Magnificent musical performances return to Brandon University (BU) in a new format this weekend.
The final stages of the 2020 Eckhardt-Gramatté National Music Competition in voice will be contested online and will be streamed live on Saturday, Sept. 19 and Sunday, Sept. 20. Held annually since 1976 at the BU School of Music, the E-Gré competition was postponed from its normal April dates this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The finalists of the showcase of contemporary Canadian music are six emerging vocalists from across the country. Performing music by renowned Winnipeg composer Gordon Fitzell, and accompanied by piano, the finalists are vying for cash and prizes, including a national tour for the winner.
“Losing the ability to perform live due to the pandemic has been a significant challenge, but musicians are endlessly resourceful and always find a way to reach an audience,” says Greg Gatien, Dean of Music at BU. “The return of the E-Gré competition is welcome news for those of us who have been missing live music and an inspiration as we work on bringing back more of the amazing programming that the School of Music is known for. I can’t wait to watch the performances this weekend.”
The final recitals will take place each hour on Saturday, from 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., and be streamed live at E-Gre.ca. The awards ceremony will be streamed on Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. CBC Music will broadcast highlights from the E-Gré competition on Saturday, Sept. 26 during Saturday Afternoon at the Opera with Ben Heppner.
Honouring composer, pianist and violinist Sophie-Carmen Eckhardt-Gramatté, who settled in Manitoba for the last 21 years of her life, the E-Gré National Music Competition is rotated on a three-year basis between piano, voice and strings. It has helped to launch the careers of musicians such as Jon Kimura Parker, Ben Heppner, Louise Bessette and Brandonite James Ehnes, all of whom went on to be recognized as Officers of the Order of Canada. Violinist and BU School of Music faculty member Kerry DuWors is also a former winner of the competition. The E-Gré competition has also commissioned more than 40 Canadian compositions to contribute to the national cultural legacy.
“As a competition that has always celebrated emerging performers and music, it is fitting that the E-Gré embraces the future with this new format,” says Artistic Director Megumi Masaki.
“The E-Gré competition is known for the warm welcome performers receive at the School of Music, and this year’s re-visioned competition will open up these memorable performers up to an even wider audience by allowing music lovers to listen from anywhere in the world.”
The E-Gré National Music Competition is supported by the Canada Council for the Arts, Brandon University, the Manitoba Arts Council and the SOCAN Foundation.