Virginia Parker Prize

Guidelines

The Canada Council is committed to equity and inclusion, and encourages applications and nominations from culturally diverse, Deaf, disability and official language minority artists, groups and organizations. The Canada Council recognizes and affirms the Aboriginal and treaty rights of the Indigenous peoples of this land and encourages applications and nominations from First Nations, Inuit and Métis individuals, groups, and organizations in all its programs. 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 excellence, and who make a valuable contribution to the artistic life in Canada and internationally.

Deadline – 1 April 2021

Your completed application form must be submitted by email on or before the deadline date by 11:59 pm (local time). The Canada Council will not assess late or incomplete applications.

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
  • be a recipient of at least 2 Canada Council grants and/or Canada Council prizes for professional musicians as an individual
  • have conducted or performed as a soloist or chamber musician internationally
  • be under the age of 32 as of January 1st of the deadline year. For the 2021 competition, you must be born after January 1, 1989
  • 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 officer 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 recommendations are final.

Assessment criteria

Artistic merit (60%)

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

Impact (30%)

The potential of the award to:

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

Relevance (10%)

  • how your work enriches and evolves the current thinking and practice in your area of expertise
  • your contributions towards a more equitable, diverse, and inclusive society

Required information and support material – What you need to apply

  • Curriculum vitae
  • Biography
  • Artistic statement
  • 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, please ensure that the information is up to date on the Canada Council’s portal, if you have an account.

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

The Canada Council will send you the prize money after it has received your acknowledgement form. Winners cannot receive the prize money until all overdue final reports for Canada Council grants and prizes have been submitted and approved. This prize will not be awarded posthumously.

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 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 48 hours, please contact us.

Contact information

Sarah Brown

Program Officer, Prizes

virginiaparker-prizes@canadacouncil.ca

1-800-263-5588 (toll-free) or 613-566-4414, ext. 6004

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