PRO Canada Awards

PRO Canada Awards.

PRO Canada Awards

PRO Canada Awards. Awards and scholarships granted by PRO Canada (formerly BMI Canada) in five categories: annual student composers' awards, annual songwriters' awards, 'special' awards, awards to orchestras, an annual copyright award, and others including awards for jazz composers, country songs, French songs, and pop music. Many of these awards were discontinued in 1989 when CAPAC and Pro Canada merged to form SOCAN.

In 1951 BMI Canada opened the doors to its young composer affiliates to compete for the US-based BMI Award to Student Composers. Canadian winners of these awards included Steven Gellman and Peter Huse (1963), Hugh Hartwell and John Mills-Cockell (1966), Daniel Foley (1966, 1969, 1970), Kathleen Solose (1967), John Hawkins and John Rea (1968), Denis Lorrain (1969, 1972), Donald Steven (1970), Michel Longtin (1971), Stephen Chatman (1973, 1974, 1975), David Scott (1986), Christopher Howard (1988), and Arlan Schultz (1989).

In 1967 BMI Canada established Centennial Scholarships in composition at the RCMT and Simon Fraser University and from 1975 to 1978 the organization offered $50 cash prizes to composition students at all Canadian universities and community colleges. In 1979 these programs were replaced by a major composition competition (P.R.O. Canada Student Composer Awards), offering up to $5000 annually to young Canadians studying in Canada and abroad. These awards continued until 1990 when cash prizes totalling $12,000 annually were offered. Winners throughout the years included Linda Bouchard, Denys Bouliane, Timothy Buell, Glenn Buhr, John Burge, John Burke, Ka Nin Chan, Paul Dolden, Gilles Gobeil, Keith Hamel, Jan Jarvlepp, Hope Lee, Andrew MacDonald, Michael Maguire, John Oliver, David Parsons, Mark-Arkel Patch, Jean Piché, François Rose, Robert Rosen, Denis Schingh, Pierre Trochu, and John Winiarz. When CAPAC and PRO Canada merged, these prizes became known as the SOCAN Awards for Young Composers.

PRO Canada's Annual Songwriters' Awards (formerly BMI Canada Awards) were first presented in 1969 at an awards dinner for affiliate writers and publishers of popular music. Winners received Certificates of Honour. Others honoured at the annual dinners included those individuals or organizations that had made outstanding contributions to the development and growth of Canadian music. Special plaques were presented to the CBC, the CRTC, and the Canadian Association of Broadcasters in 1972 and to George Hamilton IV and posthumously to Healey Willan in 1973.

In 1974 the William Harold Moon Award was established to honour those BMI affiliates who had done the most to promote Canadian music internationally during the preceding year. Winners include R. Murray Schafer (1974), Randy Bachman (1975), Harry Somers (1976), Hagood Hardy (1977), Serge Garant (1978), the Irish Rovers (1979), Frank Mills (1980), Moe Koffman (1981), Robert Aitken (1982), Loverboy (1983), Leonard Cohen (1984), Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance (1985), Bruce Cockburn (1986), Gene MacLellan (1987), Eddie Schwartz (1988), Burton Cummings (1989), and Gordon Lightfoot (1990). A winner of this award received a plaque and $500 until 1978, when a piece of Canadian art commissioned from Canadian sculptress Angela Haupt supplanted the cash prize. After the merge of PRO Canada and CAPAC, SOCAN continued to administer the William. Harold Moon award.

The PRO Canada Orchestra Awards, begun in 1978, offered biennially $10,000 in cash prizes to Canadian orchestras for imaginative programming of contemporary music. The first winners (1978) were the Quebec Symphony Orchestra, the Lethbridge Symphony Orchestra, the Regina Symphony, and the New Brunswick Youth Orchestra. Subsequent winners included the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, Hamilton Philharmonic, MSO, Nepean Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra London, Okanagan Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre métropolitain, Quebec Symphony Orchestra, and Victoria Symphony Orchestra. A special citation was made to the NACO. Cash prizes were replaced by special plaques in 1988.

The PRO Canada Copyright Award (established in 1978, first awarded in 1979) has offered an annual prize of $2000 to a Canadian law student, or lawyer in his or her first year of articling, for an essay on the subject of copyright as it relates to music. In 1987 this award was renamed the Gordon F. Henderson/PROCAN Copyright Competition and after the merger of PRO Canada with CAPAC, it became the Gordon F. Henderson/SOCAN Copyright Competition.


Further Reading

  • MSc, annual May-Jun issues (1969-89), lists Certificates of Honour winners.