"Those of us who love the arts, as I do, have a commitment to secure the future of our arts organizations and artists. The building of endowments is an excellent way of doing this."
– Dr. Murray Frum, Past Chair

James Rolfe Wins the Louis Applebaum Composers Award


Toronto, November 8, 2005 - Canadian composer James Rolfe has won the Louis Applebaum Composers Award.  This year’s $10,000 award recognizes excellence in music composition for theatre, music theatre, dance or opera.

Composer James Rolfe, one of Canada’s leading contemporary composers, receives the award for his outstanding work in the field of opera.  Mr. Rolfe is well known for his first opera Beatrice Chancy (libretto by George Elliott Clarke), which was praised by audiences and critics alike during the Queen of Puddings Music Theatre Company’s production in Toronto, Dartmouth and Edmonton, and broadcast nationally by CBC TV.  His Orpheus and Eurydice (libretto by André Alexis) was recently given a semi-staged production by the Toronto Masque Theatre, and Rosa (libretto by Camyar Chair) was performed in Tapestry New Opera Work’s 2004 edition of Opera-to-go and at the Opera America conference in Detroit in 2005.   His new children’s opera Elijah’s Kite (libretto by Camyar Chai), a co-production of the Manhattan School of Music and Tapestry New Opera Works, will receive its New York première in April 2006.

The Ontario Arts Council  administered the selection process working with jury members  Eda Holmes, theatre director, Christopher House, choreographer and Artistic Director of Toronto Dance Theatre, Rick MacMillan, Manager, SOCAN Foundation and Wayne Strongman, Managing Artistic Director, Tapestry New Opera Works.

The Louis Applebaum Composers Fund was established at the Ontario Arts Foundation in 1998 by Louis Applebaum  to recognize excellence in music composition of any genre.   “Canadian composer Louis Applebaum devoted his life to the cultural awakening of Canada, and this “magnificent obsession” drove him to become a founder of the Canadian League of Composers and the Canadian Music Centre.  He was an instrumental figure in the early development of the National Film Board, the Stratford Festival, and the National Arts Centre in Ottawa.  For nearly half a century he composed music for the Stratford Festival, television, radio and films”.  (from Louis Applebaum, A Passion for Culture by Walter Pitman, Dundurn Press)

The first Louis Applebaum Composers Award, presented to Canadian composer R. Murray Schafer in 1999, was a lifetime achievement award that recognized both excellence in composition and the impact of a composer’s work on society.  Alexina Louie and Alex Pauk were the second recipients of the Award, which recognized excellence in film and television composition.

The Ontario Arts Foundation manages the endowment that funds the Louis Applebaum Composers Award.  Established in 1991 as a public charitable foundation, the Foundation holds over 270 endowments totalling more than $43,000,000 and pays out over $2 million annually in support of the arts in Ontario.

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For further information, please contact:
Janet Stubbs
Director, Ontario Arts Foundation
416 969 7413
jstubbs@arts.on.ca