2017-2018 Golden Violin Competition Finalists

Carmen Bruno, cello

Why did you chose to study at the Schulich School of Music?

I chose the Schulich School of Music mainly to study with my current teacher, Matt Haimovitz, but also to be a bit closer to home after having lived abroad for many years.

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Where do you call home?

My first home is Ottawa, ON. But I lived in Amsterdam for many years, and I have Dutch nationality, so that feels like home too.

Other than on stage or in the practice room, where might one find you?

Working at Wilder & Davis, or volunteering at the Peer Support Center at McGill.

What is one unexpected talent or pastime that you have?

I bake a lot of cakes, muffins, cookies, etc.

What would it mean to you to be named the winner of the Golden Violin Competition?

When I was in high school, I used to visit the Schulich School of Music quite frequently because my sister was a student here at the time. So I've known, and have held the school in high regard for many years. So it would be such an honour for me to be acknowledged by the Schulich School of Music in this way. And I'm sure it would make my sister very happy too!

Who are you studying with and who will be your accompanist?

I study with Matt Haimovitz, and I will be playing with Magdalena von Eccher.


Maïthéna Girault, violin (winner)

Golden Violin 2017 - finalist Maïthena Girault

Why did you choose to study at the Schulich School of Music?

I really wanted to study with my first teacher at McGill, Andrew Wan.

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Where do you call home?

Montréal, évidemment!

Other than on stage or in the practice room, where might one find you?

Having ramen at Misoya with my boyfriend: that restaurant has become a favorite of ours! 

What is one unexpected talent or pastime that you have?

Learning German! I find language a huge part and symptom of one's culture, which very often transpires into a people's music. Since so many celebrated composers were German and Austrian, learning about their world, rhythm of speech and thought felt very attractive to me. 

What would it mean to you to be named the winner of the Golden Violin Competition?

It would validate that all the help, time and effort that my family and teachers have given me was put to good use. With this prize, I would be able to reach more audiences and make a bigger difference in the different communities that I encounter. 

Who are you studying with and who will be your accompanist?

I am currently studying with Prof. Axel Strauss and am playing with the lovely Meagan Milatz.


Marina Thibeault, viola

Golden Violin 2017 finalist Marina Thibeault

Why did you choose to study at the Schulich School of Music?

I was first drawn to the Schulich School of Music to study with Prof. André Roy for my Master's Degree. I enjoyed the community so much and felt so stimulated academically, that I decided to also pursue my doctoral studies at this prestigious university.

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Where do you call home?

Charlevoix, QC.

Other than on stage or in the practice room, where might one find you?

Spending time with my 5 months old baby, Lucien.

What is one unexpected talent or pastime you have?


I am a certified Hatha Yoga Teacher. This comes in handy to release tension from playing viola and cope mentally with the highly challenging life of a being a musician.

What would it mean to you to be named the winner of the Golden Violin Competition?


Beyond the recognition from such an outstanding establishment, this prize would help to support my career plan as a soloist, while representing the Schulich School of Music on the international scene. It would be an honour for me to join the family of the Golden Violin winners!

Who are you studying with and who will be your accompanist OR "collaborative pianist"?

Prof. André Roy has been my teacher since 2014 and has been giving me very insightful guidance early in my career. I am very happy to collaborate with pianist Marie-Ève Scarfone for this competition and many more projects to come, including my second album under the ATMA Classique label!