Ottawa’s Lara Deutsch wins $125,000 Prix Goyer

Lara Deutsch.

Ottawa’s Lara Deutsch was suffering from a bout of strep throat when she got a call to attend a meeting that “I was told was very important and couldn’t be rescheduled.”

Even though she was sick — and on antibiotics — she went. Good thing. She was handed a glass of champagne and told she had won the Mécénat Musica Prix Goyer 2019-20.

The winner of the Collaborative Emerging Artist award receives $125,000. It is the largest such award in Canada and is one of the largest prizes awarded in the world for a collaborative emerging artist in classical music.

Deutsch said she didn’t know she was being considered until the moment she found out.

“My jaw dropped about a foot and then I probably said some combination of ‘Wow’ and ‘Thank you’ and ‘Wow’.”

The award, presented biennially, is named for Jean-Pierre Goyer and honours his contributions to music, arts and culture in Montréal, Québec and Canada. Goyer was chairman of the Conseil des arts de Montréal and chairman of the Orchestre Métropolitain. He hired the then 26 year old Yannick Nézet-Séguin to conduct the orchestra.

The prize will be presented to Deutsch on Sept. 11 at 6 p.m. at the Mécénat Musica and Ensemble Vocal Arts-Québec concert at Montreal’s Chapelle historique du Bon Pasteur.

Deutsch has been named a Hot 30 Under 30 Canadian Classical Musicians by CBC Music. The flutist was a first prize winner of the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal’s 2014 Manulife competition. She won seven prizes at this event.

She is a past Grand Prize Winner of the National Arts Centre Orchestra Bursary Competition (2014) and the Canadian Music Competition (2010) and is a laureate of the Concours Prix d’Europe (2016).

She has played chamber music across North America and regularly collaborates with artists such as pianists Philip Chiu and Frédéric Lacroix, oboist Anna Petersen and harpist Emily Belvedere, with whom she founded Duo Kalysta. They have just released their first album, Origins (Leaf Music). Duo Kalysta will be touring the record in 2020.

So what is she going to do with all that cash?

“Well, first things first. I will buy two gifts: a very nice bottle of whiskey for my partner, Nathan, and a fancy meal for my Mom (Annie). The two of them have been the most patient and supportive people in my life for many years, and there’s no way I’d be where I am without them.

“I know everyone says it, but I do sincerely mean it – they’ve both made a lot of sacrifices for me so that I can pursue what I love doing.  Not to mention thousands of hours of listening, truthful feedback, dropping everything to help when I’m in a bind, and reminding me to keep a healthy work-life balance.” 

She also intends to make a donation to the Ottawa Food Bank. After that I’m going to use it to give myself the financial freedom to pursue some of my own creative projects, as well as the luxury of a little more downtime to do the non-musical things I love. (And, realistically, I’ll probably end up buying a gown that I’ve been eyeing for a while.)

There is no requirement attached to the award which is given, Deutsch said, “on the understanding that the recipient knows what’s best for her or his career. It’s a generous gift and a huge privilege.”

She says she is grateful for the award and was full of praise for Mécénat Musica “not just for the prize, but for the immense amount of fundraising they’re doing for the arts.”

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Peter Robb began his connection with the arts community in Ottawa in the mid-1980s when he was the administrator and public relations director of the Great Canadian Theatre Company. After a long career in journalism with the Ottawa Citizen where he served in a number of different posts he returned to the arts when he became the Citizen's arts editor.