Arts council hands out more than $80,000 for artistic excellence
Indigenous choreographer wins $50K, conductor $25K, local composer $7.5K
The Canada Council for the Arts this week announced three prizes, worth more than $80,000 in total, to be awarded to three Canadian artists.
Indigenous choreographer Margaret Grenier, who premiered her company's latest work in Ottawa at the National Arts Centre last year, is $50,000 richer as this year's winner of the Walter Carsen Prize for Excellence in the Performing Arts. It recognizes the highest level of artistic excellence by a professional Canadian artist in music, theatre or dance.
Grenier is the executive and artistic director of the B.C.-based
Dancers of Damelahamid, a company that adapts Indigenous cultural practices for contemporary venues and audiences. Their recent multimedia piece, Mînowin, tells a story of transformation, employing ancient wisdom to prepare for the future.
“Mînowin means to clarify direction,” Grenier said in an interview with this newspaper last year, “and I think that it tells a story beyond just what we have worked through, and what other Indigenous Peoples have as well. You go back to the origin stories and they help us navigate the way forward because we draw from their ancestral wisdom. For me, Mînowin is really a piece about resilience.”
Another $25,000 in prize money is headed to Mississauga-raised conductor Jordan de Souza as the winner of the Virginia Parker Prize, which is awarded annually to an outstanding classical musician or conductor under the age of 32. The young maestro's work with Komische Oper Berlin prompted The New York Times to describe him as part of the new generation
of leaders in Berlin's classical scene.
Finally, the Jules Léger Prize for New Chamber Music, worth $7,500, was awarded to Ottawa-based composer Kelly-Marie Murphy for her 2018 composition, Coffee Will Be Served in the Living Room. It's a 10-minute piece for eight cellos commissioned by the Women's Musical Club of Toronto.
Choreographer Margaret Grenier has been awarded the $50,000 Walter Carsen Prize for Excellence in the Performing Arts.