McGill viola player goes for gold


Seymour Schulich’s annual scholarship dubbed 'the Stanley Cup of classical music'

When McGill University patron Seymour Schulich decided to offer a unique golden violin as a scholarship prize to promising McGill string players, he hoped the award would be seen as 'the Stanley Cup of classical music.'

The Toronto businessman got his wish, and McGill viola player and doctoral student Lambert Chen happily accepted the prize, in a ceremony January 28 in Toronto’s hallowed Hockey Hall of Fame. The Golden Violin, a full-size, Swiss-made replica made of pewter and gold plate, was presented onstage alongside none other than Lord Stanley’s Cup itself.

The 27-year-old Chen, a native of Taiwan, is completing his doctorate in music performance and plays with the Godonov Quartet. He is the second recipient of the Golden Violin award, which includes an annual scholarship of $20,000.

The 2006 recipient, violin player Emmanuel Vukovich, led the Schulich Chamber Players in a performance of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons at this year’s award ceremony.

The Golden Violin Award is given annually to a top McGill string player who is close to completing studies and poised for a successful performing career. While the violin itself remains on display in McGill’s Marvin Duchow Music Library, the award includes an annual scholarship of $20,000, the largest privately funded music scholarship in Canada.

Seymour Schulich is co-founder of Franco-Nevada Mining Corporation and Chairman of Newmont Capital Limited. He is also the author of the recent best-seller: Get Smarter, Life and Business Lessons. He earned an MBA from McGill in 1965.

McGill’s music faculty was renamed the Schulich School of Music in 2005 in recognition of Seymour Schulich’s gift of $20 million.