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Shoshana Wasser

Associate Director of Public Affairs and Communications
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Pianist Christina Petrowska Quilico honoured with 2023 Oskar Morawetz Award for Excellence in Music Performance

September 22, 2023

The Ontario Arts Council is delighted to announce that pianist Christina Petrowska Quilico is the recipient of the 2023 Oskar Morawetz Award for Excellence in Music Performance. This award is presented biennially to an outstanding Canadian performer in the field of classical music, recognizing talent and commitment to Canadian music.

Christina will receive the award on Saturday, October 21, 2023, at the opening night gala of the Kindred Spirits Orchestra’s 2023-24 season in Markham, Ontario – where she will be performing the piano concerto by Witold Lutosławski in a program titled War and Peace.  

About Christina Petrowska Quilico

Christina Petrowska Quilico
Christina Petrowska Quilico
Photo: Bo Huang 

  • The Canadian Encyclopedia cites Christina Petrowska Quilico, C.M., O.Ont, FRSC, as “one of Canada’s most celebrated pianists” and “a noted champion of Canadian composers.”
  • Born in Ottawa, Christina began her piano studies in Toronto, before moving to New York City to study on scholarship at the Juilliard School. Performing solo and chamber recitals at many of the city’s most venerated recital halls, she was praised by the New York Times as “an extraordinary talent with phenomenal ability [and] dazzling virtuosity.” This was followed by training at the Sorbonne in Paris, as well as in Darmstadt and Berlin.
Recording of Transcendent Sounds of Nature in the Music of Ann Southam
Recording of Transcendent Sounds of Nature in the Music of Ann Southam,
performed by Christina Petrowska Quilico. 
  • Since then, Christina has travelled widely, performing or recording more than 50 concertos with orchestras around the world – including most of Canada’s leading orchestras. She has also released more than 50 CDs featuring works by contemporary and international composers, many of them women. Her name is virtually synonymous with that of Canadian composer Ann Southam, whose music she has recorded on five albums (comprising eight discs), including the JUNO–nominated Glass Houses Revisited – music label Centrediscs’ all-time bestseller and one of CBC Music’s “30 best Canadian classical recordings ever.”
  • Christina began teaching piano and musicology at York University in 1987, in what is now known as its School of the Arts, Media, Performance and Design. Now a professor emerita and senior scholar, she was a recipient of the university’s highly prized Research Awards for three consecutive years – and was one of only two recipients of its Distinguished Honours as “outstanding contributors to their fields and beyond” in 2023. 
Christina Petrowska Quilico leaning on a black piano
Christina Petrowska Quilico
Photo: Bo Huang 
  • Christina’s deep commitment to music education was shared with her late husband, the Metropolitan Opera baritone Louis Quilico, with whom she also toured widely and recorded four CDs. To carry on his legacy of support for outstanding young singers, she created the Christina and Louis Quilico Award, administered by the Ontario Arts Foundation, in conjunction with the Canadian Opera Company (COC) and the COC Ensemble Studio.
  • Over the course of her career, Christina has amassed many of the country’s highest honours. She was appointed to the Order of Canada in 2020 “for her celebrated career as a classical and contemporary pianist, and for championing Canadian music,” and to the Order of Ontario in 2022 “for opening the ears of music lovers through her [performances, recordings and teaching].” She was also inducted in 2021 into the Royal Society of Canada, “the country’s highest honour an individual can achieve in the Arts, Social Sciences and Sciences.”   


The award jurors stated that Christina Petrowska Quilico “has made an astonishing contribution to musical life in Canada.” As they remarked: “Christina is a champion of Canadian composers – and her pioneering dedication to Canadian female composers is especially noteworthy. She has helped to secure this period of Canadian music through her impressive catalogue of recordings, and further through the ripple effect of her many students. She is steadfast. She is legend.”

“I am very honoured to receive the Oskar Morawetz Award and to be in the company of such celebrated Canadian artists who have received this prize,” said Christina Petrowska Quilico. “I will continue to perform the wonderful music of Oskar Morawetz and our other esteemed Canadian composers. Thank you to the award jurors, and to the Ontario Arts Council for your continued support of Canadian artists to do what we love to do, which is to perform and create music.” 

About the Oskar Morawetz Award for Excellence in Music Performance

  • Established in 2007, this award honours the legacy of Oskar Morawetz – one of Canada's leading composers of contemporary music, whose career spanned more than 50 years. Learn more about Dr. Morawetz.
  • Previous winners include pianist Angela Hewitt (2021), operatic baritone Russell Braun (2019), and conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin (2017). Full list of laureates.
  • The Ontario Arts Council administers the jury process for the Oskar Morawetz Award. This year’s jury consisted of musician/composer India Gailey (Halifax, N.S.), broadcaster/producer Paolo Pietropaolo (Vancouver, B.C.) and composer/educator Ana Sokolović (Montréal, Que.).