The prize, worth CAD25,000, is awarded to an outstanding musician by the Canada Council for the Arts


Bryan Cheng © Andrej Grilc

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The Canada Council for the Arts has announced cellist Bryan Cheng as the recipient of its 2023 Virginia Parker Prize. The prize of CAD25,000 is awarded annually to a classical musician, instrumentalist or music conductor under the age of 32 who demonstrates outstanding talent, musicianship and artistic excellence and who makes a valuable contribution to artistic life in Canada and internationally.

’I’m especially honoured to be counted among a long list of Canadian classical music leges and heroes of mine, such as James Ehnes and Yannick Nézet-Séguin,’ Cheng said on social media.

Born in Ottawa and now based in Berlin, Cheng made his sold-out Carnegie Hall recital debut aged 14, his Elbphilharmonie debut aged 20 with the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, and was the first cellist to be awarded the Verbier Festival’s coveted Prix Yves Paternot.

In 2023–24, Cheng is artist in residence with Romania’s Filarmonica Banatul Timișoara and at Switzerland’s Week-End Musical de Pully. Recent and future highlights include debuts with Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin at the Philharmonie, Frankfurt Radio Symphony, Janáček Philharmonic Ostrava, National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra, Symphony Orchestra of India, the Slovak, Calgary and Cape Town Philharmonics, at Vancouver Recital Society, Chamberfest Cleveland, Schleswig-Holstein Musikfestival, as well as returns to Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, National Arts Centre Orchestra, Verbier Festival (with Sir András Schiff) and Heidelberger Frühling.

Major prize winner at the world’s most prestigious international competitions, including Queen Elisabeth, Geneva, and Paulo, Bryan received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Universität der Künste Berlin and is now enrolled at Germany’s Kronberg Academy. He plays the 1696 ’Bonjour’ Stradivari cello on loan from the Canada Council Musical Instrument Bank.

The Virginia Parker Prize was established by the late Virginia Parker in 1982 and is funded by an annual gift from the Virginia Parker Foundation.

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