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Shoshana Wasser

Associate Director of Public Affairs and Communications
Toll-free in Ontario: 1-800-387-0058

Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra receives 2023 Vida Peene Orchestra Award

September 14, 2023

The Ontario Arts Council (OAC) is pleased to announce that the recipient of the 2023 Vida Peene Orchestra Award is the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra (HPO). This $10,000 award recognizing artistic and organizational achievement will be presented during their Gemma Conducts Schumann & Mendelssohn concert program at Hamilton’s FirstOntario Concert Hall the evening of Saturday, September 23.    


Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra, on stage, facing the audience
Photo courtesy of the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra.
For over a century, the HPO has presented orchestral music and education programs that have contributed to the shaping of Hamilton’s cultural landscape. It continues to offer high-calibre, inclusive and accessible programming, with an aim to energize, move and inspire its diverse community. 
The HPO’s programming is guided by four strategic pillars:
  • Artistic excellence: Led by music director Gemma New, the orchestra presents dynamic mainstage performances ranging from standard classical repertoire to popular music, to world premieres by living composers with a focus on new Canadian works. The HPO also runs artistic fellowships. These include a composer fellowship program for early-career composers, and a conducting fellowship through Tapestry Opera’s Women in Musical Leadership program.
  • Education: The HPO operates the Hamilton Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, a training and performance program for musicians ranging in age from 12 to 24. It also offers curriculum-based presentations, workshops and concerts in local schools across the Hamilton region.
  • Wellbeing: The HPO offers programs that promote shared experiences through music to contribute to maintaining and enhancing a sense of wellbeing. This includes their Seniors Connect program, which combats social isolation through a shared mainstage concert night and social for a community of seniors, as well as free performances in long-term care centres and seniors' communities.
  • Community engagement: Working closely with community partners, the HPO develops performances and programs tailored to serve specific community needs and interests, including reducing barriers. This includes free talks and performances in a variety of spaces and participatory events for community musicians of all ages and skill levels to engage in growth and collective music-making
Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra
Photo courtesy of the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra.