Our judges for the 2020 National Performance Awards are Cheryl Duvall, Matt Poon, and Stephen Runge. Read more about the judges below.
Toronto-based pianist Cheryl Duvall has established herself as one of Canada’s foremost contemporary music interpreters, immersing herself in a wide variety of compositional aesthetics and collaborative endeavours.
In 2012, she co-founded the “adventurous and smartly programmed” (Musicworks Magazine) chamber group Thin Edge New Music Collective. Since their inception, they’ve commissioned over 70 works, mounted lavish multidisciplinary productions such as Balancing On The Edge, and collaborated with leading performers like Charlotte Mundy, Jason Sharp, Ensemble Paramirabo (with whom they recorded an album.) They’re also widely noted for their direct engagement with composers, and their tours and residencies across Europe, and in Japan and Argentina have positioned them as ambassadors for Canadian music abroad.
Her lucid sense of contour, evocative sonic and emotional presence, and boundless versatility make her both a dynamic soloist and in-demand collaborator. Recently, Duvall has begun gathering commissioned works from cutting-edge artists from Canada and beyond, including Victoria-based composer Anna Höstman, whose music is the subject of her debut solo recording, Harbour, a highly acclaimed album released in January 2020 on the Redshift Record Label. Harbour has been featured on the CBC radio and was chosen as the #1 Modern Composition Recording of 2020 by UK’s ‘The Wire’ Magazine.
In 2016 her formidable skill was recognized with a nomination for the KM Hunter Award. Duvall also regularly performs outside of contemporary music spheres, notably with American violinist Andrew Sords, and accompanying the renowned Oakville Choir for Children and Youth, with whom she has toured, recorded and competed internationally (with gold standings). She operates a full private teaching studio, is a member of the College of Examiners with the Royal Conservatory of Music, and adjudicates piano competitions across Canada.
Pianist and composer Matt Poon advocates music of our time by performing, creating, researching, and improvising. His dedication has granted him awards including first prize and prize for best performance of commissioned work in the Eckhardt-Gramatté Competition, first prize in the American String Quartet Composition Competition, and first prize in the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra Open Call for Works. Matt has received Canada Arts Council and Ontario Arts Council grants, and he was listed on CBC/Radio-Canada as one of the “30 Hot Canadian Classical Musicians Under 30 in 2016”.
As a laureate of the E-Gré Competition, Matt performed a 10-city concert tour across Canada and a debut concert in Italy promoting contemporary piano music, including his own composition and repertoire with extended techniques written by Canadian and International composers. Matt performed in multimedia productions, as a pianist-performer for Hong Kong Exile (Vancouver) touring across Canada, Asia, and Europe, including the Gaudeamus Muziekweek, and as a pianist-improviser for Volcano Theatre. As a former member of Tactus and the Contemporary Music Ensemble at U of T, Matt premiered chamber works by Hong Kong and American composers at the Manhattan-Hong Kong festival, and performed chamber works by established Canadian and International composers. Matt was featured in part of the “Young Artist Overture” series by Soundstreams Canada, and as a composer-performer at the Stone NYC and the Integral House.
Matt holds a MM in Performance and a MM in Composition from the Manhattan School of Music, and a BM from the University of Toronto.
Praised for his sensitivity and versatility, pianist Stephen Runge has been heard from Victoria to Halifax as soloist and collaborative artist. Stephen has been broadcast nationally on CBC Radio Two and La Chaîne Culturelle de Radio-Canada, receiving special recognition as soloist and for his frequent performances of chamber music and art song. In recent seasons he has shared the stage with artists such as violinists Jasper Wood, Andréa Tyniec and Kerry DuWors, tenor David Pomeroy, mezzo-sopranos Krisztina Szabó and Patricia Green, and pianist Adam Sherkin, and has appeared as soloist with the Regina Symphony Orchestra and the Mount Allison Chamber Orchestra. Stephen has recorded all the major works for solo piano by Robert Schumann, an album of solo piano works from 1917, and a recital of English art song with countertenor Daniel Cabena.
Holding a Doctorate of Music in Piano Performance from l’Université de Montréal, Stephen also holds degrees from the University of Victoria and The Glenn Gould School of The Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. Born and raised in Regina, Saskatchewan, he is in demand across the country as teacher, adjudicator, and clinician. Stephen is on faculty at Mount Allison University in Sackville, New Brunswick, where he is currently Head of the Department of Music, Associate Professor of Piano, and Director of Mount Allison Local Centre Examinations in Music. In recognition of his outstanding teaching, research, creative activities, and service, Mount Allison has awarded him a Paul Paré Excellence Award in 2010, the J.E.A. Crake Award for excellence in teaching in the Faculty of Arts in 2014, and the Paul Paré Medal in 2020.