(March 4, 1999, Gazette)
Flutist Michelle Cheramy, a faculty member in Memorial's School of Music, came first in the 1999 Canadian Concerto Competition sponsored by the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra's rESOund Festival of Contemporary Music.
Ms. Cheramy claimed the first prize - a $5000 cash award and an invitation for a return engagement with the ESO - on Feb. 13 for her performance of Jacques Hétu's Concerto for Flute and Orchestra.
The Canadian Concerto Competition was a key event at the first annual rESOund Festival. Taped performances submitted from across the country, as well as by Canadians living in the USA and Europe, were screened by a pre-selection committee and eight semifinalists were chosen to play at the festival.
Ms. Cheramy, violinist Anita Dusevic of Calgary, and violist Nicolò Eugelmi from Vancouver were selected to perform with the Edmonton Symphony in the final round of the competition, which was recorded by CBC's Two New Hours for future national broadcast.
Given the fierce competition she faced, Ms. Cheramy said she is pleased with her win.
"It was very exciting to win, especially since I thought the violinist played very well," she said. "I was really thrilled that the jury chose me.
"The opportunity to go back and play with the orchestra again is the most significant part of this honour. This kind of national exposure is important for an artist. It gets your name a little better known. I am hoping this recognition will help me tap into performance opportunities off the island."
Jurors included renowned Canadian flutist Robert Aitken, composer Kelly-Marie Murphy, ESO conductor Grzegorz Nowak and CBC producer David Jaeger.
Ms. Cheramy has been a faculty member in the School of Music at Memorial since 1995, and has maintained an active performing profile, playing concerts not only in communities across the island, but also in British Columbia, Alberta and the United States.
She said performing adds a dimension to her teaching.
"In addition to teaching flute I teach music theory, which is a more academic area," she said. "It's absolutely vital for me to maintain a profile as a performer and remain active. Without that intellectual stimulation it's very difficult to convey enthusiasm to students."
Ms. Cheramy has also contributed to the development of young musicians in the province in many ways, such as volunteering her services as clinician in Corner Brook schools, appearing as soloist with the Avalon East District Honour Band, and organizing the 1997 Avalon Flute Fest workshops.