Francis Choinière, choral conductor and Artistic Director of Orchestre Philharmonique et Choeur des Mélomanes, Orchestre FILMharmonique & Ensemble Classico Moderne is the winner of the $125,000 Mécénat Musica Prix Goyer 2023-2024 for Collaborative Emerging Artist.

Mécénat Musica Prix Goyer is the biggest prize of its kind in Canada and one of the largest in the world for a collaborative emerging artist in classical music. Mécénat Musica Prix Goyer honours Jean-Pierre Goyer and his contributions to music, arts and culture in Montréal, Québec and Canada. Mr. Goyer was Chairman of the Conseil des arts de Montréal and Chairman of the Orchestre Métropolitain where he hired Yannick Nézet-Séguin as emerging conductor at the age of 25 years old.

“We believed that we could draw new audiences into the concert hall and expose them to classical music.”

During a conversation with The Montrealer, Francis said; “This is an honour and a humbling experience. You can’t apply or make a submission for this prize. The committee does their research and selected me based on my work as a collaborative artist.”

Continuing, Francis adds; “Our first production was Lord Of The Rings, using a live orchestra for the music. It’s a film that we loved – and we believed that we could draw new audiences into the concert hall and expose them to classical music. It worked and we’ve enjoyed several other sold-out presentations. We’ve also presented programs called Music of the Movies and films that include classical music, like The Sorcerer’s Apprentice by Disney.”   

Mécénat Musica Prix Goyer is the initiative of Mécénat Musica and Ensemble Caprice whose donors provide the prize with $5,000 from each $25,000 donation. Under Choinière’s leadership, $50,000 of the Mécénat Musica Prix Goyer is being used to create, for the artist’s cultural organization Orchestre Philharmonique et Choeur des Mélomanes, a $1,000,000 Mécénat Musica in-perpetuity fund.

Since the start of the pandemic March 2020, Francis Choinière has actively engaged in the cultural music scene to bring back audiences to concert halls, generating over $2,500,000 in ticket sales across his ensembles. During this same period, Francis conducted 43 performances in 10 different concert halls across seven cities in Québec and Ontario including Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier, Maison Symphonique, Grand Théâtre de Québec, and Roy Thompson Hall.

Francis Choinière is a versatile musician, active as a choral and orchestral conductor, concert producer, pianist, and composer. One of CBC’s 30 hot Canadian classical musicians under 30 in 2020, Francis is the Artistic Director and Conductor of the OPCM (Orchestre Philharmonique et Choeur des Mélomanes), performing large choral and symphonic masterworks. Francis is also Principal Conductor and Co-Artistic Director of l’Orchestre FILMharmonique and Ensemble Classico Moderne, conducting in a number of pan Canadian tours.

Francis Choinière was assistant conductor at the Canadian Opera Company (COC) for Bizet’s Carmen with conductor Jacques Lacombe in 2022. Francis was assistant and cover conductor of the National Arts Centre Orchestra under Alexander Shelley for season 2020-2021.

Francis is also President and co-founder of GFN Productions, passionately developing new classical music audiences by presenting symphony orchestras with film, including Fantasia, Titanic, Star Wars, and Lord of the Rings.

Previous Mécénat Musica Prix Goyer Collaborative Emerging Artist recipients include Philip Chiu, piano 2015-16; Marc Djokic, violon 2017-18; Lara Deutsch, flute 2019-20; and Nicolas Ellis, conductor 2021-22.

Mécénat Musica is a cultural program created by donors for donors. Mécénat Musica program makes a sustainable contribution to the health of all by supporting music and culture. Mécénat Musica program has created $81,000,000 of capital in perpetuity for 50 Québec cultural organizations with large donations from more than 600 Mécénat Musica individuals and families with funds administered by three partner community foundations: Foundation of Greater Montreal, the Jewish Community Foundation of Montreal and Fondation Québec Philanthrope.

Mécénat Musica has launched several health, music, and community initiatives since March 2020 including Mécénat Musica: Mini-Concerts Santé (Prix Opus Événement musical de l’année 2020), Mini-Opéras Santé, Prix HEC Artistes, Mini-Galas, ArtChoral and Prix 3 Femmes – dedicated to developing new contemporary operas by emerging female and non-binary Canadian creators.

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