Ontario Arts Council

Ontario Arts Council

November 29, 2006 07:51 ET

Guelph and Hamilton Choir Conductors Share Leslie Bell Prize

Attention: Arts/Entertainment Editor, Assignment Editor, Books Editor, Education Editor, News Editor TORONTO/ONTARIO/RELEASE/PRIZES--(CCNMatthews - Nov. 29, 2006) - Linda Beaupré and Zimfira Poloz will share the Ontario Arts Council's (OAC) $8,000 Leslie Bell Prize for choral conducting. Linda Beaupré is the Artistic Director of the Guelph Youth Singers and the Bach Children's Chorus of Scarborough. Zimfira Poloz is the Artistic Director for two children's choirs, the Hamilton Children's Chorus and Toronto's High Park Choirs. The Leslie Bell Prize for choral conducting is given every two years to an emerging or mid-career professional conductor, who has begun to make an impact in this field. Candidates must work in a professional capacity as a choral conductor with a professional, semi-professional and/or community choir.

Winners were selected by a three-member jury consisting of Jean Ashworth Bartle, Artistic Director of the Toronto Children's Chorus, Noel Edison, Artistic Director of the Elora Festival Singers and the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir and Lydia Adams, Artistic Director of the Elmer Iseler Singers and Amadeus Choir of Greater Toronto.

Jurors praised Linda Beaupré's excellent conducting skills, extraordinary commitment to youth, cultural diversity and Canadian repertoire. They also commented on her desire to develop skills with techniques from diverse cultural practices. An experienced music educator, she taught school music and conducted school choirs in Australia and Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. For many years she was a professional choral singer with the Elmer Iseler Singers and the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir.

Zimfira Poloz's musicianship and skills received unanimous praise from the jurors. Drawing from training received in her native Kazakhstan and in Russia as well as her experience as a juror in Europe and Asia, Poloz has emerged as a new talent in Ontario's choral community. Jurors were impressed by Poloz's choral technique. Her "phonopaedic" method is a system that includes voice development, coordination and training.

The jurors also awarded two honourable mentions of $1,000 each to Toronto choir conductors, Isabel Bernaus of The Jubilate Singers and Marie-Claire Gervasoni, of the Elementary and Junior Choirs of St. Michael's Choir School.

Established at the Ontario Arts Council in 1973 as a tribute to the distinguished choral conductor and educator, Leslie Bell, the prize was administered for several years by Choirs Ontario and was awarded every two years until 2002. In 2004, it was postponed while OAC undertook a review of the selection and adjudication process. Today's announcement marks the first time the award is being presented under the new selection process. Every two years, a new panel of experts will be invited to nominate a minimum of five candidates each from which a winner or winners will be selected. Administered by OAC, the prize is financed by income from the Leslie Bell Scholarship Fund and is matched by a contribution from OAC.
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The Ontario Arts Council is an agency of the Government of Ontario.
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Contact Information

  • Kirsten Gunter, Communications Manager, Ontario Arts Council
    Primary Phone: 416-969-7403
    Toll-Free: 800-387-0058
    E-mail: kgunter@arts.on.ca