1. Funding
  2. Prizes
  3. Virginia Parker Prize
  4. Guidelines: Virginia Parker Prize

Virginia Parker Prize


The Canada Council is committed to equity and inclusion, and encourages applications and nominations from individuals, groups and organizations from culturally diverse, Deaf, disability and official language minority communities. The Canada Council is committed to reaffirming and revitalizing its relationship with First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples in Canada. Measures are in place in all programs to support these commitments.

The Virginia Parker Prize, valued at $25,000, is awarded annually to a Canadian classical singer, instrumentalist or conductor under the age of 32, who has received past grants and/or prizes from the Canada Council. The prize was established in 1982 by the late Virginia Parker and is funded by an annual donation from the Virginia Parker Foundation.

This prize is awarded to musicians who demonstrate outstanding talent, musicianship and artistic merit, and who make a valuable contribution to the artistic life in Canada and abroad.

Deadline – 2 April 2024

If this date falls on a weekend or statutory holiday, the deadline moves to the next business day.

Your completed application form, required documents and support material must be submitted by email on or before the deadline date by 11:59 pm (local time). Incomplete or late applications will not be assessed.

Application limits – you can apply once per year

An individual may receive this award only once in a lifetime.

Notification of results – approximately 4 months after the deadline date

Prize amount – $25,000

Eligibility – Who can apply?

To be eligible, you must:

  • be a classical singer, instrumentalist or conductor
  • have conducted or performed as a soloist or chamber musician internationally
  • be under the age of 32. For the 2024 competition, you must be born after December 31, 1991
  • be a Canadian citizen or have permanent resident status, as defined by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada; you do not need to be living in Canada when you apply.
  • not have previously received the Virginia Parker Prize.

You must also meet the Canada Council’s definition of a professional artist in music and sound, which is someone who:

  • has specialized training in the field consistent with the standards of their practice
  • is recognized by other music artists working in their same tradition as an artist of superior achievement or potential
  • is committed to their own artistic vision, retains creative control and is committed to the creation and/or promotion of original work
  • has a history of public presentation, receives professional compensation for the public presentation of their work, and actively seeks to maximize the audience for their work, regardless of purely commercial considerations.

Application/Nomination Assistance

Application/Nomination Assistance contributes to costs for services to help with a prize application or nomination for individuals who self-identify as: 

  • Deaf, hard of hearing, having a disability or living with a mental illness
  • First Nations, Inuit or Métis facing language, geographic and/or cultural barriers.

To submit a request, contact the Prizes team 1 to 4 weeks prior to the deadline.

Assessment – How are decisions made?

Peer evaluation is fundamental to the Canada Council’s decision-making process. A peer assessment committee, composed of experienced professionals selected for their expertise in their field of practice, will assess the eligible applications. Committee members will also be selected with consideration to fair representation of artistic specializations, Canada’s 2 official languages, Indigenous peoples, Deaf and disability communities, gender, age and the cultural and regional diversity of Canada.

The peer assessment committee may decide not to award the prize in a given competition.

All peer assessment committee decisions are final.

Assessment criteria

Artistic merit (60%)

  • The artistic quality of your work
  • Your accomplishments to date

Impact (40%)

The potential of the award on your career to:

  • generate future opportunities for professional growth
  • advance your artistic practice

The impact of your work on the milieu/society to:

  • enrich and evolve the current thinking and practice in your area of expertise
  • contribute towards a more equitable, diverse, and inclusive artistic ecosystem

Required information and support material – What you need to apply

Please refer to the application form for detailed instructions.

  • Curriculum vitae (3 pages maximum)
  • Biography (150 words maximum)
  • Artistic statement (2 pages maximum)
  • 3 recordings

Application preparation

  • The Canada Council will make decisions about your eligibility based on the information you provide.
  • You are responsible for providing all the information and support material requested.
  • Submit only the material requested. Extra material will not be shown to the peer assessment committee.
  • Carefully choose your support material as committee members have limited time in which to review each application.
  • In addition to filling out your contact information in the application form, if you have an account on the Canada Council’s portal, please ensure that the information is up to date.

Personal information

Personal information collected in this application shall be used for purposes related directly to the program, service or activity of the Canada Council.

The Canada Council may share personal information from applications and nominations for awards with officials in other arts and cultural industry funding agencies and government institutions on a confidential basis. Shared information is limited to your name, contact information and field of practice and is provided to assist with research, reporting, program planning and evaluation, to present networking or economic opportunities, or to respond to federal reviews. For more information on how your personal information is protected, see our Privacy Notice.

Prize terms and conditions

If your application is successful, the terms and conditions will be outlined in a notification letter.

Prize payment

Winners cannot receive the prize money until all overdue final reports for Canada Council grants and prizes have been submitted and approved.

Participation in promotional activities

The winners must agree to allow their photographs and public information to be used for promotion of the prize and in other Canada Council promotional initiatives.

Previous winners

Visit the Virginia Parker Prize web page to download a list of past winners.

Instructions – How to submit an application

Send your completed application form, required documents and support material as 1 email on or before the deadline date by 11:59 pm (local time) to virginiaparker-prizes@canadacouncil.ca. The maximum file size including attachments is 25 MB. If you do not receive a confirmation email within 3 business days, please contact us to make sure we have received your application.

Contact information


1-800-263-5588 (toll-free) or 613-566-4414, ext. 4086