Meet the latest winners of Canada Council prizes

Meet the latest winners of Canada Council prizes

Posted 15 September 2015 by Blog Editors


Yolanda Bruno


Virginia Parker Prize: Yolanda Bruno

The Virginia Parker Prize ($25,000) recognizes an outstanding young classical musician (singer, instrumentalist or conductor) who has been a recipient of Canada Council grants.

Violinist Yolanda Bruno has been praised for her "total control of her instrument, articulation and perfect intonation with infinite variety in the sound palette" (La Presse). She has performed across North America and Europe, was named one of CBC’s 30 Hot Canadian Classical Musicians under 30 in 2014 and is a 2015 Canada Council Musical Instrument Bank finalist. With the prize money, she will work with renowned violinist and teacher David Takeno in London, England.

What do you hope to learn/achieve from this opportunity to study with David Takeno?

As a young musician I strive to deliver an honest performance of the works I share with audiences while respecting the composer’s wishes as well as staying true to myself.  David Takeno has been a source of both musical and personal inspiration as he has guided and supported me throughout my search for my individual voice.  I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to continue seeking guidance from him while I continue to explore and grow through the music I perform. 


Marie-Josée Chartier


Jacqueline Lemieux Prize: Marie-Josée Chartier

The Jacqueline Lemieux Prize ($6,000) recognizes outstanding applicants to the Grants to Dance Professionals Program and Grants to Aboriginal Dance Professionals Program.

Marie-Josée Chartier moves easily between the worlds of dance, music, opera and multimedia, adopting the roles of choreographer, director, dancer, vocalist, mentor or teacher. She founded Chartier Danse (2003) to support her projects for the national and international scenes.  Her many awards include 4 Dora Mavor Moore Awards and the K.M. Hunter Dance Award.

What direction do you see dance going in the next decade or so?

That's a hard question to answer. I think that any artistic direction is influenced not only by the work and vision of creators and performers, but often by the economic and granting structure as well. We are seeing major changes where the company model has become very flexible, inciting dance artists to branch out and as a result increase the number of collaborations and co-productions.  As well, there is a strong interest in integrating different artistic disciplines (a phenomenon that has actually existed for a long time). Who knows what will happen in the next ten years? All we can do is continue to work hard and challenge the status quo, while also continuing to respect and support the creative process of the artist.

Michael Levine


Walter Carsen Prize for Excellence in the Performing Arts: Michael Levine

The Walter Carsen Prize for Excellence in the Performing Arts ($50,000) recognizes the highest level of artistic excellence and distinguished career achievement by Canadian artists in dance, theatre or music.

Michael Levine is one of the most celebrated and sought-after theatre designers in the world. He brings a vision to the stage that captures the audience’s imagination and intellect and he is recognized as a generous collaborator and mentor. His numerous national and international awards include a Gemini, The Edinburgh Festival Drama and Music Award, two Dora Mavor Moore Awards and Festival d’Aix Critics Prize and Toronto Arts Award.  Michael is a Chevalier des Arts et Lettres in France.

You are known for your imaginative use of technology in your designs. Which technology has most changed your artform/practice over the course of your career – and how?

The internet has changed everything.  Drawings, research, information can be exchanged with incredible ease, which allows me to collaborate with colleagues around the globe as never before.

The manipulation of all technology is also more malleable then it has ever been and is now similar to how we word process.  Light, sound, video can be simply edited and reorganized – Focus, color, size, level.  This fluidity allows these various disciplines to easily contribute to the construction of a sense of space.


Professional Prix de Rome: Public Architecture + Communication

The Professional Prix de Rome in Architecture ($50,000) recognizes outstanding achievement in Canadian architecture. It is awarded annually to a young architect or architectural firm to develop their skills and creative practice as well as work with specialists worldwide. 

Public Architecture is a firm concerned about the steadily decline of public spaces in Vancouver where people gather. With the Prix de Rome, Brian Wakelin and his team will travel to the Netherlands and Japan to learn how the Dutch and Japanese have reclaimed public space. They will visit diverse and open environments that include parks, ponds, shops, restaurants and cultural venues where the public and private intertwine.

How will your research influence your work – and potentially improve our public spaces here in Canada?
“Our goal is to show how buildings with significant public space can be built in any urbanizing city, where divergent groups can coexist rather than be siloed, segregated and marginalized,” said Brian Wakelin, principal Public Architecture. “We will catalogue and present our findings at conferences focused on architecture and urbanity in an effort to effect positive change in one of Canada’s greatest cities and our home town, Vancouver.”

Mary-Anne Barkhouse installation at Rodman Hall Art Centre, Brock University

Visual arts

York Wilson Endowment Award:
Rodman Hall Art Centre, Brock University

The York Wilson Endowment Award ($30,000) is given to a Canadian art museum or public gallery to help it purchase work by a living Canadian artist that will significantly enhance its collection.

With the award, the Rodman Hall Art Centre was able to purchase Settlement by Mary Anne Barkhouse, an Aboriginal artist based in Minden, Ontario. This will allow a temporary exhibition of public art to remain permanently on display on the banks of Twelve Mile Creek in St. Catharines.

Settlement incorporates sculptural elements into an artist’s garden built in the shape of a frontier house. The artist planted a series of border gardens of indigenous plants including corn, squash, beans as well as quinoa, originally from South America. Situated in the interior spaces of the garden are life-size bronze sculptures of a coyote and a badger, alluding to the cooperative nature of the Allies involved in the 1812 conflict.

How will this work enhance the collection at Rodman Hall – and how will it benefit the community of St. Catherines?

“Settlement has already become an important landmark for visitors and a catalyst for community storytelling in Niagara,” said Stuart Reid, Director/Curator of Rodman Hall. “It will also have a significant impact on local schools through our continued education programming activities. Our art educators continue to teach and discuss First Nations art while examining issues of sovereignty and confederacy from an Indigenous ecological point of view.”


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