Critiques et Commentaires

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“Soprano winner of coveted E-gré crown.”
Diane Nelson. (Brandon Sun)

After hearing her competition, Elisabeth Pomès was convinced there was no way she could win.

But after hearing Pomès, the jurors of the 16th annual Eckhardt-Gramatté National Music Competition (E-gré) were convinced she was just what they were looking and listening for. The 35 year-old soprano was awarded the E-gré’s $5,000 first prize as well as the coveted winner’s tour.

“It feels wonderful–I was really overwhelmed,” Pomès said Sunday evening following the announcement of her victory. “I just feel very grateful–it’s as if all of the effort I’ve put in has been recognized.”

Pomès, a native of France who has trained in Montreal and Toronto, said she was surprised that she dominated the competition. The talents of tenor Michiel Shrey who took the $3,000 second place prize (and also won the $700 City of Brandon award for best performance of the commissioned piece) and the third place winner, former Brandon university music student, Brenda Gluska, were impressive.

“They were so wonderful,” Pomès said, still incredulous.

This was Pomès’ second visit to the competition–she competed in the 1990 E-gré where she said she learned a lot. Her area of specialty is contemporary music–she is thrilled the recital tour, which is crown jewel of E-gré, will allow her to bring the art form to a wider audience. And she would be even more delighted should the competition prove to be the same door-opener for her it has been for other musicians who have made careers out of performing on the concert stage.

“I would love to perform contemporary music and bring that repertoire, especially Canadian music, to other countries–my goodness, that would be wonderful,” Pomès said.

She likes contemporary music particularly because it allows her to be theatrical and challenges her abilities.

“Here you can create a lot of sounds with your voice–you can explore,” Pomès said, “That’s what I like–stretching my limits.”

The Eckhardt-Gramatté National Music Competition for the performance of Canadian Music is a memorial to the composer-pianist-violinist who spent the last 21 years of her life in Manitoba. It fulfills her lifelong dream of creating a means by which the music of contemporary composers could make its presence felt upon young artists on the threshold of their careers.

The E-gré rotates between violin, piano and voice and has been held annually since 1976 at Brandon University.

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