Bader and Overton Canadian Cello Competition May 6-9 2020


Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts, Queen’s University announces the 


Applications open September 2nd, 2019

Kingston, Ontario …. On September 2, 2019, the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts at Queen’s University will launch a new major cello competition for Canada, the BADER AND OVERTON CANADIAN CELLO COMPETITION. The competition will be held May 6-9, 2020 at the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts (“the Isabel”) in Kingston, Ontario. The Bader and Overton Canadian Cello Competition has been made possible through the generosity of the Isabel Bader Fund, A Bader Philanthropy, whose vision, imagination and generosity will enable gifted emerging musicians to learn, inspire, perform, and develop their careers.

All competition information (including repertoire) can be found at

For a virtual tour of the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts, please visit:


FIRST PRIZE: The first prizewinner will be awarded The Marion Overton Dick Memorial Cello Prize for $20,000 CAD, a future engagement to perform with the Kingston Symphony, and a future engagement to perform a recital at the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts that will be recorded by CBC Music for national broadcast.

SECOND PRIZE: The second prizewinner will be awarded The Clifford Overton Prize for $6,000 CAD.

THIRD PRIZE: The third prizewinner will be awarded The Marg Foster and Heather Dick Prize for $4,000 CAD.

THE BADER FAMILY AUDIENCE PRIZEOn Saturday, May 9 after the three finalists perform, the audience will vote by ballot for their favourite player of the evening. The votes will be tallied and checked, and the audience favourite prizewinner will be awarded the Bader Family Audience Prize for $1,000 CAD.

The Semi-finalist and Finalist performances are at the Isabel and open to the public. These performances will be hosted by Ireneus Zuk, Associate Director of the Dan School of Drama and Music at Queen’s University and jury member and/or chair of numerous prestigious international competitions. Andrew Kwan of Andrew Kwan Artists Management Inc. will provide career advice to all semi-finalists.

“This competition was created to inspire excellence and to provide world-class Canadian cellists with a great professional development opportunity,” says

Tricia Baldwin, Director of the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts. “We are passionate about championing the next generation of artists. Our leap forward has been to establish our own competition here at Queen’s University to foster Canada’s top talent and to provide substantial and much needed support to extraordinarily gifted young Canadian cellists who aspire to a concert career. “

This Competition invites cellists who are Canadian citizens and permanent residents of Canada (as defined by Citizenship and Immigration Canada), between the ages of eighteen (18) to twenty-nine (29) as of January 1, 2020.  The applications go live on September 2 at, and the application deadline is December 5, 2019 at 5 PM (EDT).  Eight semi-finalists will then be chosen to perform at the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts on May 6 and 7, 2020. Subsequently, three finalists will be chosen for the concerto round (with piano) on May 9, 2020.   Bader and Overton Virtuosi Festival pass holders can attend the Semi-Finalist and Finalist concerts at no charge.

The award-winning Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts is a beautiful venue with exceptional acoustics. The Isabel presents internationally acclaimed artists on its presentation series, and the building supports Queen’s music, drama and film undergraduate educational programs. The Isabel was designed by Oslo/New York-based firm Snøhetta and Ottawa’s N45, with acoustics and theatre design by ARUP and Theatre Projects Consultants.

The Isabel is grateful to our distinguished jurors who are committed to supporting the next generation of outstanding talent.  Jury members for the Preliminary, Semi-Finalist and/or Finalist rounds include:


Roman Borys, Toronto and Ottawa ON: Gryphon Trio cellist, Artistic Director of the Ottawa Chamberfest, Sessional Instructor, U. of Toronto.

Minna Rose Chung, Winnipeg MB: Associate Professor of Cello of the Desautels Faculty of Music, University of Manitoba, member of Desautels Piano Trio, and member of the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra.

Denise Djokic, from Halifax NS currently residing in Urbana IL: Soloist, visiting professor at U. of Ottawa, and faculty member of National Youth Orchestra of Canada, named one of the top “25 Canadians Who Are Changing Our World” by Maclean’s Magazine. 

Joseph Elworthy, Vancouver BC: President & CEO of the Vancouver Academy of Music, cellist Joseph Elworthy is a featured soloist, recitalist, and chamber music performer.

Matt Haimovitz, Montreal QC: Soloist praised by The New York Times as a “ferociously talented cellist who brings his megawatt sound and uncommon expressive gifts.” Associate Professor, McGill University in Montreal QC.

David Hetherington, Toronto ON: Member of the Amici Chamber Ensemble, former Associate Principal Cello TSO, faculty member of Glenn Gould School and National Youth Orchestra of Canada.

Christina Mahler, Victoria BC:  Chamber musician, former Principal Cellist of Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, former instructor at U. of Toronto and Tafelmusik Baroque Summer Institute.

Paul Marleyn, Ottawa ON: Chamber musician, former principal cellist of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Professor of Cello at the University of Ottawa.

Evan Mitchell, Kingston ON: Music Director, Kingston Symphony, and guest conductor with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony.

Shauna Rolston, from Edmonton AB currently residing in Toronto ON:  Soloist, chamber musician and member of Piano Plus, Professor of Cello and Head of the Strings Department at the University of Toronto, regular Visiting Artist for the Music and Sound Programs at the Banff Centre.

Wolf Tormann, Kingston ON: Chamber musician, member of the Isabel Quartet, Principal Cellist of Kingston Symphony, and Adjunct Lecturer, Cello, Queen’s University.

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