2021-2022 Golden Violin Award Winner Announced

Published: 20 December 2021

Congratulations to violinist Julia Mirzoev, winner of the 2021-2022 Golden Violin Award

The award includes a $30,000 cash prize, as well as a smaller likeness of the violin in the form of a 14-karat gold lapel pin. In addition, the winner will perform in the upcoming Schulich concert season and receives 6 hours of career coaching sessions with Marie-Catherine Lapointe of Boulevart Artists’ Management in Montreal. 

This year’s edition sees additional prize offerings by the Schulich Foundation: Astrid Nakamura placed second, receiving $15,000 and Sam Parrini came in third, receiving $5,000. Bravo to all three talented musicians! 

The Golden Violin Award final took place on Sunday, December 19, 2021 at Pollack Hall and welcomed a reduced in-person audience as well as online spectators via webcast. It was an afternoon of outstanding music performed by three tremendous Schulich string players: violinist Sam Parrini with pianist Felix Hong; violinist Julia Mirzoev with pianist Meagan Milatz; and violinist Astrid Nakamura with pianist Wei-Tang Huang. The finalists played with deft skill and musicality making for an engaging final round. 

Jury chair Matt Haimovitz shares, "The five-member jury for the Semifinal and Final rounds, as well as all of my String Area colleagues who adjudicated the preliminary round, were deeply impressed with the depth of talent in this year’s Golden Violin Award. Beyond the world-class level of the playing and artistry, it is very exciting to see our students embrace a new, more open perspective on repertoire choices.” He continues, “The outstanding three finalists performed inclusive and diverse programs featuring composers of a broad range of genders and backgrounds. From the beginning of the Golden Violin Award, we have always sought out individuals who have made a contribution to the McGill community. The commitment to broadening the repertoire is very much a vital part of that spirit. As you heard this afternoon, these individuals are developing their own voice against all of the odds of our challenging times.” 

For the final, candidates presented a program of 40 minutes of music of their choice, excluding repertoire presented at the semifinal round, as required by the competition. 

2021-2022 Golden Violin Award-winner Julia Mirzoev studies with Andrew Wan and is pursuing her Graduate Artist Diploma. For the final she played works by Saint-Saëns, Szymanowski, and Kapustin. It was a programme full of works close to her heart with pieces featuring a strong emphasis on the equality between both violin and piano. Says Julia, “As I've grown older, I've learned to increasingly appreciate the art of collaboration in music as a pillar of making musical decisions. Whether it's the starting point of studying a score, or being inspired by my collaborators' musical ideas, there is so much to be learned outside of my own part.” When asked what being named the winner would allow her to do, Julia responded, “The immense honour of winning the Golden Violin Award would enable me to comfortably continue pursuing my goals next year as an emerging professional. As I will most likely be out of school for the first time (how scary!), having an extra cushion of financial support would enable me to more easily apply for travel residencies, fund applications and travel expenses for a more diverse number of competitions and festivals, book recording sessions, and fund private lessons.” We look forward to hearing more from this remarkable young musician as she takes the next steps in her musical career.  

The jury for the Golden Violin Award comprises both Schulich String Area members and colleagues from outside of McGill. This year’s Schulich faculty members are violinist and associate concertmaster of the Orchestre Metropolitain, Marcelle Mallette, Assistant Professor of Violin and concertmaster of the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal Richard Roberts. Schulich viola instructor and Associate Principal Viola of the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal Victor Fournelle-Blain joins the jury for the final round. Violinist Guillaume Sutre of the Trio Wanderer, the Ysaÿe Quartet, and current invited professor at l’Université de Montréal was part of the semifinal panel. The other invited guests are cellist Fred Sherry who is a member of the cello faculty at The Juilliard School, The Mannes School of Music and The Manhattan School of Music and violinist Mayumi Seiler, founding member of Via Salzburg and on faculty at The Glenn Gould School in Toronto. The jury is chaired by Associate Professor of Cello at the Schulich School of Music Matt Haimovitz. Due to current health circumstances, two jury members adjudicated virtually.   

The Golden Violin Award was established in 2006 by businessman and philanthropist Seymour Schulich, a year after he donated $20 million to McGill’s Schulich School of Music. Made of pewter and gold plate, the Golden Violin remains on permanent display in McGill’s Marvin Duchow Music Library. 

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