Montreal International Music Competition/Concours international de musique de Montréal

Montreal International Music Competition/Concours international de musique de Montréal (Concours international de Montréal/Montreal International Competition, 1965-80).

Montreal International Music Competition/Concours international de musique de Montréal

Montreal International Music Competition/Concours international de musique de Montréal (Concours international de Montréal/Montreal International Competition, 1965-80). In 1963 the Institut international de musique du Canada was founded to set up major, regularly recurring international competitions for outstanding young performing musicians, and to affirm the leading position which Montreal and Canada hold in the international cultural community. It was instigated by the businessman and music lover Florent Marcil, the pianist Monique Marcil, the cellist Charles Houdret, and the lawyer Micheline Corbeil. It was incorporated in 1963, and in 1981 obtained supplementary letters patent to change its name to Concours international de musique de Montréal (Montreal International Music Competition). It is administered by a board, the presidents of which have been successively Florent Marcil, Jean-J. Dury, and Mitchell Sharp. As general director, Monique Marcil is also jointly responsible for the artistic direction with Irving Heller. A consulting committee is made up of four members: Charles Dutoit, Maureen Forrester, François Magnan, and François Morel. The first Montreal International Music Competition was held in May-June 1965 and was devoted to the piano; the 1966 competition was for the violin and the 1967 one for voice. Until 1974 the competitions ran on a three-year cycle alternating according to the above order; beginning in 1975, one year of rest followed the third year of the cycle, and the order was changed to violin, piano, and voice. The violin and piano competitions are open to performers 16 to 30 years of age, and the voice competition to those 20 to 35 years of age. Each competition consists of three tests: two preliminary rounds and one final, in which the MSO takes part. Because of its rigorous admission standards, the requirements of the program, the quality of the jury, and the results obtained by the prizewinners in building their careers, the Montreal International Music Competition has become one of the most highly regarded in the world. In 1966 it was accepted as a member of the Geneva-based Fédération mondiale des concours internationaux de musique.

From 1965 to 1989 the Montreal International Music Competition was host to more than 800 participants representing 46 countries. At each competition, an average of 15 countries is represented, and 9 winners share prizes totalling $30,500, first prize being $l5,000. A special prize of $500 is offered to the best interpreter of the unpublished Canadian work commissioned as a set piece ('pièce imposée') in the final test. Composers of set pieces have been Fiala (1965, 1968), Prévost (1966, 1981, 1988), Somers (1967), Vallerand (1969), Papineau-Couture (1970), Pentland (1971), Pépin (1972), Schafer (1973), Morawetz (1975), J. Hétu (1976), Applebaum (1977), Dompierre (1978), Morel (1980), Freedman (1983), Buczynski (1984), Malcolm Forsyth (1985), Glick (1987), and Buhr (1989). The competition is supported by the Canada Council, the MACQ, the Conseil des arts de la Communauté urbaine de Montréal, and several private organizations.


1965 Piano 1st Jean-Claude Pennetier, France, and Albert Lotto, USA

1966 Violin 1st Vladimir Lancman (Landsman), USSR; 2nd Hidetaro Suzuki, Japan, and Gueorgui Balev, Bulgaria

1967 Voice 1st Marina Krilovici, Rumania, and Yury Mazurok, USSR

1968 Piano 1st Garrick Ohlsson, USA; 2nd Peter Rösel, East Germany

1969 Violin 1st Vladimir Spivakov, USSR; 2nd Oleg Krissa, USSR, and Gidon Kremer, USSR

1970 Voice 2nd Maurice Brown, Canada (no 1st awarded)

1971 Piano 2nd Peter Basquin, USA (no 1st awarded)

1972 Violin 1st Ruben Agaronian, USSR; 2nd Mikhaïl Bezverhny, USSR

1973 Voice 1st Gheorgue Emil Crasnaru, Rumania; 2nd Makvala Kasrashvili, USSR

1974 No competition

1975 Violin 2nd Dong-Suk Kang, Korea, and Yuval Yaron, Israel (no 1st awarded)

1976 Piano 1st Eteri Andjaparidze, USSR; 2nd Nicolaï Demidenko, USSR, Naüm Grubert, USSR, and Gerhard Oppitz, West Germany

1977 Voice 2nd William Parker, USA, and Louise Wohlafka, USA (no 1st awarded)

1978 No competition

1979 Violin 1st Peter Zazofsky, USA; 2nd Mihaela Martin, Rumania

1980 Piano 1st Ivo Pogorelic, Yugloslavia; 2nd Christopher O'Riley, USA, and Vladimir Ovchinnikov, USSR

1981 Voice 2nd Judith Nicosia, USA (no 1st awarded)

1982 No competition

1983 Violin 2nd Chin Kim, Korea (no 1st awarded)

1984 Piano 1st Ekaterina Sarantseva, USSR; 2nd Yuri Rozum, USSR

1985 Voice 2nd Sandra Graham, Canada, and Andreas Scheibner, East Germany (no 1st awarded)

1986 No competition

1987 Violin 1st Dmitri Berlinski, USSR; 2nd Catherine Cho, USA, and Alexander Simionescu, USA

1988 Piano 1st Angela Cheng; 2nd Bernd Glemser, West Germany

1989 Voice 2nd Steffanie Pearce, USA, and John Koch, USA (no 1st awarded)

1990 No competition

1991 Violin 2nd Hiroko Suzuki, Japan (no first awarded)

Further Reading

  • Godfrey, Stephen. 'Competitive spirit,' Radio Guide, vol 4, Jun 1984

    Dumesnil, Thérèse. 'Le Concours international de musique de Montréal... vingt ans déjà,' Aria, vol 8, Spring 1985

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