Sylva Gelber Music Foundation

Sylva Gelber Music Foundation

December 30, 2008 12:06 ET

Violist Lambert Chen, Violinist Nikki Chooi, Percussionist Andrew Dunsmore, and Trumpet Player Adam Zinatelli are the 2008 Winners of the New Sylva Gelber Music Foundation Awards

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Dec. 30, 2008) - At its first competition, the Sylva Gelber Music Foundation has made awards totalling $84,000 to four outstanding young Canadian musicians. Lambert Chen, a viola player from Montreal, Quebec, is studying with eminent viola masters in Europe and the US. Nikki Chooi, a violinist from Victoria, British Columbia is continuing his studies at the Curtis Institute. Andrew Dunsmore, a percussionist from St. John's, Newfoundland is continuing private studies with teachers in Canada and the US, while Adam Zinatelli, a trumpet player from Oakville, Ontario is pursuing his Masters degree at the Cleveland Institute of Music.

The Foundation's awards program, established by the late Sylva Gelber, aims to support young Canadians who are pursuing or about to embark on a professional career in classical music performance. The Foundation accepts applications by referral, drawing from a pool of candidates recommended by prominent conductors, directors and music schools in North America and Europe.

Lambert Chen

A graduate of the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University and the New England Conservatory of Music, Lambert Chen recently finished graduate studies with Andre Roy at McGill University's Schulich School of Music. His former teachers include Richard Roberts, Marylou Speaker Churchill, James Buswell IV, Michele Auclair, and Victor Danchenko.

Mr. Chen has an impressive list of awards and prizes to his credit, including the A. Thomas Award (Peabody Institute) in 2001; the Honors Chamber Ensembles at Colorado College Summer Music Festival and 1st place at the New England Conservatory Commencement Competition in 2003; the Max Stern Music Fellowship (McGill University) in 2005; the Douglas Cox Instrument Scholarship in 2006; 3rd prize and the Banff Centre Prize at the Montreal Symphony Orchestra Standard Life Competition in 2007; and the Golden Violin Award in 2008. In 2008 he received the Lambertois Award from the City of Saint-Lambert and was a finalist in the Primrose International Viola Competition.

His concert experience includes performances as a soloist with I Musici de Montreal, the New England Conservatory Symphony Orchestra, Symphony Pro Musica, the Contemporary Music Ensemble of McGill, and as a chamber player in the Montreal Chamber Music Festival and with Musica Camerata of Montreal. He is the violist with the Schulich String Quartet.

Nikki Chooi

Nikki Chooi is currently studying with Joseph Silverstein and Ida Kavafian at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. Prior to entering Curtis, he studied with Sydney Humphreys at the Victoria Conservatory of Music and with Bill van der Sloot at the Mount Royal Conservatory.

At 19 years of age Mr. Chooi is already the recipient of numerous prizes and awards, including the "Special Prize" at the XIII Tchaikovsky International Violin Competition in Moscow in 2007; first prize at the Montreal Symphony Standard Life Competition in 2004; first prize at the Shean Strings Competition in 2007; first prize at the Morningside Music Bridge Concerto Competition in 2005; and grand prize at the Canadian National Music Festival in 2004. He was also a semi-finalist at the 2006 Montreal International Violin Competition.

In 2004 and 2005 Mr. Chooi attended the National Arts Centre (NAC) Young Artist Program under the direction of Pinchas Zucherman, where he received an award as the Most Promising Young Musician in the program. In January 2008, on the heels of a successful tour of Atlantic Canada as part of Debut Atlantic, he was invited to perform in recital at the NAC in Ottawa. He was also the featured soloist with the NAC Orchestra on its recent tour of Western Canada. He has performed with many other major orchestras, including the Montreal Symphony, the Victoria Symphony, the Calgary Philharmonic, the Victoria Chamber Orchestra, the Victoria Conservatory Orchestra and, most recently, the Edmonton and Winnipeg Symphony Orchestras.

Andrew Dunsmore

Andrew Dunsmore recently received his Master of Music in Percussion Performance from the University of Toronto. As a graduate student he studied percussion with Russell Hartenberger, John Rudolph, Beverley Johnston and Robin Engelman. As an undergraduate, he studied with Don Wherry and Rob Power at Memorial University, where he graduated with honours and received the University Medal for Academic Excellence. Most recently, Mr. Dunsmore has completed his Artist Diploma at the Royal Conservatory of Music under David Kent and John Rudolph, and is currently pursuing private study on a monthly basis with Alan Abel and Don Liuzzi in Philadelphia.

Andrew has been a member of Canada's National Academy Orchestra since 2007, and is also an alumnus of the National Youth Orchestra of Canada. Most recently, he is being considered for the position of Principal Percussion with the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra in Kuala Lumpur. Currently based in Toronto he is engaged by many different orchestras including the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the Kingston Symphony Orchestra, The Oshawa-Durham Symphony Orchestra and the Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra. His chamber music experience includes performing in the Scruncheons Percussion Ensemble, the University of Toronto Percussion Ensemble, The University of Toronto New Music Ensemble, The Navel Gazers Piano Percussion Quartet, and the Glenn Gould School Percussion Ensemble.

A finalist of the Canadian Music Competition and the Montreal Symphony Orchestra Standard Life Competition, Andrew has recently performed two concertos with the Royal Conservatory Orchestra and the Cathedral Bluffs Symphony Orchestra. In addition, he presented a solo recital, Storytelling through Music, at The Royal Conservatory of Music in November 2007. Andrew has performed as a guest soloist with the Brampton Symphony Orchestra, the University of Toronto Percussion Ensemble, the Scruncheons Percussion Ensemble and the Memorial University Concert Band. His solo broadcast credits include CBC's "Up and Coming," hosted by Jon Kimura Parker; his solo recitals are frequently broadcast on CBC's "Musicraft," hosted by Francesca Swann in St. John's, Newfoundland

Mr. Dunsmore is committed to expanding the repertoire for solo percussion and has to date commissioned two new Canadian works by Andrew Staniland and Stephen Hatfield. He looks forward to more opportunities to commission new music.

Adam Zinatelli

Adam Zinatell is a graduate of the Glenn Gould School of The Royal Conservatory of Music where he studied under Andrew McCandless.

In November 2008, Adam competed in the 2008 Montreal Symphony Standard Life Competition; he was awarded the V. E. Lambert Scholarship for Second Prize in the brass category, as well as the Prize for Best Performance of a Canadian Work in the brass category for his performance of "Mars" from Six Themes Solaires by Quebecois composer Denis Gougeon

He has performed with the Royal Conservatory Orchestra, the Canadian Opera Company Orchestra, the National Academy Orchestra of Canada, the Banff Festival Orchestra and as an extra with the Toronto Symphony. Adam recently successfully auditioned for the position of principal trumpet of the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, and is looking forward to playing with them in the New Year.

About the Foundation

Sylva Gelber, a distinguished Canadian and a lover of music and the visual arts, took enormous pleasure during her lifetime in supporting young artists. She set up a foundation in 1973, renaming it the Sylva Gelber Music Foundation in 1980. Until recently, the Foundation's support consisted of an annual award administered by the Canada Council for the Arts. Ms. Gelber's generosity in designating the Foundation as a major beneficiary of her estate led to the decision to create a new and expanded program of awards to be administered directly by the Foundation.

Born in Toronto in 1910, Sylva Gelber served Canada in various capacities, most notably as Director of the Women's Bureau of the Department of Labour and Canadian representative on the UN Commission for the Status of Women (1970-74). An outspoken advocate of women's rights, she helped to introduce equal-pay legislation, maternity leave and women's pension benefits into the Canadian system. She held many international appointments during her lifetime, including that of Canadian delegate to the United Nations General Assembly (1976 and 1978). She was author of No Balm in Gilead, an award-winning memoir that included an account of her 15 years in British-mandate Palestine, and an Officer of the Order of Canada. A true original, Sylva Gelber played a mean 1-inch harmonica, drove snazzy sports cars, and whenever possible wore a red hat and shoes. She died in 2003 at the age of 93.

Contact Information