British Columbia native wins the Canada Council Virginia Parker Prize

Layla Claire

Ottawa, June 19, 2013 – The 2013 Virginia Parker Prize has been awarded to an extraordinary opera singer, Layla Claire. The Canada Council for the Arts announced today that the soprano is the recipient of the $25,000 prize, awarded annually to a Canadian classical musician under the age of 32 who demonstrates outstanding talent and musicianship.

The award was established in 1982 by the late Virginia Parker and is funded by an annual donation from the Virginia Parker Foundation.

“Layla Claire continues a tradition of great Canadian opera singers,” commented Robert Sirman, Canada Council Director and CEO. “Layla’s career is already off to a brilliant start and is certain to shine even brighter thanks to the Virginia Parker Prize.”

“I am constantly asked when working abroad what could possibly be in the water in Canada because of the high level of Canadian singers,” said 2013 Virginia Parker Prize recipient Layla Claire. “I dare to believe that I have the ability and the work ethic to achieve an international career at the highest level and represent Canada like other artists have done before me.”

Download images of Layla Claire

Layla Claire was selected by a Canada Council peer assessment committee composed of Kimberly Barber (Waterloo), Kurt Kellan (Victoria), Elaine Marcil (Lavaltrie, Que.) and Jeremy Spurgeon (Edmonton).

Originally from Penticton, British Columbia, Layla Claire studied opera at l’Université de Montréal before attending the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. She recently finished her last season in the Lindemann Young Artist Development Program at The Metropolitan Opera, which she joined in 2009.

Recognized early on for having an affinity for Mozart, she has performed several roles including Susanna, Countess, Donna Anna and Fiordiligi. In 2010, Layla Claire became the first recipient of The Hildegard Behrens Foundation Award. In her career, she has also received other honours such as the Mozart Prize at the Wilhelm Stenhammar International Music Competition and was a Queen Elisabeth Competition Laureate. Highlights of her work as a concert artist include Handel’s Messiah with the New York Philharmonic and Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. She has worked with several renowned conductors such as James Levine, Yannick Nezet-Séguin, and Michael Tilson-Thomas and has performed at the Metropolitan Opera, the Aix-en-Provence Festival and the Glyndebourne Festival.

General information

The Canada Council for the Arts is Canada’s national arts funder. Its grants to artists and arts organizations contribute to a vibrant arts scene in Canada. Its awards celebrate creativity by recognizing exceptional Canadians in the arts, humanities and sciences. The Canada Council Art Bank is a national collection of over 17,000 Canadian contemporary artworks – all accessible to the public through rental, loan and outreach programs. The Canadian Commission for UNESCO operates under the general authority of the Canada Council.

Media contacts:

Mireille Allaire
Public Relations Officer
1-800-263-5588 or
613-566-4414, ext. 4523
Email this contact

Heather McAfee
Public Relations Officer
1-800-263-5588 or
613-566-4414, ext. 4166
Email this contact