The Eckhardt-Gramatté National Music Competition is an annual event focusing on the exceptional performance of contemporary music by Canada’s top emerging artists. Created as a tribute to composer and pianist/violinist Sonia Eckhardt-Gramatté, the competition highlights Canadian music. Held annually at the Brandon University School of Music on the first weekend in May, it alternates between Voice (2014), Strings (2015), and Piano (2016).
Winner Sarah Kirsch
Sarah Jo Kirsch
is a soprano/vocalist currently based in Winnipeg, Canada. She continues to make waves as a soloist with local ensembles – large and small – and maintains a continuing presence at the WSO New Music Festival, Cluster New Music + Integrated Arts Festival, and Groundswell, Winnipeg’s new music concert series. Sarah surfs the gamut of musical evolution seeking the most harmonious alloys forged from text and music. More than anything, she aspires to be a worthy muse and an evocative interpreter.
In spring of 2014, Sarah was honoured to be awarded 2nd place in the WMC McLellan Competition and 1st place in the Eckhardt-Gramatté National Music Competition. Outside of Manitoba this season, Sarah embarks on a cross-Canada tour with Winnipeg pianist Maddy Hildebrand this fall, and premieres Michael Matthews’ new song cycle ‘Solo queda el desierto’ with L’Orchestre de Chambre de Montréal and performs Mozart’s Große Messe in c-moll at the American University of Beirut and Ligeti’s Mysteries of the Macabre and Berberian’s Stripsody with Calgary’s Land’s end ensemble in spring.
Pianist Madeline Hildebrand
’s love for piano music has directed her path from the age of six, culminating in a Master of Piano Performance from the University of British Columbia under the tutelage of distinguished Canadian artist, Jane Coop. The opportunities afforded before and since have been numerous and exhilarating, including the prestigious Doris McLellan first prize in live solo performance with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra and a recent silver medal finish in the 2013 E-gré National Piano competition
Maddy’s performances have taken her to Vancouver and Howe Sound, to premieres for Manitoba’s Cluster festival, collaborations with veteran composers Michael Matthews and Randolph Peters, numerous house concerts and most recently, Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra.
Madeline is presently on the piano faculty at Canadian Mennonite University. Upcoming engagements include a faculty position with the Rosamunde Chamber Music Festival, Randolph Peters’ The Adventures of Piano Woman with the Thunder Bay Symphony and a return to the WSO Soundbytes Series next season.