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Classical Juno nominees underline importance of public support for Canadian musicmaking

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The nominees for the 2012 Juno Awards are released. Toronto musicians figure prominently in all categories, as their concentration in the country’s largest city should.

But what really strikes me about the list is the number of Quebec-based soloists and ensembles on the classical lists. This is because the provincial government continues to richly subsidize two local classical music labels, Analekta and ATMA Classique.

There is no Toronto or Ontario label, because of the absence of additional financial support. Tafelmusik has repossessed as much of its recorded music as it possibly can, so it can take control over its commercial destiny — but it is doing so on its own account. The same is true for the Toronto Symphony, which has been relying on private donors to subsidize its new live-concert recording releases.

Fortunately, we have Centrediscs, the house label of the Toronto-based Canadian Music Centre, which is committed to maintaining a representative sample of contemporary composers on the world’s list of new releases.

Of particular note, in my opinion, is Glass Houses Revisited, the late Toronto composer Ann Southam’s parting gift to piano soloist, Christina Petrowska Quilico. Here is Quilico performing the final track on her nominated disc, Glass Houses No. 5:

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