The Walter Carsen Prize

The Gryphon Trio will be presented with the Walter Carsen Prize for Excellence in Performing Arts prior to their performance on Thursday December 5, 2013.  At that performance, they will play a piece to celebrate their 20th anniversary commissioned from R. Murray Schafer, a recipient of the Walter Carsen Prize in 2005.

So what is the Walter Carsen Prize for Excellence in Performing Arts?  It “recognizes the highest level of artistic excellence and distinguished career achievement by a Canadian professional artist in music, theatre or dance.” (  The prize is awarded annually, cycling through the various mediums, with music being the category of choice once every four years.  Nominees are put forward by a fellow peer and often the prize is awarded to an individual.  It can, as it has been this year, be awarded to a small ensemble provided that each artist meet the guidelines. The award is administered by the Canada Council for the Arts.

Walter Carsen passed away last year at the age of 100.  He was a very successful businessman and an amazing supporter of the arts in general.  He had a long and supportive association with the National Ballet of Canada, helping to fund the Walter Carsen Centre and underwriting a number of productions.  He supported the Shaw Festival and the Art Gallery of Ontario.  In 2001, he donated over $1 million to create the Walter Carsen Prize for Excellence in Performing Arts in order to recognize outstanding arts professionals.   His generous spirit shall live on with the many projects he has helped create.

Music Toronto’s audiences have always known how special the Trio is and it is always a pleasure to have them perform on our stage.  It will be extra special this year as we watch them receive well deserved national recognition.  Congratulations to the Gryphon Trio!


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