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Faculty of Music’s annual graduating awards recognize student excellence and potential

13 June 2018

The Faculty of Music is pleased to announce that choral conductor Elaine Choi and bass-baritone Joel Allison are the winners of the 2018 William and Phyllis Waters Graduating Award and Tecumseh Sherman Rogers Graduating Award. These exceptional recent graduates will each receive $25,000.00, the Faculty’s largest prize. (See a complete list of recipients at the end of this article.)

Throughout her decade with the Faculty of Music, conductor Elaine Choi (Doctor of Musical Arts in Choral Conducting 2018) has been a tireless contributor to Toronto’s music community as a conductor, educator, adjudicator and collaborative pianist. Elaine’s many roles include co-conductor of the University of Toronto Women's Chorus, Director of Music at Timothy Eaton Memorial Church and conductor of the Toronto’s Chinese Orchestra. A four-time recipient of the Elmer Iseler Fellowship in Choral Conducting and a finalist for the Sir Ernest MacMillan Foundation Fellowship Award in Choral Conducting in 2010, Elaine was delighted last year to be elected President of Choirs Ontario, an organization established in 1971 to promote, support and celebrate choral music across the province.

Elaine completed all of her post-secondary studies at the University of Toronto, earning her undergraduate degree in music education, and graduate degrees in choral performance and choral conducting. Dr. Hilary Apfelstadt, Elaine’s doctoral supervisor, comments: "Elaine completed her DMA in four years while working full-time at a large Toronto church, and her research on teaching Mandarin lyric diction to non-native speakers is ground-breaking. U of T can be very proud to claim her as our graduate."

If you’ve attended a U of T Opera production in the past three seasons, chances are you’ve been impressed with this year’s Tecumseh Sherman Rogers Graduating Award winner. During his time at the Faculty, Joel Allison (Master of Music in Opera Performance 2018) has had memorable roles in all of U of T Opera’s main stage productions, including the title role in 2017’s Imeneo, directed by Tim Albery. Joel’s many performances across Canada include appearances with the National Arts Centre Orchestra, Saskatoon Opera, National Academy Orchestra, Theatre of Early Music, Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Chamber Choir, and the McGill Chamber Orchestra. 

A multiple-award winner, including the Richard Bradshaw Fellowship in Opera and the Norcop Prize in Art Song, Joel won Second Prize at the 2017 Canadian Opera Company Centre Stage Competition earning him a spot with the 2018-19 COC Ensemble Studio. Joel’s COC debut will include roles in Eugene Onegin, the world premiere of Rufus Wainwright’s Hadrian and La Bohème. Joel is currently in England preparing for his debut at the Tilford Bach Festival and recording with Daniel Taylor, professor and Head of Early Music at the University of Toronto Faculty of Music.

Saxophonist, composer and educator Daniel Oore (Doctor of Musical Arts in Jazz Performance 2018) and violinist Julia Mirzoev (Bachelor of Music in Violin Performance 2018) will also receive graduating awards. Dani is currently touring Europe performing music and acting, and is grateful for this “extremely encouraging honour that will definitely facilitate upcoming plans.” Julia studied with TSO Concertmaster and professor Jonathan Crow and will begin a Master’s Degree in Music at Yale University in the fall. Additionally, as one of this year’s UTSO Concerto Competition winners, Julia will return to the MacMillan Theatre stage in December 2018 as a featured soloist.

“U of T Music is fortunate to have two very distinguished recognitions of excellence in the form of the Tecumseh Sherman Rogers and the William and Phyllis Waters Graduating Awards. Stewarded by long-time friends of the Faculty, John Lawson and Bill Waters, the scholarships selection committee is deeply impressed every year by the extraordinary quality of our undergraduate and graduate applicants, who use the awards to support projects critical to the next stages of their professional careers. The two main awards go to graduating students who are deemed to have the greatest potential to make an important contribution to the field of Music, and past awardees include some of our most distinguished alumni. We are very grateful for these awards and are proud of the current success and future potential of our many fine graduates.” – Don McLean, Dean and Professor, Faculty of Music

Congratulations to all the winners and to U of T Music’s Class of 2018!

List of previous recipients:

Tecumseh Sherman Rogers Graduating Award
2017 – Younggun Kim (DMA Piano Performance 2017)
2016 – Emily D’Angelo (BMusPerf Voice 2016)
2015 – Charles Sy (MMus Opera 2015, BMusPerf Voice 2013)
2014 – Alexandra Smither (BMusPerf Voice 2014)
2013 – Andrew Haji (MMus Opera 2013, BMusPerf Voice 2011)
2012 – Riho Maimets (MMus Composition 2012)
2011 – Leslie Ann Bradley (MMus Voice Performance 2011, OpDip 2002, BMusPerf Voice 2000)
2010 – Lindsay Barrett (OpDip 2010)
2009 – Christopher Ku (MA Music 2009, BMus 2007)
2008 – Lucille Mok (BMus 2008)
2007 – Christopher Donnelly (MMus 2007 Jazz Piano, BMusPerf Jazz Piano 2005)
2006 – Ryan Jackson (BMusPerf Organ 2006)

William and Phyllis Waters Graduating Award
2017 – Matthew Emery (MMus Composition 2017)
2016 – Bianca Chambul (BMusPerf Bassoon 2016)
2015 – Michael Bridge (BMusPerf Accordion 2015)
2014 – David Zucchi (BMusPerf Saxophone 2014)
2013 – Matt Woroshyl (BMusPerf Jazz Saxophone 2013)
2012 – Coco Chen (BMusPerf Violin 2012)
2011 – Laura Silberberg (MMus Composition 2010, BMus 2008)
2010 – Alex Goodman (BMusPerf Jazz Guitar 2010)
2009 – Lauren Sweetman (MA Music Ethnomusicology 2009, BMus 2007)
2008 – Katarzyna Sadej (MMus Voice Performance 2008)
2007 – Stephen Hegedus (MMus Voice Performance 2007, BMusPerf Voice 2005)
2006 – Sarah Nematallah (BMusPerf Violin 2006)

Established in 2005, the William and Phyllis Waters Graduating Award created by Dr. William Waters and the Tecumseh Sherman Rogers Graduating Award created by Dr. John B. Lawson are, at $25,000.00 each, the largest awards given by the Faculty of Music. The competitive application process is open to graduating students who are Ontario residents and includes a student submission outlining future plans and how the award will assist with career development, and letters of recommendation from faculty members.

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