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Shoshana Wasser

Associate Director of Public Affairs and Communications
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Mezzo-Soprano Judith Forst Honoured With Oskar Morawetz Award for Excellence in Music Performance

February 27, 2014

The Ontario Arts Council today announced opera singer and educator Judith Forst as the 2013 recipient of the Oskar Morawetz Award for Excellence in Music Performance. The $20,000 award is being presented at the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra’s performance of Beethoven’s Ninth! at the Orpheum.

About Judith Forst

Image of Judith Forst and Oskar Morawetz.
  • The acclaimed mezzo-soprano has sung with most major opera companies throughout North America and Europe. These include Teatro alla Scala, the Canadian Opera Company, and the New York Metropolitan Opera – where she has given over 200 performances, and where she returned in 2013 for her 20th season.
  • Some of her recently acclaimed performances include in Kát'a Kabanová with the New York Metropolitan Opera, Dialogues des Carmélites with the Canadian Opera Company and Dead Man Walking with the Pittsburgh Opera.
  • She performed in the world premieres of John Estacio’s Lillian Alling with the Vancouver Opera and Bramwell Tovey’s The Inventor with the Calgary Opera.
  • In 2004, she received the prestigious Ruby Award, which honours outstanding individual achievements in Canadian opera.
  • Judith was inducted into the Order of Canada in 1992 and the Order of British Columbia in 2001. She has received honourary doctorates from the University of British Columbia and the University of Victoria.


  • “No one ever forgets a performance by Judith Forst – she embodies excellence,” noted the jurors who were unanimous in their selection. “Her international profile, extraordinary level of preparation for performance and championing of Canadian musicians make her a natural choice for the award. She also carries on Dr. Morawetz’s legacy through her connection to his music, from her early recordings to her current work coaching the next generation.”

About the Oskar Morawetz Award

  • This year’s jury consisted of Gary Kulesha (Toronto, ON), Robert Rowat (Montreal, QC) and Rosemary Thomson (Kelowna, BC).
  • The Oskar Morawetz Award for Excellence in Music Performance was established at the Ontario Arts Council in 2007. Presented biennially to an outstanding Canadian performer (including conductors) in the field of classical music, it recognizes talent and commitment to Canadian music.
  • Oskar Morawetz was one of Canada's leading composers of contemporary music. In a career spanning more than 50 years, Morawetz composed more than 100 orchestral and chamber works which have been performed on five continents, earning him international acclaim and many awards.
  • Previous winners are cellist Shauna Rolston (2011) and flutist Robert Cram (2009).