Maritsa Brookes Concerto Awards

About the Competition

Awarded to any undergraduate or graduate student in the Don Wright Faculty of Music on the basis of performance excellence demonstrated in solo concerto competition, this annual competition has been a highlight for many students over the years. This award was made possible through the generous donation by Maritsa Ateena Brookes (BA '57) to Foundation Western. The winners receive the honour of performing their selection in a public concert with the Western University Symphony Orchestra in the following school year. In addition, a generous monetary award is shared amongst the winner and the two runners-up, received in the fall following the competition.


2019-20 Competition

2019-20 Maritsa Brookes Concerto Competition Winners


First Place: Camila Montefusco, voice
Second Place: Terrence Wu, piano
Third Place: Eric Tremblay, trumpet

The final round of the 2019-20 competition was held on Saturday, January 11, 2020 in von Kuster Hall (Music Building).

Download program (PDF)

Preliminary round judges

Jill Ball, Aaron Hodgson, Jana Starling, winds, brass, percussion
Ted Baerg, Torin Chiles, Patricia Green, Jackie Short, Todd Wieczorek, voice
Brett Kingsbury, Leslie Kinton, Stephan Sylvestre, piano
Caitlin Boyle, Mel Martin, Annette-Barbara Vogel, strings

Final round external judges

Gillian MacKay, winds, brass, percussion
Kimberly Barber, voice
Li Wang, piano
Helmut Lipsky, strings


Previous Winners

First Place: Leonardi Joewono, piano
Second Place: Alexis Wright, marimba
Third Place: Kirit Mascarenhas, violin
Runner Up: Michal Aloni, voice
Visit the Symphony Orchestra webpage for 2019-20 concerto performance information

First Place: Kelvin Mun, violin
Second Place: Dan Luong, piano
Third Place: Christian Wrona, viola
Runner Up: Dorothy Lin, violin

First place: Sean Tzu-Hsiang Kao, piano
Second place: Bing Xin Yang, violin
Third Place: Daniel Dennis, cello – View Meet the Artist video

First place: Heidi Wall, piano
Second Place: Christian Golding, piano – View Meet the Artist video
Third Place: Jordan Clayton, violin

First place: Danbee Ko, piano
Second Place: Morgan Traynor, voice
Third Place: Rachelle Li, violin

First Place: Natalia Skomorokhova, piano
Second Place: Matt Henry, saxophone
Third Place: Lisa Mulgrew, voice
Runner Up: Warren Elder, marimba

First Place: Nicole Li, violin
Second Place: Jayden Beaudoin, marimba
Third Place: Vladimir Soloviev, piano

First Place: Joel Tangjerd, cello
Second Place: Margie Bernal, soprano
Third Place: Bryn Blackwood, piano

First Place: Peter Gajdek, trumpet
Second Place: Courtney Murias, voice
Third Place: Edgar Suski, piano

First Place: Tim Cheung
Second Place: Eric Mohr
Third Place: Catherine Folstad
Alternate: Grace Baker

First Place: Neal Cabigon
Second Place: Mark Prince
Third Place: Victoria Grigg
Fourth Place: Adam Falconi

External Judge Biographies

We are pleased to welcome the following distinguished guest judges for the 2019-20 Competition – Final Round.

Gillian MacKay

Gillian MacKay headshotGillian MacKay is Professor of Music of the University of Toronto, where she conducts the Wind Ensemble and teaches conducting. Gillian has an active professional career as a conductor, trumpeter, adjudicator, and clinician. She has conducted honour ensembles throughout Canada and internationally, and serves as Associate Conductor of the Denis Wick Canadian Wind Orchestra. Dr. MacKay has adjudicated Canadian band festivals at local, provincial, and national levels in Canada. She has conducted honour bands and judged competitions abroad, including Singapore, Thailand, and Korea.

Dr. MacKay enjoys presenting clinics and workshops at conferences and symposia, and is known for her work on the relationship between conducting and mime. Currently, she is investigating the application of the Michael Chekhov acting technique to movement and meaning in conducting. Gillian leads the University of Toronto Wind Conducting Symposium each July, and has been the guest instructor at other symposia in Canada and abroad.

Gillian earned degrees and diplomas from University of Lethbridge, University of Calgary, McGill University, and Northwestern University.

Kimberly Barber

Kimbery Barber headshotCanadian mezzo-soprano Kimberly Barber has appeared on international operatic and concert stages (Paris, Chicago, New York City, London, Rome, Tokyo, Frankfurt, Montreal, Seattle and Toronto are among her stomping grounds) in a diverse and eclectic repertoire for over 30 years. A passionate educator, she is Professor of voice at Wilfrid Laurier University (where she has been on faculty since 2002) and coordinates their Opera Program. Since 2017 she is Associate Dean, External for Laurier’s Faculty of Music. A strong advocate for the operatic art form and passionate about its future, she enjoys writing and presenting for novices and aficionados alike. Her articles and interviews are featured online on and many other forums.

Her return to Toronto’s Tapestry Opera in May 2017, creating the role of the fortune-teller Asa in the world premiere of OKSANA G, garnered rave reviews and a Dora Award nomination for Best Ensemble. Her newly commissioned work, AKI/THIS LAND (Abigail Richardson-Schulte), saw her join forces with TorQ percussion Quartet, storyteller Rene Meshake and harpist Angela Schwarzkopf in a world premiere with NUMUS in Waterloo, Ontario (May 2017). Recent travels have taken her to Lyon, France, Wiesbaden, Germany and Vienna, Austria, as well as across Canada (Ottawa, Toronto, Edmonton, Victoria and northern Ontario) for concerts, conferences and master classes.

An artist who defies categorization, Kimberly Barber is recognized for the verisimilitude, intensity and depth of her interpretations of Strauss’s Composer, Handel’s Xerxes (for which she was nominated for Toronto’s Dora Award as Best Singing Actress) Mrs. De Rocher in Heggie’s DEAD MAN WALKING (which won Montreal’s prestigious Award OPUS in 2013) and Blitzstein’s Regina among many others.  She has recorded for Deutsche Grammophon, Naxos, CBC Records, Teldec and Dutton Classics.

Li Wang

Li Wang headshotWith playing that The Toronto Star describes as “flawless technique combined with a light touch to produce the most exquisite tonal effects”, pianist Li Wang has earned the recognition as one of Canada's finest artists. First prize winner of the First Canadian Chopin Piano Competition, Mr. Wang has enjoyed success on the international competition circuit, claiming awards and distinctions in the AXA Dublin International Piano Competition, 43rd Maria Canals International Piano Competition in Barcelona, the International Franz Liszt Piano Competition held in Budapest, and the Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow, in which he was the only Canadian accepted to compete.

In performances, Mr. Wang has been heard as recital soloist and chamber musician around the globe, a highlight of which was to perform an all-Chopin recital at the International Chopin Festival in Antonin, Poland, in September 2000. As well, Mr. Wang has been featured as concerto soloists with acclaimed orchestras such as the RTE National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland, the MATAV Hungarian Symphony Orchestra, and the Sinfonia Cultura Orchestra of Brazil. In Canada, Mr. Wang’s performances have been broadcast on CBC, CJRT, Classical 96.3FM, and BRAVO! arts channel, OMNI TV, Fairchild TV, and CityTV.

Additionally, Mr. Wang is one of the recording artists for the Celebration Series of The Royal Conservatory’s 2015 Piano Syllabus; a recipient of Steinway and Sons’ Top Teacher Award; and has served as a judge for the Canadian Chopin Piano Competition.

Born in Beijing, Mr. Wang began his piano studies with his father, and furthered his musical training at the Beijing Central Conservatory of Music, the Conservatoire Nationale Supérieur de Musique in Paris under Brigitte Engerer, and The Royal Conservatory’s Glenn Gould School in Canada under the tutelage of James Anagnoson.

A resident of Toronto, Mr. Wang is currently piano faculty at both The Glenn Gould School and The Phil and Eli Taylor Performance Academy for Young Artists. Mr. Wang’s students have won top 3 prizes in many International and national Competitions such as the Canadian Chopin Competition, the International Piano-E-Competition, the Hastings International Piano Concerto Competition, the 11th International Frederick Chopin Competition for Young Pianists, the Kaufman International Youth Piano Competition, the Midwest International Piano Competition, the Aarhus International Piano Competition, the American Protege International Music Competition, the Canadian Music Competition, and the CBC Radio’s Piano Hero Competition.

Helmut Lipsky

Helmut Lipsky headshotBorn in Germany, Helmut Lipsky, grew up in Switzerland, where he studied violin with Concertmaster Abraham Comfort of the Winterthur Collegium Musicum Orchestra at the Zurich Conservatory in Switzerland, graduating with a bachelor and a concert diploma in performance and pedagogy. As a member of the Collegium Musicum Orchestra, he toured Switzerland and France, under the baton of, and accompanying the pianist Géza Anda. He then, at the age of 19, continued his studies in New York City, working for three years with Professor Ivan Galamian. Later he was a pupil of the international acclaimed violin soloist Itzhak Perlman at the Brooklyn Conservatory, where he obtained a Master’s Degree of Arts under his tutelage. He was awarded the Presidential Scholars Award from the Council of the City of New York for his merits as a violinist and his academic work. Shortly after he toured the US with chamber music ensembles (The New York Players, The Masterplayers), and performed as a soloist with orchestras in Switzerland and the United States.

Resident of Montreal, Canada since 1980, Helmut Lipsky established here his creative musical platform, the MELOSPHERE with a consortium of outstanding musicians, with which he still collaborates today on a multitude of projects for the stage, CD, television, radio, film, multimedia, theatre and dance productions.

Lipsky is very active on the national and international music scene as a violinist, composer, improviser and teacher in the realms of classical music, jazz, tango, world and contemporary music. He has taught at several universities and colleges – including Université de Montréal, McGill and Concordia University – and is now professor at the Conservatoire de musique de Montréal for violin, chamber music and string improvisation. During the summer, he has taught, among other summer schools, at the Domaine Forget International Festival, the Camp musical des Laurentides, Camp musical de Lanaudière, the Thüringische Sommerakademie in Germany as well as the Interharmony – Sulzbach-Rosenberg International Music Festival and the Interharmony International Music Festival in Italy. In the summer of 2016, he co-founded the ground-breaking Clazz International Music Festival, where classical music, Jazz, crossover styles and improvisation are being taught side by side. Many of Lipsky’s former students have distinguished careers as performers and/or play in major Symphony Orchestras around the world, founded or are members of renowned ensembles in a variety of musical genres or participate in Cirque du Soleil productions.

As violinist and composer, Helmut Lipsky has recorded many radio and television programs and has participated with his own ensembles – mainly under the name MELOSPHERE – at numerous important festivals in North America, as well as touring regularly in Europe, where he performed with his group, among many other venues in Berlin, Bruxelles, Budapest, Zurich, Milan etc. and as part of the prestigious “New Jazz” Series at the Montreux International Jazz Festival. A regular participant at the Montreal International Jazz Festival, he opened with MELOSPHERE shows of artists like Miles Davis, Dave Brubeck (Lanaudière International Music Festival), Stéphane Grappelli (Québec International Music Festival) and Toots Thielemans (Royal Palace of Brussels). He has also written music for cinema, presented at and winning top prizes in Festivals around the world, the theatre, dance productions and multimedia exhibitions. Known for his eclecticism, he was asked to write original works for special events, like his Harbour Symphony for violin, ship sirens and church bells performed at Montreal Harbour or his Concerto for violin and Chainsaw as the opening concert of the Third International Art Symposium in Abitibi-Témiscamingue, Québec, Canada. In December of 2015, he collaborated with the Swiss composer Thomas Fortmann at writing the music, and performing for the Memorial Concert “Grafeneck 10654” for the Euthanasia victims of the Castle Grafeneck in Germany. These works were presented again in Montreal in March of 2018 together with the pianist Louise Bessette and percussionist Olivier Maranda, sponsored by the General Consulate of Germany, and will be presented again in 2020 in Canada, Germany and Switzerland to commemorate the 75th year since the liberation of the survivors of the death camps at Auschwitz: Grafeneck was the first killing center where the “industrial" use of gas chambers and burning ovens for human beings was tested and whose methods were then applied during the Holocaust by some of the same people that had committed the murders at Castle Grafeneck.

His duets for two violins “Voyage à deux” Vol. 1 and 2 and various chamber orchestra works are very popular with students and professionals of any age group and are being played around the world.

Helmut Lipsky recorded many critically acclaimed CDs under his and his ensembles’ name and has collaborated with renowned artists like harpist Andreas Vollenweider, cellist David Darling, violinist Angèle Dubeau and her ensemble La Pietà, Jeremy Cohen’s Quartet San Francisco, flutist André-Gilles Duchemin, song-writers Gilles Vigneault, Claude Léveillé and Karen Young, bassist Michel Donato, the pianists James Gelfand and Matt Herskowitz and the jazz-flutist François Richard on various projects. He has won several prestigious awards, among others the coveted Prix OPUS for his album Helmut Lipsky – MÉLOSPHÈRE – Tempi con Variazioni, featuring the distinguished soprano Suzie LeBlanc in 2011, and First Prize at the International competition of the worldwide community of French language radio stations. Proclaimed member of the “Ordre de la musique française”, he was three times nominated for Best Album at the Felix Awards, twice for Best Concert of the Year by Les Prix OPUS, Best violinist by the National Music Awards, a Juno Award and was invited several times as Performer-Presenter at the prestigious Idea City Conference of Moses Znaimer in Toronto. Helmut Lipsky has received several funds from the Canadian Arts Council and the Quebec Cultural Ministry. Since the summer of 2017, he is now also a member of the renowned ensemble QUARTANGO, which has recorded many albums, has won several important prizes (among others a Juno Award and OPUS Prize for Best Album) and has toured internationally.