Oakville composer named one of five winners of 2021 Johanna Metcalf Performing Arts Prizes


Published May 20, 2022 at 10:59 am

Oakville’s Ian Cusson can add a 2021 Johanna Metcalf Performing Arts Prize to his mantle.

The local composer was named one of five winners of the prestigious provincial performing arts award at a special ceremony, Thursday night, at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto.

The other four winners named were musician iskwē, theatre director Ravi Jain, multidisciplinary artist Sandra Laronde and theatre director and playwright Marilo Nuñez.

Each winner gets $25,000 and selected a protégé as a way of celebrating early career artists who are showing formidable promise.

The five protégés are: Beverley McKiver, composer (protégé of Ian Cusson); Zeegwon “Zee” Shilling, musician (iskwē); Aaron Jan, theatre director (Ravi Jain); Aria Evans, interdisciplinary artist (Sandra Laronde); and Margarita Valderrama, actor and playwright (Marilo Nuñez).

Protégés were awarded $10,000 each, a $5,000 increase from the inaugural prize year in appreciation of the particular challenges faced by artists growing into their careers over these last two years.

Cusson is a composer of art song, opera, and orchestral work. Of Métis (Georgian Bay Métis Community) and French-Canadian descent, his work explores the Canadian Indigenous experience including the history of the Métis people, the hybridity of mixed-racial identity, and the intersection of Western and Indigenous cultures.
This performing arts prize is named in honour of Johanna Metcalf, who was at the heart of the Metcalf Foundation’s work for over 40 years. The prize was created to amplify Johanna’s legacy as a passionate supporter of the arts and artists.

Established in 2019, the Johannas celebrate artists in Ontario who have made a recognized impact on the field and the public, and show great promise in the ongoing pursuit of their ambitious and visionary practices.

The Johannasare delivered on a biennial basis in partnership with the Ontario Arts Council (OAC).

The winners were selected from a list of 15 finalists.