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Alumnus Blake Pouliot Wins OSM Manulife Competition

Blake Pouliot (second from right - photo by Antoine Saito)

Twenty-two-year old violinist and alumnus Blake Pouliot won the Grand Prize at the 2016 OSM Manulife Competition, held in Montreal from November 22–26. Blake’s prizes included $17,500 in awards and grants as well as a series of concert engagements in communities across North America.

Following the announcement, Blake tweeted that he was “at a loss for words,” and unable to fully express the honour of being named the competition’s Grand Prize winner.

Blake is an alumnus of The Phil and Eli Taylor Performance Academy for Young Artists, The Royal Conservatory of Music’s internationally acclaimed training program for young classical musicians. While at The Taylor Academy, he studied with Erika Raum and Marie Bérard. He is also a graduate of The Royal Conservatory Certificate Program, our celebrated system of music study and assessment.

The Toronto native has performed with leading conductors across North America, including Sir Neville Marriner of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. In 2015, he was named the winner of the Canada Council for the Arts’ Musical Bank Competition. In addition to being an accomplished performer, Blake is also an actor and award-winning composer.

“Blake is one of Canada’s most remarkable young musicians so it is gratifying to see him recognized by one of this country’s leading classical music competitions,” says Barry Shiffman, Director of The Taylor Academy. “It has been wonderful to watch him develop from a talented performer into a dynamic young artist.”

Students and Alumni Sweep All Categories

Students and alumni of The Royal Conservatory won the top prize in all three competition categories. Blake Pouliot won the senior strings division – for performers aged 18 to 25 – in addition to the Grand Prize. Fellow violinist Alice Lee won the junior strings division, while Rashaan Allwood took the top prize in the organ category.

The OSM Manulife Competition is Canada’s most prestigious competition for young classical musicians. Past prizewinners include violinist James Ehnes, as well as pianists and Royal Conservatory alumni Angela Hewitt and Jan Lisiecki.

A String of Successes for Students and Alumni

The achievements of our students and alumni at the OSM Manulife Competition represent the latest in a string of impressive accomplishments. 

Leslie Ashworth, a scholarship student of our Glenn Gould School and an alumna of The Taylor Academy, recently won a coveted spot in the prestigious New York String Orchestra Seminar. The program brings more than 60 young musicians to New York, and culminates in two performances in Carnegie Hall on December 24 and 28. Leslie was one of only ten violists to secure a position, from hundreds who auditioned from across North America. She is taught by Paul Kantor and Barry Shiffman.

Taylor Academy piano student Kyoko Kohno won the third prize at The International Piano Competition for Young Musicians 2016, held in the Netherlands from October 21–28. Held every two years, it is one of the most recognized international competitions in Europe for musicians aged 10–20. Kyoko is a scholarship student of The Taylor Academy in the studio of David Louie.

Taylor Academy applications for 2017-18 open in December. Entrance requirements and audition information are available at rcmusic.ca/academy.

The Glenn Gould School is accepting applications for 2017-18 until December 15. For more information, visit ggs.rcmusic.ca/admissions.

Support the students of The Glenn Gould School through The Dean’s Fund—Tom Logan is once again generously matching gifts made to up to a maximum of $100,000.

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Violinist and alumnus Blake Pouliot won the Grand Prize at the 2016 OSM Manulife Competition, held in Montreal from November 22–26.