Overview and prizes
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.
Following a rigorous selection process and competition, the Golden Violin Award is presented each year to an outstanding string player currently enrolled in the Schulich School of Music. The winner receives a generous scholarship, valued this year at $30,000, as well as a smaller likeness of the violin in the form of a 14-karat gold lapel pin. In addition, the winner may be invited to play in a recital at McGill or at one of it’s partner institutions.
Past winners of the Golden Violin are among the most successful young performing artists in Canada and have become noteworthy ambassadors for the Schulich School of Music. They include: Byungchan Lee, Emmanuel Vukovitch, Lambert Chen, Chloé Dominguez, Aaron Schwebel, Ewald Cheung, Isaac Chalk, Baptiste Rodrigues, Victor Fournelle-Blain, Joshua Peters, Joshua Morris, Maïthéna Girault, Elie Boissinot and Aaron Chan.
2020-2021 competition dates
- Preliminary Round: Applications due by Wednesday, March 31, 2021 at 5:00 p.m.
- Semi-Final Round: Saturday, May 15, 2021 at 7:00 p.m. (Webcast from Pollack Hall)
- Final Round: Sunday, May 16, 2021 at 7:00 p.m. (Webcast from Pollack Hall)
Information for applicants
Students must be currently enrolled full-time, in satisfactory academic standing, advancing normally through their program, and actively involved in many Schulich School of Music activities in the year of their application. Students in their first year of studies at McGill are not normally considered eligible. Previous winners of the Golden Violin are not eligible.
All eligible string players (violin, viola, cello, and bass) may apply by submitting an unedited, video recording and a brief CV. The CV should detail the candidate’s musical accomplishments since beginning their studies at McGill, their contributions to the Schulich School of Music and McGill communities, and a short bio for the program.
The video recording and CV must be submitted by 5:00 p.m. Wednesday, March 31st, 2021. Please send an email message with a shareable OneDrive link to download your video along with your CV, to the competition Chair, Prof. Douglas McNabney (douglas.mcnabney [at] mcgill.ca).
A preliminary round jury formed of Schulich School of Music String Area faculty will assess the recording and CV, taking into account the artistic merit, quality, and quantity of the candidate's performances and the candidate’s academic record. The jury places particular emphasis upon the candidate's contribution to the Schulich School of Music and the larger McGill communities over several semesters.
Two Public Competition Rounds
Between 5 and 7 candidates will be forwarded to a Semi-Final Round to be held on Saturday, May 15th, 2021 at 7:00 p.m. in Pollack Hall.
3 candidates from the semi-final round will be forwarded to the Final Round to be held the following day, Sunday, May 16th, 2021 at 7:00 p.m. in Pollack Hall.
The jury includes external Guest Jurors and Professors of the Schulich School of Music (excluding teachers of candidates). Decisions of the jury are final.
Preliminary Round: Candidates submit an unedited video recording of 30 minutes of repertoire of their choice that must include 10 to 15 minutes of solo unaccompanied repertoire. Concerto movements are acceptable.
Semi-Final Round: Candidates should present a varied program of 30 minutes of music of their choice that must include some repertoire from the Classical period.
Final Round: Candidates should present a program of 40 minutes of music of their choice, excluding repertoire presented at the Semi-Final round.
- Performances in the video recording must be unedited but several recordings may be assembled into the one recording to be submitted. Piano accompaniment is required for repertoire that is not for solo instrument.
- In the interest of encouraging stylistic variety, single movements from larger works are acceptable.
- Repertoire from the first round may be repeated in the semi-final or final round.
- Concertos are acceptable in first round only (must be memorized, with piano accompaniment).
- As long as there is no repeat of the repertoire from semi-final to final round, different movements of the same piece are acceptable in the semi-final and final rounds.
Due to the exceptional circumstances of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, these rules may be subject to change. Ensuring the safety of our community and the continued progress of our students through their program remains our priority. Performances will not be open to the public but both Semi-Final and Final rounds will be webcast live from Pollack Hall.