Carleton music student and pianist Suren Barry took top honours in the piano category at the 2012 National Music Festival this past weekend. Barry successfully performed before a panel of international adjudicators to take the prize at the event in Fort McMurray, Alberta.
Barry was only 11 years old when he was first introduced to the Ottawa community as a burgeoning piano prodigy. In a feature that appeared in an April 2001 edition of the Ottawa Citizen, he was praised for a brilliant performance at the annual Kiwanis Music Festival. Critics have described Barry’s art as “musical with an innate sense of sonority” and “displaying artistry, impressive maturity, depth and mastery for one so young.”
Barry currently studies classical piano with Carleton associate performance faculty member Nicole Presentey.
“Suren Barry is one of those rare individuals who can grasp so completely the creative impulse behind the notes, he practically incarnates the music itself,” said Presentey. “There is no doubt that given a chance, and with great perseverance, he will rise to the top to be recognized as one the great artists of his generation.”
In November 2011, he became the first Carleton music student to perform at the internationally renowned Ottawa Chamber Music Society Series. In spring 2012, he won the Ottawa Kiwanis Festival’s grand prize. In June he was invited to the national competition after winning the top piano prize at the provincial competition in Toronto.
“The competition is extremely rigorous,” said James Wright, associate professor and supervisor of performance studies in the School for Studies in Art and Culture at Carleton. “A win at the National level is an extraordinary accomplishment.”
More than 600,000 performers competed at 223 music festivals across Canada in the run-up to the national competition. This year’s competition drew provincial champions between the ages of 14 and 28 in a range of musical disciplines, including piano, strings, voice, woodwinds, brass, guitar, chamber groups and percussion. Past winners of the nationals include distinguished Canadian classical violinist Martin Beaver, now first violinist with the legendary Tokyo String Quartet.
For more information about the competition, visit the Federation of Canadian Music Festivals website.
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