Bramwell Tovey, music director of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra (VSO), is the recipient of the 2015 Oskar Morawetz Award for Excellence in Music Performance. The award will be presented to him on Monday, November 23, at 8 p.m., as he conducts the VSO’s performance of “Fauré Requiem, A Choral Masterpiece.”
Tovey will be donating the $20,000 prize towards bursaries at the VSO School of Music to allow students to study with members of the VSO.
“I am deeply honoured to receive the 2015 Oskar Morawetz Award,” said Tovey. “Oskar's work and dedication to his new country have been inspirations for me in my own work. This award belongs to the musicians of the VSO as much as to me – it has been an honour to lead them in playing for audiences nationally and internationally.”
A renowned conductor, composer, performer, educator and mentor, Tovey has been described by Musical America as “one of the most versatile and charismatic musicians in the world.”
Tovey has conducted many of the world’s most prestigious orchestras and choirs, including a remarkable 125 concerts with the New York Philharmonic. Tovey and the VSO received a GRAMMY® and a JUNO® for their 2008 recording of Barber, Korngold and Walton concertos with violin soloist James Ehnes.
Under Tovey’s leadership, the VSO has also toured internationally and established an annual contemporary music festival. He co-founded the VSO School of Music, and now serves as its Artistic Advisor.
As a composer, Tovey has been commissioned by the New York and Los Angeles Philharmonics, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and the Calgary Opera. He received the 2003 JUNO® Award for Best Classical Composition for his choral and brass work Requiem for a Charred Skull.
Also a pianist, Tovey has appeared as a soloist with many major orchestras, and released two jazz albums.
A graduate of the University of London, he holds four honorary doctorates and is an honorary fellow of the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto and his alma mater, the Royal Academy of Music. He is a member of the Order of Manitoba and the Order of Canada.
Established in 2007, the award honours the legacy of Oskar Morawetz – one of Canada's leading composers of contemporary music, whose career spanned more than 50 years. It is presented biennially to an outstanding Canadian performer, including conductors, in the field of classical music, recognizing talent and commitment to Canadian music. Previous winners are mezzo-soprano Judith Forst (2013), cellist Shauna Rolston (2011) and flutist Robert Cram (2009).
The Ontario Arts Council administers the jury process for the Oskar Morawetz Award. This year’s jury consisted of Daniel Bartholomew-Poyser (Kitchener), Allan Gordon Bell (Calgary) and Judith Forst (Port Moody, B.C.).