The Peter Mendell Prize jury met on August 1 to select three finalists from the nearly twenty applications received this year.
The final of the competition will take place on September 29 at Salle Joseph-Rouleau in Montreal. The three finalists will perform before the jury and invited guests. The winner of the Peter Mendell Prize will receive $5,000.
Finalists for the 2023 Peter Mendell Prize
David Baik, violin
Featured on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s (CBC) “30 Hot Canadian Classical Musicians Under 30″, South Korean-born violinist David Baik is noted for his powerful yet sincere sound. Baik is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Grand Prize at the 2021 NAC Bursary Competition, consecutive First Prizes at the 2016 and 2017 Canadian Music Competition, the Sturdevant Prize, and the Gerhard Kander Graduating Award. In 2022, Baik obtained his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Toronto where he studied with Jonathan Crow, and now is a fellowship recipient at the Schulich School of Music studying with Andrew Wan.
As an active soloist, Baik’s recent highlights include recitals presented by the DOMS concert series and the Isabel Bader Centre, a guest soloist for the Durham Chamber Orchestra, as well as a performance at the National Commemorative Ceremony in honour of Queen Elizabeth II as an invited solo artist.
David Baik performs on the 1871 Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume violin, graciously on loan by the Canada Council for the Arts Musical Instrument Bank.
Amos Friesen, Cello
Amos Friesen performed in concerts across Canada and recorded three studio albums with the Friesen Family Band before the age of twelve. In 2015, Amos won the position of principal cellist with the Saskatchewan Honor Orchestra and the Saskatoon Youth Orchestra, before winning the position of substitute cellist for the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra. Amos has been a member of the National Youth Orchestra of Canada for three summers, and has played in masterclass for the likes of Johannes Moser, Gary Hoffman, Hans Jorgen Jensen, and Philippe Mueller. In 2022, Amos participated in the McGill International String Quartet Academy as cellist of Apricus Quartet, receiving coaching and masterclasses from members of the Alban Berg Quartet, Quator Ébène, and Meta4 Quartet.
Amos was recently awarded a full scholarship to pursue his master’s in cello performance at the Schulich School of Music under the tutelage of Brian Manker.
Sebastian Gonzalez Mora, viola
22-year-old violist Sebastian Gonzalez Mora is currently studying at McGill University with Victor Fournelle-Blain. In addition to the Pirastro Prize for an Outstanding Young Talent at the 2021 Oskar Nedbal International Viola Competition held in Czech Republic, the young violist is also the winner of the grand prize at the Chœur de la Montagne Competition (2018 and 2021) and the grand prize at the MDA-Québec Competition (2018).
Sebastian is often heard as a soloist and chamber musician at the Montée des Arts, a concert hall for which he was artist in residence for the 2019–2020 season, at the Festival Unisson and at the Montreal Chamber Music Festival. Sebastian Gonzalez Mora is also a member of the Vatra Quartet, winner of the grand prize at the Sherbrooke competition (2022) as well as first prizes in chamber music at the Canadian Music Competition (2021) and the Classival competition (2022).
Sebastian plays on a Francesco Presbler viola (1700–1730) and a Roger François Lotte bow courtesy of Canimex.
The Peter Mendell Award
The Peter Mendell Award was born of a partnership between the JM Canada Foundation and Peter Mendell, a lawyer with Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP, a music lover and amateur cellist. For 18 years now, this prize has been awarded to a Quebec string player still at school for the excellence of his or her playing.
The Peter Mendell Award Jury
This year’s jury is made up of Peter Mendell, founder of the award, Véronique Desjardins, Executive Director of the JM Canada Foundation, and cellist Cameron Crozman. Former JM Canada artist, 2019–2020 Révélation Radio-Canada en musique classique and recipient of the 2021 Virginia Parker Award, this is Cameron’s first appearance as a member of the Peter Mendell jury.