On Oct. 21, Christina Petrowska Quilico, professor emerita and pianist, will both perform with the Kindred Spirits Orchestra and receive the 2023 Oskar Morawetz Award for Excellence in Music Performance.
The Oskar Morawetz award is a prestigious honour, presented only biennially to Canadian classical music performers who have demonstrated a high level of talent and dedication to Canadian music.
Michael Coghlan, a music professor, explains that while Oskar Morawetz was known nationally and internationally as an artist, he was also a professor of music composition at the University of Toronto. “The award represents the linking of artistic excellence that exists between individuals of different musical generations, such as Morawetz and Petrowska Quilico,” he says.
Sharing these sentiments, Katherine Dowling, a music professor, says that the Oskar Morawetz award “recognizes an artist’s lifelong dedication to the art form, their impact and profile on a global scale, and their deep connection with listening communities everywhere. Christina is of course a natural fit, as her incredible career so easily demonstrates.
“The York community can be so excited and proud to have this powerful, impactful, artistic work taking place in their midst,” she adds.
Petrowska Quilico also holds four Juno nominations, as well as being inducted into the Royal Society of Canada, amongst many other accomplishments. Her work and education reaches international audiences in New York, Paris, and Berlin.
“The awards which I have received certainly made me happy that my peers acknowledge my dedication to music and to Canadian composers especially women composers. I love playing classical and romantic repertoire, but I enjoy the challenge of collaborating with composers on new works. It is an adventure which I take very seriously,” says Petrowska Quilico.
Petrowska Quilico continues: “If a musician messes up Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, or other classical greats it won’t affect people from listening to their music. However, with new music, if it isn’t played well, people will often judge the composition rather than the performer. I feel that many of my successes have been opening the ears of listeners to contemporary music in solo and orchestral performances and recordings.”
At the gala, Petrowska Quilico is looking forward to performing the Lutoslawski piano concerto with the Kindred Spirits Orchestra and conductor and music director Kristian Alexander.
“This concerto honours the epoch of virtuoso pianists of the 19th century, Chopin, Liszt, Brahms, Rachmaninoff. The music is like a siren seducing the listener with shimmering transparent figurations, melodic singing lines and harmonic quirks that create new kinds of floating textures within sculpted forms. Although it is technically difficult, the sheer beauty of the music brings me joy to be playing one of the greatest works written for piano and orchestra,” explains Petrowska Quilico.
To learn more about Petrowska Quilico’s work, click here.