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Pianist Philip Chiu

Classical Winners Announced at Canada's JUNO Awards

Pianist Philip Chiu and composer Bekah Simms were among the classical musicians who received awards


Canada's JUNO Awards were held in Edmonton, Alberta on March 13, 2023. The ceremony was hosted by actor Simu Liu, and awards were made in a total of 67 categories, covering a wide range of different genres.

Four categories were devoted to classical artists, albums, and composers.

"Classical Album of the Year: Solo Artist" went to pianist Philip Chiu for his album Fables which features two piano transcriptions of music by Ravel with Mnidoonskaa (A Multitude of Insects), a 2021 work by Anishinaabekwe composer Barbara Assiginaak.

The nominees included:

  • Pianist Bruce Liu for his live recording from the 2021 International Fryderyk Chopin Competition
  • Pianist David Jalbert for Prokofiev: Piano Sonatas, Vol. 1
  • Soprano Isabel Bayrakdarian for La Zingarella: Through Romany Songland
  • Violinist James Ehnes for Bach: Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin


"Classical Album of the Year: Large Ensemble" was awarded to Orchestre de l'Agora, violinist Marina Thibeault, and conductor Nicolas Ellis for their album titled Viola Borealis.

The nominees included:

  • National Arts Centre Orchestra/Alexander Shelley for Clara — Robert — Johannes: Lyrical Echoes
  • Ensemble Caprice/Ensemble Vocal Arts-Quebec/Matthias Maute/Karina Gauvin for Handel: Messiah, HWV 56
  • I Musici de Montreal/Jean-Marie Zeitouni for Richard Strauss: Metamorphosen — Arvo Pärt: Symphonie No. 4, "Los Angeles"


"Classical Album of the Year: Small Ensemble" was given to cellist Elinor Frey, ensemble Rosa Barocca, and conductor Claude Lapalme for the album, Early Italian Cello Concertos.

The nominees included:

  • Musica Intima/Andrew Balfour for Nagamo
  • Arc Ensemble for Hemsi: Chamber Works
  • Collectif9 for Vagues et ombres
  • Suzie LeBlanc/Marie Nadeau-Tremblay/Vincent Lauzer/Sylvain Bergeron for De la cour de Louis XIV à Shippagan! Chants traditionnels acadiens et airs de cour du XVIIe siècle


"Classical Composition of the Year" went to composer Bekah Simms for her work Bestiary I & II.

The nominees included:

  • Anthony Tan for An Overall Augmented Sense of Well-being
  • Keyan Emami for The Black Fish
  • Nicole Lizée for Prayers for Ruins
  • Vincent Ho for Supervillain Études


First held in the 1970s, the awards are presented by the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences to recognize outstanding achievements in the music industry. They were named in honor of Pierre Juneau, the first president of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) and former president of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC).

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