MDA Scholarship 2016
Winner: Julia Debowska, voice, Ontario
Julia Debowska is a full scholarship student at the Phil and Eli Taylor Performance Academy for Young Artists of the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, Canada.
Since the age of 11, she has appeared as a soloist with orchestras, including the Toronto Sinfonietta, the Celebrity Symphony Orchestra, the Symphony on the Bay Orchestra, and the Symphony Orchestra of the Academy of Arts, Poland. She has performed twice in Carnegie Hall, NY as a Gold Medal Winner of the AADGT International Young Gifted Musicians' Festival "Passion of Music". She was nominated for and chosen by the Saarburg International Music Festival Committee to receive a scholarship and attend the two-week summer music program in Saarburg, Germany.
In October 2015, Julia received III Prize (Group A1, 16-17) at the IV Giulio Perotti International Vocal Competition in Uckermünde, Germany. In June 2016, Julia was a National Finalist and Winner at the Canadian Music Competition, receiving First Place with the highest mark (96%) for voice (ages 18-33) in the finals. She was accepted and spent the summer of 2016 training at the Canadian Vocal Arts Institute in Montréal, led by Joan Dornemann.
Runner-up: Susan Xia, piano, British Columbia
Susan Xia is going into her second year at the University of British Columbia pursuing a Bachelor of Music (Piano Performance) and Master of Management. With a passion for music, she is keen on bringing this art form to the rest of the world. Having started piano at the age of nine, Susan’s teachers include Boris Konovalov and Corey Hamm. She is a winner of many awards and scholarships including the D.C. and H.L. Knigge Entrance Scholarship in Music and the School of Music Twenty-Fifth Anniversary Scholarship. She has also won various piano competitions including the Pacific International Youth Music Festival, British Columbia Conservatory of Music Festival and the Vancouver International Festival of Russian Music. Her continuing interest in music also extends to sharing her passion with others through teaching piano and music theory to individuals of all ages. Her specialties include tailoring her teaching methods to her students’ learning style and inspiring her students to engage with music. As a dedicated musician, she has experimented with many different instruments, including violin and trombone, as well as styles, including pop culture and jazz influences, to help her better understand the possibilities that music holds. Susan Xia's ultimate musical goal is to bring the power of music to others.
MDA Scholarship 2015
Winner: Ekaterina Chelekhova, voice, Ontario
Ekaterina Chelekhova was born on November 29, 1995. While living in Russia, she studied at the conservatory of music for children. When she was 3 years old, she recorded two radio commercials, and a year later won the vocal competition in Kaliningrad.
After living in Russia for six years, Ekaterina and her family moved to Canada. During her early years she participated in many competitions and concerts. When she was 10 she took part in her first opera, "Carmen", and was also a gymnast and won many medals.
Over the years, she has sung with Opera Bel Canto, StageToneScape and with Opera Ontario, in productions including "The Magic Flute", "Tosca", "La Traviata", "Cavaleria Rusticana" and "Pagliacci" and also played the role of Charity Hope Valentine in the production "Sweet Charity."
Up until last year, Ekaterina studied at the Conservatory of Music in Toronto and took classes with Jean MacPhail. During the winter in 2013, she was featured on Buffallo Radio and sang the music of Rossini and Rimsky Korsakov.
Since then she finished her studies in piano, and received her diploma for ARCT in Piano Pedagogy, and received the Gold Medal for highest mark in Grade 10 voice.
Last year, Ekaterina auditioned for the Conservatorio G.Verdi in Milan, Italy, and was admitted after being selected from more than 50 other contestants. She is now in her second year of studies, and hopes to one day fulfill her dream of singing on the Metropolitan stage in New York.