Eckhardt-Gramatté National Music Competition for the Performance of Canadian Music/Concours national de musique Eckhardt-Gramatté. Held annually beginning in 1976 on the campus of Brandon University, this competition rotates between piano, strings (violin, viola, and cello) and voice. Its objective is 'to encourage the study and public performance of contemporary music and to create a means whereby the music of Canada's composers can make its presence felt upon young artists on the threshold of their careers'. The idea for such a competition originated with S.C. Eckhardt-Gramatté and, following her death in 1974, the competition was named in her honour. The first prize is $2500 and a national concert tour; other prizes are $1500 and $1000, with a $500 award for the best performance of the commissioned work.
The competition is administered by a board which has been chaired in turn by J.F. Reeh Taylor, Lorne Watson (also serving as artistic director), David Wilson, and Robert Blair. The national advisory council comprises the presidents of such organizations as the CLComp, CUMS, CFMTA, CMEA, JMC, and several distinguished musicians. Jury chairmen have included Henry Carroll, William Baerg, Lawrence Jones, and Jack Behrens.
The competition opens with a concert presented in co-operation with CBC radio. Past concerts have featured Phyllis Bryn-Julson, Janina Fialkowska, Desmond Hoebig and Andrew Tunis, Diedre Irons (in an all-Eckhardt-Gramatté piano recital), Kevin McMillan, Allan Monk, the Orford String Quartet, Christina Petrowska, the Purcell String Quartet, Charles Rosen, and Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi. Leading musicians from Canada, the USA, and England have served as jurors. In most cases the guest recitalist remains to act as a juror. Commissioned composers for the imposed work have included Walter Buczynski, Stephen Chatman, Brian Cherney, Chester Duncan, Alfred Fisher, Malcolm Forsyth, Alain Gagnon, André Prévost, Sidney Robinovitch, Harry Somers, and Jerome Summers.
Winners of the competition have been David Swan, piano, 1976; Gwen Hoebig, violin, 1977; Jon Kimura Parker, piano, 1978; Nancy Argenta, soprano, 1980; Louise Bessette, piano, 1981; Annalee Patipatanakoon, violin, 1982; Debra Parker, soprano, 1983; Jamie Parker, piano, 1984; Joanne Opgenorth, violin, 1985; Ingrid Attrot, soprano, 1986 (second prize, no first prize awarded); Leslie Robertson, viola, 1988; Janice Girard, piano, 1989; Jane Leibel, soprano, 1990; and Krista Buckland, violin, 1991. No competitions were held in 1979 and 1987. Other finalists who have pursued performance careers include Angela Cheng, Douglas Finch, Ben Heppner, Desmond Hoebig, and Walter Prossnitz.