Meet the 2018 Competitors

We are delighted to introduce our six competitors selected to perform semi-final and final recitals in the 41st E-Gré Competition in Brandon, May 4-6, 2018.


Hailing from Brandon, Manitoba, Ariel Carrabré earned his Bachelor’s degree in performance at McGill University in Montréal, studying under Yegor Dyachkov. In 2007 Ariel was the winner of the WSO’s Young Artist Concerto Competition, which gave him the opportunity to perform eight times as a soloist on the Up Close and Orchestral series and in 2008 he represented Manitoba in the national finals of both the CMC and the National Festival. In 2015, he completed a Master’s degree in Music Theory at the University of Ottawa, during which he was awarded a coveted SSHRC grant to assist in completing his research. Ariel has since returned to performance and recently earned a second Master’s degree, this time in music performance, under the tutelage of Paul Marleyn at the University of Ottawa. Most recently, he began his doctoral studies in performance at the Université de Montréal, studying with Yegor Dyachkov once again.


Sarah Gans, cellist, was born and raised in Toronto, Ontario. In September of 2016 Sarah began as the Assistant Principal Cellist of the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony. Prior to this, Sarah graduated with a Master of Music from the Juilliard School where she studied with Darrett Adkins. There, she was the recipient of the Irene Diamond Graduate Fellowship as well as awarded the Grunin Prize in Cello. At Juilliard, Sarah was a member of AXIOM and of

the New Juilliard Ensemble, the school’s new music ensembles. Sarah graduated with a Bachelor of Music from McGill’s Schulich School of Music where she studied with Matt Haimovitz. At McGill Sarah was a recipient of the Lloyd Carr- Harris String Scholarship, and upon graduation, was awarded the Salsinger Tani Gold Medal in Music Performance as well as recognized for Outstanding Achievement in Cello Performance. Sarah has spent her summers at festivals including the Kneisel Hall Chamber Music Festival, the Banff Centre’s Masterclasses for Strings, the Toronto Summer Music Festival and the National Youth Orchestra of Canada.

AMY HILLIS, violin

Amy Hillis has “a rich, warm sound and has mastered the violin with such ease, that it is impossible to ignore her passion in performance” (Ludwig Van Montréal). Originally from Regina, Saskatchewan, Amy collaborates with musicians from around the world in order to explore new approaches to classical and contemporary music. Amy was a 2017 artist-in-residence at La Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris, a residency awarded by the Conseils des Arts et des Lettres du Québec. She is also the winner of the 2017 McGill Concerto Competition and the prestigious Sylva Gelber Foundation Music Award. Amy is currently pursuing a Doctor of Music in Violin Performance at McGill University in Montréal with the esteemed violin professor, Axel Strauss. Her studies are funded by a Joseph-Armand Bombardier Doctoral Scholarship from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC). She performs on the 1820 Joannes Franciscus Pressenda, on loan from the Canada Council for the Arts Musical Instrument Bank.

YENA LEE, violin

Violinist Yena Lee came to an attention at the Wolfgang Marschner International Competition, Shean Music Competition, Oneppo chamber music competition, and Young Korean Music Competition. At the age of 14, she was awarded the “Most Promising Musician Award” from district of British Columbia and was youngest recipient of the prestigious JGU-Preis from the Johannes Gutenberg University of Rheinland- Pfalz, Germany. She performed at David Geffen Hall, Symphony Hall, Orpheum Theatre, Museo del Violino, and Cadogan Hal. She concertized with Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, West Coast Symphony, Vancouver Metropolitan Orchestra, Neumeyer Consort Frankfurt, Mainzer Virtuosi Kammerorchester, Hochschulorchester Mainz, Casalmaggiore International Festival orchestra, Pilgrim Orchestra and Vancouver Youth Symphony Orchestra. Yena’s mentors include Taras Gabora, Lawrie Hill, Anne Shih at the Hochschule für Musik Mainz, Hyo Kang at the Yale School of Music, Peter Zazofsky at the Boston University, and currently studies with Cho-Liang Lin at the Rice Shepherd School of Music.


Canadian violinist Katya Poplyansky is currently pursuing her Artist Diploma at the Glenn Gould School, with Paul Kantor and Barry Shiffman. She completed her Masters at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in 2016, with David Takeno, and her Bachelors at the Curtis Institute of Music in 2014, with Shmuel Ashkenasi, Victor Danchenko, Ida Kavafian, and Joseph Silverstein. She has participated in the Festival Jong Talent Schiermonnikoog, Banff Master Class Program, and IMS Prussia Cove Masterclasses and Open Chamber Music. She received second prizes at the Isabel Bader Violin Competition and Tunbridge Wells Competition in April 2017 and April 2016. Katya is a grateful recipient of the Temerty Family Foundation Scholarships.


Elizabeth Skinner is a Doctoral student in Performance Studies studying with Axel Strauss at McGill University’s Schulich School of Music. She collaborates regularly with her two trios, Trio Armonioso and Trio Émerillon, is the associate concertmaster of Pronto Musica Chamber Orchestra, and is a member of Montreal’s cutting-edge classical string band Collectif9. Elizabeth has won solo and chamber awards, led orchestras as concertmaster in Canada and the USA, and performed in Austria, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, China, South Korea and Japan. She was the winner of the Canadian Music Competition in the 19-30 years strings category (2015), Jeunesses Musicales du Canada’s Peter Mendell Award (2015), the strings category of the Prix d’Europe competition, as well as winner of the 3rd prize in the overall competition, and Guy Soucie prize for her interpretation of a Québécois work (2016). Most recently she was a recipient of the Sylva Gelber Music Foundation award (2017).