Baptiste Rodrigues

Striking gold – with a violin

When Baptiste Rodrigues plays the violin, people listen, enraptured. This was certainly the case at his Pollack Hall recital, when he performed works by Brahms, Franck and Ravel, among others. The solo showcase celebrated Rodrigues’s achievement as the 2012 recipient of the prestigious Golden Violin, first awarded in 2006 thanks to a gift from Seymour Schulich, BSc’61, MBA’65, DLitt’04.

The Golden Violin recognizes the Schulich School of Music’s top string musician in his or her final year of study. “It’s a great honour to be the person selected to represent the excellence of the school,” says the 25-year-old from Nimes, France, who is the first international student to win the award. In addition to the recital, the Golden Violin comes with a $20,000 prize, which has allowed Rodrigues to create a professional website and to purchase his own violin, crafted by Montreal luthier Denis Cormier.

Seymour Schulich is one of McGill’s greatest benefactors. His past generosity has also included $20 million in 2005 to create scholarships, endow chairs and support the cutting-edge New Music Building. The Golden Violin is the most prominent of the many scholarships and awards established by Schulich and other donors, whose support of Music at McGill has tripled the number of scholarships the School offers to top young students from across Canada and around the world, like Rodrigues.

“I began playing violin when I was four. Music has always been my passion,” he says. Before winning the award, he had lined up a position with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, but his agenda is growing increasingly crowded.

“I’ve been getting lots of offers for recitals next year,” he says. “The Golden Violin has really opened doors. It will make a big difference to my career.”