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Toronto-area pianists, choreographers among Ontario performing arts award winners


TORONTO — A Métis playwright, a pianist who combines baroque and Middle Eastern music and a dance industry veteran are among the winners of this year’s Johanna Metcalf Performing Arts Prizes. 

The Metcalf Foundation awarded five Ontario artists $25,000 each, plus $10,000 for their selected proteges. 

The winners named at a Toronto ceremony include Métis playwright, actor and Toronto theatre director Keith Barker with protégé Chris Mejaki; and Brampton-born pianist and composer John Kameel Farah, with protégé Evan Pointner.

Other Toronto-area winners include choreographer and dancer Natasha Powell, with her protégé Raoul Wilke; composer and music educator Suba Sankaran, with protégé Shirsha Chakraborty; and orchestra composer Roydon Tse, with protégé Sami Anguaya. 

The five winners, chosen from a list of 15 finalists, have all been producing and showing work for at least a decade. The remaining 10 finalists will each receive $2,000. 

Organizers say the prizes — dubbed "Johannas" — reward artists who have made “a recognized impact on the field and the public, and show great promise in the ongoing pursuit of their ambitious and visionary practices.”

Nominees were selected through juried Ontario Arts Council competitions in dance, music, opera and theatre, as well as competitions focused on francophone, Indigenous and northern communities. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 29, 2023.

The Canadian Press

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