The SOCAN Foundation has awarded financial prizes, totaling nearly $94,750, to young music creators across Canada.,in three separate competitions. With more than 500 submissions, the competitions were evaluated by juries of esteemed music industry professionals from across the country.

“These awards serve as a celebration of emerging music creators from across the country, supporting the SOCAN Foundation’s mandate to nurture young talent and provide opportunities for their development,” said Charlie Wall-Andrews, Executive Director of the SOCAN Foundation. “We’ve also made a few exciting changes, such as increasing the prize value this year, and expanded our partnership with the National Youth Orchestra of Canada, which will create an extraordinary residency opportunity for some of the award candidates.”

The SOCAN Foundation Awards for Young Canadian Songwriters — created in partnership with Sirius XM Canada Inc. — celebrate emerging and talented songwriters in Canada. A total of $25,000 (five prizes of $5,000) were awarded to Mary Bryton Nahwegahbow (Ontario) for “Clegg Street,” Kate Stevens (Alberta) for “It’s Real,” Braden Lamoureux (Nova Scotia) for “Into The Light,” Christian Hudson (Ontario) for “Four Leaf Clover,” and William Dolan (British Columbia) for “Cadillac.”  

Created in partnership with RBC, the SOCAN Foundation Awards for Audio-Visual Composers recognize Canadian screen composers 30 years of age and younger for original musical themes or scores created exclusively for audio-visual support (TV, film, etc.). A total of $27,000 was awarded to the winners in four categories. The award recipients are:

Best Original Score — Animated
1st: Stephanie Hamelin Tomala, of Quebec, for “Area 51”; 2nd: Alexandro Manzon, of Québec, for “Bottle”; and 3rd: Marc-Antoine Gagnon, of Quebec, for “Destiny.”
Best Original Score — Fiction
1st: Spencer Creagan, of Ontario,for  “The Ballad”; 2nd: Stephanie Hamelin Tomala, of Ontario, for “What’s Within”; and 3rd: Philippe Stebbings, of Quebec, for “Trapped.”
Best Original Score — Non-Fiction
1st: Alexandro Manzon, of Québec, for “Can You See (On Yonder Tree)?”, 2nd: Spencer Creagan, of Ontario, for “Sororis”; and 3rd: Andrew Bennett of Saskatchewan, for “Citizen.”
Best Original Theme (opening or closing)
1st: Stephanie Kowal, of California, for “Year Zero”; 2nd: Lora Bidner, of Ontario, for “Beauty Between the Nothing”; and 3rd: Sahlia Wong, of Ontario, for “Le Léon.”

The SOCAN Foundation Awards for Young Composers recognizes Canadian composers 30 years old and younger for original concert music works in the following five categories: Large Ensemble, Chamber Ensemble, Solo or Duet, Vocal, and Electro-acoustics. A total of $42,750 was awarded to the finalists in the five categories. The John Weinzweig Grand Prize of $3,000 for the best overall work was awarded to Michael Kim-Sheng for his work “(spacebar for title).” The other award recipients are:

The Godfrey Ridout Awards for works of any number of voices with or without instrumentation and/or electro acoustics.
1st: Maria Atallah, of Ontario, for “Mar Maroun”; 2nd: Andrew Noseworthy, of Newfoundland, for “One Stalk, One Arrow, No Stalk, No Arrow”; 3rd: Gavin Fraser, of Nova Scotia, for “Into My Own”; and Young Composer Award: Hoatian Yu, of Ontario, for “ancient lament.”

The Hugh Le Caine Awards for live or recorded electro-acoustics, where the intended performance is, at least in part, through loudspeakers. Works in this category may be multi-media and may include acoustic instrument(s) or voice(s), live or recorded. The principal element in the work must be electro-acoustic.
1st: Michael Kim-Sheng, of Quebec, for “(spacebar for title)”; 2nd:Xavier Ménard, of Quebec, for “Chasses Inouïes; 3rd: Matthew Horrigan, of British Columbia, for “taste / oh yeah I guess.”

The Pierre Mercure Awards for solo or duet compositions, with or without voices and/or electro-acoustics.
1st: Maxwell Lucas, of Ontario, for “Ovum/Azoth”; 2nd: Brandon Chow, of British Columbia, for “Regnvejr I Skoven”; 3rd: Brian Topp, of British Columbia, for “Ljós for Soprano, Sax and Live-Electronics”; and Young Composer Award: Hoatian Yu, of Ontario, for “fragments of bach.”

The Serge Garant Awards for compositions for a minimum of three performers to a maximum of 12 performers, with or without voice and/or electro-acoustics.
1st: Hoatian Yu, of Ontario, for “Ritual I”; 2nd: Alison Yun-Fei Jiang, of Ontario, for “On Light and Birds”; 3rd: Luke Nickel, of Manitoba, for “String Quartet #1”; and Young Composer Award: Adam Zolty, of British Columbia, for “Three Expressions for Piano Septet.”

The Sir Ernest MacMillan for compositions for no fewer than 13 performers up to full symphony orchestra, which may include vocal participation and may be scored to include electro-acoustics.
1st: Charles-Philipe Tremblay-Bégin, of Quebec, for “Utopia or Oblivion”; 2nd: Hunter Coblentz, for “Cello and Orchestra;” 3rd:  Philippe Macnab-Seguin, of Quebec, for “Seizing to be Ceased”; and Young Composer Award: David Ko, of British Columbia, for “Let’s Talk About Heritage.”

In a new partnership with the National Youth Orchestra of Canada, they will be welcoming the works of William Kuo, of British Columbia for “Noli me Tangere,” Jared Miller  for “Luster,” and Stephanie Orlando for “Phases of the Moon.” They will have an opportunity to hear their pieces come to life as played by the NYO Canada, and one artist will have a residency opportunity.

More details about the winners can be found on the SOCAN Foundation website. Applications to the 2019 Awards will be announced on the SOCAN Foundation website in Winter 2019.


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In an exclusive video interview with Jeremy Fisher, he talks about how playing with his daughter Elsie led to his current children’s album, Highway to Spell, and how his former publishing deal increased the presence of his songs in the marketplace.


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Renée Martel will launch the 51st edition of the Festival Western de St-Tite by inducting her father Marcel Martel’s song “Un coin du ciel” into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame (CSHF), honouring one of the greatest works of this Canadian country music pioneer.

“We’re happy to partner with our friends at Festival Western de St-Tite to honour ‘Un coin du ciel’ and bring this iconic song into the Canadian Songwriter’s Hall of Fame,” says Vanessa Thomas, Executive Director of the CSHF.  “We’re thankful that Renée Martel is here to celebrate her father’s talent with us, and honour his legacy.”

To kick off the festival, Renée Martel will honour the song during her show, Je voulais marier, on Sept. 7, 2018, at the Desjardins Country Club. “La grande dame du country” will sing “Un coin du ciel,” the song that launched her career. “It’s the first song I sang onstage, when I was five years old, and I sang it with my father,” she says. “It’s my favourite song. If Dad were here today, it would be one of the most amazing moments of his life. I accept this with pride, but the honours are his alone, and I’m proud to be his daughter.”

Written and recorded in 1952, the country ballad “Un coin du ciel” kicked off a long family tradition. Several versions of the song became hits, notably the 1981 version on Renée Martel’s album Un coin du ciel and, more recently, the 2013 version sung by Renée and her mother, Noëlla Therrien.

The CSHF selected this song from Marcel Martel’s repertoire of more than 500 songs and 40-plus albums. Martel wrote “Un coin du ciel” shortly after leaving the sanatorium where he was being treated for tuberculosis. The original recording of this universal love song was very simple, and true to the purest country-and-western tradition.

One of the reasons the song was chosen is the impact that it’s had on other artists. Marcel Martel’s timeless classic has influenced many generations of Québec artists, including Patrick Norman, Paul Daraîche, and Isabelle Boulay – who, as a child, loved to hear the song on the radio. Contemporary country singer-songwriter René Turgeon says he’s one of the song’s biggest fans: “This music comes from the heart, it’s real, and it’s about actual feelings we carry inside us,” he says. “It’s deeply touching, profound music.”

Benoît Montreuil, who presides over the organizing committee of the 51st edition of the Festival Western de St-Tite, is proud to offer such a historic moment to his audience:  “I was thrilled when I heard the Hall of Fame and Renée had chosen our festival to host this unique moment,” he says. “Marcel Martel and Renée are two artists that are integral to our history, and they’re always welcome at our event. Everyone in the organization is thrilled that this induction will take place in a setting that’s so symbolic to their careers.”


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