The Oskar Morawetz Award for Excellence in Music Performance was established in June 2007 upon the death of composer Oskar Morawetz. The award recognizes an outstanding Canadian performer or conductor in the field of classical music who has appeared on Canadian concert stages and may have reached a degree of international attention through appearances in other countries, and/or through broadcast and recordings. In this context, "classical music" does not include music for choreography, electronic music, electro-acoustic music, television and film scores and non-European music.
An award committee composed of up to five Canadian music professionals that may include a conductor, performer, broadcaster, concert presenter and composer will nominate all candidates and select one recipient.
The Ontario Arts Council manages the selection process.
The OAC awards office does not accept unsolicited nominations for this award.
Dr. Oskar Morawetz, C.M., O.Ont., Mus.Doc., composer and professor of music, was one of Canada's leading composers of contemporary music. In a career that spanned more than 50 years, he composed over 100 orchestral and chamber works that have been performed on five continents by prominent artists such as Zubin Mehta, Seiji Ozawa, Glenn Gould, Yo-Yo Ma, Maureen Forrester and Ben Heppner.
His compositions have been commissioned by internationally acclaimed artists such as Mstislav Rostropovich, the Orford String Quartet, Jeanne Baxtresser, Dorothy Maynor, James Campbell, Julian Milkis and Angela Hewitt. They have been recorded by the leading labels and have been broadcast numerous times on CBC and many American networks.
Morawetz's compositions have garnered him many awards, including two Junos for Best Classical Composition. He has been bestowed the Order of Ontario, the Order of Canada and the Golden Jubilee Medal, among many other distinctions.