Auditions for the Canada Council for the Arts Musical Instrument Bank took place in Toronto from July 30 to August 5.
The auditions give classical music performers from Canada the opportunity to borrow one of the Musical Instrument Bank’s precious instruments for three years.
At this year’s competition, 23 violins and cellos made between the late 17th century and the early 20th century by famous luthiers like Stradivari, Gagliano and Pressenda were available. Before obtaining an instrument, the musicians took part in a rigorous assessment process.
The musicians who wished to borrow an instrument first submitted an application describing their achievements and the influence the loan might have on their progress as artists. From the applications it received, the Canada Council invited 32 musicians to take part in auditions.
The first two days were dedicated to auditions for finalist cellists. Each finalist had the opportunity to play two pieces for an assessment committee made up of experienced classical music performers and answered questions on their ambitions, future projects and goals.
At the end of the second day, the peer assessment committee deliberated and decided which cellists would have the honour of choosing one of the Bank’s instruments. The selected cellists were:
- Bryan Cheng
- Cameron Crozman
- Daniel Hass
- Christopher Hwang
- Leland Ko
- Andrea Stewart
The following four days were dedicated to auditions for finalist violinists, which followed the same principles as the cellist auditions.
After deliberations, at the end of the sixth day, the peer assessment committee decided which violinists would have the opportunity to borrow an instrument from the Bank. The selected violinists were:
- Eva Aronian
- David Baik
- Daniel Dastoor
- Vivian Kukiel
- Alice Lee
- Shannon Lee
- Gregory Lewis
- Emma Meinrenken
- Julia Mirzoev
- Astrid Nakamura
- Kumiko Sakamoto
- Yu Kai Sun
- Lucy Wang
- Christopher Whitley
- Tiffany Yeung
The seventh day—the last day of audition week—was undoubtedly the most awaited. This is when the selected cellists and violinists were allowed to choose an instrument to play on for three years that would help them reach new heights in their careers. Each performer was given some time to select a Bank instrument, according to an order of priority determined by the peer assessment committee.
Further to signing a legal agreement and participating in a training session on instrument maintenance, the happy winners left with their new instruments, which they could then enjoy performing with in concert.
To follow the progress of the 2023 cohort on social media, use the hashtag #InstrumentBank.