne Brown

“Relax. Nobody is out to get you. The jurors want you to do your best.” – from “Helpful Hints,” NAC Orchestra Bursary Competition application materials

An aspiring classical musician believes in her dream.

But she also has to compete.

Competitions can help fund an education, and bring recognition to kickstart a career. 

They can also be tough. Pulses quicken. Body heat shoots up or down. Hands tremble.

But when a competition has gone well, good things – very good things – can happen.

The NAC Orchestra Bursary Competition, first held in 1981, aims to encourage the pursuit of excellence on the part of young instrumentalists from the National Capital Region who are aspiring to orchestral careers. The Bursary is just one part of the NAC’s commitment to artist training, and to acting as a catalyst for education. 

 Each year, a jury identifies recipients through audition and competition.  Thanks to the growth of the NAC Orchestra Trust Fund, as well as the generosity of private organizations and individuals, prizes now total $19,000. The top prize, the NAC Orchestra Bursary, awards $7,000 to the most deserving candidate.

 After an impressive performance, a jury of musicians at the National Arts Centre named Lara Deutsch winner of the 2014 NAC Orchestra Bursary Competition.

The eight finalists were selected by a jury of six NAC Orchestra musicians and two special guests over the preceding weekend.

The NAC Orchestra Bursary Competition winners are:

  • 2014 NAC Orchestra Bursary ($7,000) – Lara Deutsch
  • Harold Crabtree Foundation Award ($5,000) – Bryan Cheng
  • Friends of the NAC Orchestra Award ($3,000) – Erica Zheng
  • The NAC Orchestra Vic Pomer Award ($2,000) – Christian Paquette
  • The Piccolo Prix ($1,000) – Roland Gjernes 
  • The NAC Orchestra Special Prize for the best performance of prescribed orchestral excerpts ($1,000) – Lara Deutsch
  • Honourable mentions ($225 each) – Antoine Malette-Chénier, Olivier Brisson, Isabella Czyrnyj

The Bursary Committee and Jury were chaired by Roderick Bell, passionate music lover, former Canadian Ambassador to Jordan and Saudi Arabia, and an active volunteer at the National Arts Centre.

Former winners include NAC Orchestra musicians Kenneth Simpson (percussion), Leah Roseman (violin), Steven van Gulik (trumpet), as well as Summer Music Institute alumni Robert Uchida (violin), Reynaliz Herrera (percussion) and Thaddeus Morden (cello).

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