Lubka Kolessa Piano Scholarship

Photo of Lubka KolessaThe Lubka Kolessa Piano Award was established in 2003 by friends and former students of Lubka Kolessa, internationally renowned concert pianist of Ukrainian heritage and McGill Faculty of Music professor from 1960-1971.

The award was transformed into a scholarship in 2014 with a generous lead donation by McGill University graduates: pianists Luba Zuk and Ireneus Zuk and their architect brother, Radoslav Zuk, in honour of their mentor, Lubka Kolessa.

The Lubka Kolessa Piano Scholarship is awarded by the Schulich School of Music Scholarships Committee to an outstanding piano student entering his/her senior year of study.

Recent Recipients:

  • 2018-2019 Spencer Klymyshyn
  • 2017-2018 Jason Dan
  • 2016-2017 Jeremy Ho
  • 2015-2016 Felix Yao-An Hong
  • 2014-2015  Szu-Hsuan Wu 
  • 2013-2014  Clara Lu
  • 2012-2013  Miles Cameron
  • 2011-2012  Maya Rand
  • 2010-2011  Helen Kashap
  • 2009-2010  Nan Gan

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About Lubka Kolessa

Photo of a Lubka Kolessa CD album cover.Lubka Kolessa (1902-1997) began her distinguished career as a pre-eminent performing artist in Europe, and her legacy as a pedagogue has helped shape the landscape of piano performance in Canada. Having graduated from the Vienna State Academy just after World War I, she appeared with major orchestras, led by famous conductors, among them Böhm, Furtwängler, von Karajan, Kleiber, Mengelberg, Walter, and Weingartner. In her last pre-war concert season, she played 178 engagements. During World War II, Kolessa relocated to Canada, and continued her career performing also in North America, including numerous performances for CBC, several recitals at Carnegie Hall and performances with orchestras including the New York Philharmonic and the Toronto Symphony. After 1954, Kolessa devoted herself to teaching at several institutions in Montreal, New York, Ottawa and Toronto, including a 12-year tenure at McGill University.

The great conductor, Bruno Walter, considered her “one of the most superb pianists of our time.” The commentaries and headlines in the international press were equally enthusiastic: “…powerful pianistic personality, consummate technique, natural temperament of prodigal dimensions and ingenious sense of form…,” Neue Berner Zeitung, Switzerland; “Kolessa at Carnegie, Where She Belongs,” New York World Telegram; “Doubtless Triumph,“ La Prensa, Buenos Aires.

Born in Lviv, Galicia (present-day Ukraine), she grew up in a prominent family of scholars and musicians, which included the composer and conductor, Mykola Kolessa, and ethnomusicologist, Filaret Kolessa. Her lineage as a pianist can be traced directly to Chopin (through her grandmother), and to Liszt (through her piano teachers). She successfully passed this tradition on to her many students in Canada, among them André Asselin, Mario Bernardi, Tova Boroditsky, Howard Brown, Carol Birtch, Paul Crawford [BMus ‘71], Patricia Grant Lewis Elliott, Richard Gresko, Yvonne Guiguet-Johnston, John Hawkins [BMus ’67 LMus ’68 DMus ‘70], Millicent McRae Kavanagh, Gordon Kushner, Edward Laufer, Marion MacLennan, John McKay [BMus ‘61], Louis-Philippe Pelletier, Clermont Pépin, Eugene Plawutsky [BMus ‘67], Karen Quinton [BMus ’69 BMus ’73], Pierrette Froment Savoie, Ireneus Zuk [BSc ’63 LMus ’65 BMus ‘68] and Luba Zuk [LMus ‘57]. 

 

Lubka Kolessa plays Brahms Intermezzo opus 117 no.3.  Watch video on YouTube.

 

Lubka Kolessa plays Chopin Mazurka in G-sharp minor, Op.33, No.1.  Watch video on YouTube.

 

Lubka Kolessa plays Beethoven Concerto No.3 in C minor Op. 37.  Watch video on YouTube.