Golden Violin 2011-12



Isaac Chalk wins Golden Violin Award
Violist earns elite prize for string musicians at McGill’s Schulich School of Music


Violist Isaac Chalk has been named the 2011-2012 recipient of the Schulich School of Music’s coveted Golden Violin Award.

Chalk becomes the sixth winner of the $20,000 award, the largest of its kind for a music student in Canada.  The Golden Violin is presented annually to an outstanding McGill University string player who is close to completing studies and has demonstrated the potential for a highly successful performing career.

“This is a big honour, and it’s exciting to be selected for it,” said Chalk, who is completing his Bachelor of Music degree this spring, after previously earning a Licentiate in Music and an Artist Diploma at the Schulich School. Chalk, who turns 23 years old this week, said he hopes to pursue his musical training in Europe later this year, and plans to put the $20,000 award toward the purchase of a top-quality viola that he will be able to perform with for many years to come.

Chalk, who also worked extensively as a choral singer and attended La Maîtrise des Petits Chanteurs du Mont-Royal as a youngster, began studying viola with Prof. André Roy while still in high school.

“Isaac is a very, very versatile musician,” Roy said. “He’s been part of just about every ensemble at the Schulich School,” from baroque to modern. “He was a driving force behind the Roddick String Quartet” when it represented Canada at the London International String Quartet Competition in 2009. “He has also taken very seriously his role as a mentor to younger musicians.””

Chalk’s father, a neurologist in McGill’s Faculty of Medicine and an avid amateur oboist, encouraged his four children to take up musical instruments at an early age. “Mom took us to our lessons,” Chalk recalls. “She was sort of the hockey mom of the violin.”

Isaac Chalk will perform in a special recital on Tuesday, March 13, at 7:30 p.m. in Tanna Schulich Hall to mark the Golden Violin Award. Admission is free.

The Award was provided in 2006 by businessman and philanthropist Seymour Schulich, a year after he donated $20 million to McGill’s School of Music.

The Golden Violin, made of pewter and gold plate, remains on permanent display in McGill's Marvin Duchow Music Library. Its recipients, chosen by the McGill scholarships committee, receive a smaller likeness in the form of a 14-karat gold lapel pin. The five previous winners are violinist Emmanuel Vukovich, violist Lambert Chen, cellist Chloé Dominguez, violinist Aaron Schwebel and violinist Ewald Cheung.

About The Schulich School of Music

Founded in 1904, the Schulich School of Music of McGill University embodies the highest international standards of excellence in professional training and research.  The School is known for its programs in orchestra, opera, jazz, early music and contemporary music. Its status as a leader in sound recording and music technology provides unique possibilities for collaboration with the larger musical community.  Recognized today as one of the major music schools in North America, Schulich has more than 850 students, from Quebec, Canada and abroad. They are drawn by the reputation of Schulich’s 240 professors, its annual slate of some 700 concerts and events, and its programs in research and technology.

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