The Golden Violin Award

Golden Violin displayed as musician plays in background

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 $25,000, as well as a smaller likeness of the violin in the form of a 14-karat gold lapel pin. As part of the Golden Violin Award, the 2019-2020 winner will perform at the Chapelle Historique du Bon-Pasteur on February 9, 2020.

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 and Elie Boissinot..

2019-2020 competition dates

  • Preliminary Round: TBD
  • Semi-Final Round: Thursday November 14th, 2019 at 7:00 p.m. (Pollack Hall, open to the public)
  • Final Round: November 15, 2019 at 7:00 p.m. (Pollack Hall, open to the public)
     

Information for applicants

Eligibility

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.

Application Procedure

First Round

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 5pm Thursday October 17th. Please send an email message with a shareable link to download your video along with your CV, to the competition Chair,douglas.mcnabney [at] mcgill.ca ( Prof. Douglas McNabney).

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 Thursday November 14th, 2020 at 7pm in Pollack Hall.

3 candidates from the semi-final round will be forwarded to the Final Round to be held the following day, Friday November 15th, 2020 at 7pm in Pollack Hall.

Jury

The jury includes external Guest Jurors, Gwen Hoebig, Concertmaster of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, and Laurence Kayaleh, Professor at Université de Montréal and Professors of the Schulich School of Music (excluding teachers of candidates). Decisions of the jury are final.

Repertoire

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.

General regulations

  • Performances in the video recording must be unedited but several recordings may be assembled into the one recording to be submitted.
  • 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 semifinal to final round, different movements of the same piece are acceptable in the semifinal and final rounds.