Prix d'Europe

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The Prix d'Europe is a prestigious Canadian study grant that is funded by the Ministère des Affaires culturelles du Québec of the Government of Quebec. Established in 1911, the award has been distributed annually to a single individual through competition with the exception of 1960-1973 and 2009 when there was a potential for 2 prizes each year and 1971 when no prize was given. Winners of the grant are given a cash prize towards furthering their musical education abroad in Europe. Past winners of the prize include a large number of notable Canadian musicians.[1]


J.-Arthur Paquet, a Quebecian businessman and organist who was treasurer of the Académie de musique du Québec, was responsible for spearheading the grant's creation in 1911. Paquet gained the support of the academy's board and its secretary, Joseph-Arthur Bernier, and a plan by the school for the project was brought to Quebec premier Sir Lomer Gouin for his personal approval. Gouin supported the project and through his influence the National Assembly of Quebec passed a law promoting the development of musical art on 24 March 1911 which included funding the Prix d'Europe.[1]

The Prix d'Europe initially awarded a cash prize of $3000 in 1911, at that time a very large sum of money. The sum was raised in 1959 ($5000), 1973 ($8000), and (1988). For more than the first 40 years of their history individual participants competed in their respective categories for a single prize. In 1960 two prizes were established: a prize for a keyboardist or vocalist, and a prize for an orchestral instrumentalist or composer. Some years only one prize was given when the judges deemed there was not a suitable winner in a particular category. In 1974 the competition returned to its original state of offering just a single prize. In 2009 two prizes were given.[1]

On two occasions the Prix d'Europe awarded special grants to individuals: in 1924 to violinist Norman Herschorn and in 1926 to pianist Alice Ste-Marie. The 1938 winner of the competition, Marcel Hébert, drowned before he could avail himself of the grant awarded to him. Accordingly, his grant was distributed to two other participants in that year's competition: Noël Brunet and Georges Savaria. No prize was given in 1971 as the judges felt that no applicant had demonstrated a sufficient level of skill to have earned the prize.[1]






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