The Canada Council for the Arts has awarded the 2018 Virginia Parker Prize to 24-year-old violinist and Royal Conservatory alumnus Blake Pouliot. The young musician earned the prestigious $25,000 prize in recognition of his extraordinary artistry as well his cultural contributions both nationally and internationally. He received the prize in Montreal on November 8, 2018 during a performance at Maison symphonique.
Blake joins an illustrious list of Canadian classical musicians who are past prizewinners, including fellow Royal Conservatory alumni Jon Kimura and James Parker; Michael Schade; Stewart Goodyear; and Isabel Bayrakdarian.
— Blake Pouliot (@VlnBlake) November 5, 2018
The announcement of the award comes just weeks after Blake earned raves for his performance of Pablo de Sarasate’s Ziegeunerweisen at the National Arts Centre—the Ottawa Citizen exclaimed that the talented violinist “left jaws on the ground”.
In September, Blake was one of 17 musicians to be named winners of the 2018 Canada Council Musical Instrument Bank Competition, which earned him the privilege of a performing on a 1729 Guarneri del Gesù violin for three years.
Blake is an alumnus of The Phil and Eli Taylor Performance Academy for Young Artists, The Royal Conservatory of Music’s internationally acclaimed training program for extraordinary young classical musicians. While at The Taylor Academy, he studied with Erika Raum and Marie Bérard. He is also a graduate of The Royal Conservatory Certificate Program, the Conservatory’s celebrated system of music study and assessment.
The Toronto native has won the Grand Prize at the 2016 OSM Manulife Competition and has performed with leading orchestras across North America, including the Los Angeles Philharmonic under Sir Neville Marriner. Blake is also an award-winning composer and accomplished actor. In the words of the Toronto Star, Blake is “one of those special talents that come along once in a lifetime".