Winners of the Young Artist Program Auditions for 2019-20 Concert Season

On April 27, 2019, ten young Manitoba classical music students auditioned to become part of Virtuosi Concerts’ 2019-2020 Virtuosi Young Artist Program. Eight winners were selected to perform in the upcoming season. All participants were eligible for an audition prize funded solely by donations from Virtuosi audience patrons.

Virtuosi Concerts’ Young Artist Program exists to promote young classical musicians in Manitoba. Every Virtuosi subscription concert opens with a performance by a Virtuosi Young Artist.

“The Virtuosi Concerts Young Artist Program is quickly becoming Winnipeg‘s most unique performing experience for senior music students. Our program marries two exceptional opportunities: performing for our attentive and enthusiastic Virtuosi patrons; and, interacting and sharing the stage with Virtuosi’s acclaimed international musicians,” says Madeline Hildebrand, former Virtuosi Concerts Young Artist Program Coordinator and VCI Board Member.

Each winning Virtuosi Young Artist performs at the opening of a Virtuosi Concerts performance during the subscription season and is featured in the Virtuosi concert program. They also receive an honorarium and complimentary concert tickets.

Auditions were held at The University of Winnipeg’s Eckhardt-Gramatté Hall, home to the Virtuosi Concerts series. The audition panel consisted of Harry Strub, Virtuosi Concerts Artistic Director; Sarah Jo Kirsch, soprano and VCI board member, and Elation Pauls, WSO Assistant Principal Violin and Co-Artistic Director of the Rosamunde Summer Music Academy.

The eight winners of the 2019-2020 Virtuosi Concerts Young Artist Program Auditions are:

Katrina Tamagi, soprano
Ray Guerard, piano
River Sawchyn, violin
Katherine Mayba, soprano
Paulina Gonzalez, soprano
Seanne Jacob Buenafe, piano
Elisheva Schwartz, cello
Christina Thanisch-Smith, soprano

Virtuosi Concerts Audience Prizes were awarded to the top three performers:

First Place $500          Christina Thanisch-Smith, soprano

Second Place $300      Elisheva Schwartz, cello

Third Place $200         Seanne Jacob Buenafe, piano

The Virtuosi Concerts Young Artist Program also features the Winnipeg Music Festival’s Aikins Memorial Trophy winner for diploma level instrumentalists.

If you would like more information on the Young Artist Program contact:
Sydney Clarke, Concert Administrator at