Michelle Cann Receives Andrew Wolf Chamber Music Award; $25,000 prize honors contributions to chamber music by a young pianist

Michelle Canné

PHILADELPHIA—February 7, 2022—The Curtis Institute of Musictogether with Bay Chamber Concertsis pleased to announce that pianist Michelle Canné has received the 2022 Andrew Wolf Chamber Music Award. Ms. Cann’s remarkable career has already been noted by the top honor from the Sphinx Organization, collaborations with artists including Leila Josefowicz, the Catalyst Quartet, and Karen Slack, and invitations from the Chamber Music Society of Detroit, Chamber Music Cincinnati, and San Francisco Performances. With the Catalyst Quartet, Ms. Cann recorded piano quintets of Florence Price, released in February 2022 by Azica Records. She is represented by Curtis’s professional artist management initiative.

The Andrew Wolf Chamber Music Award of $25,000 recognizes a pianist under the age of forty who has made a serious commitment and contribution to the landscape of chamber music. As the most recent recipient of the award, Ms. Cann joins a distinguished roster of a dozen prizewinners, which includes fellow Curtis alumni Jonathan Biss (’01), Anna Polonsky (’99), and Natalie Zhu (’97).

In selecting Ms. Cann as the 2022 winner, the award committee praised, “Michelle has a rare combination of gifts. This includes a wonderful technique and superb musicianship, of course. But it also includes that rare ability to show a unique musical personality while at the same time supporting and encouraging the voices of others in a chamber music ensemble.”

“A compelling, sparkling virtuoso” (Boston Music Intelligencer), pianist Michelle Canné
made her orchestral debut at age fourteen and has since performed as a soloist with numerous orchestras including The Philadelphia Orchestra, The Cleveland Orchestra, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, and the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra.

A champion of the music of Florence Price, Ms. Cann performed the New York City premiere of the composer’s Piano Concerto in One Movement with The Dream Unfinished Orchestra in July 2016 and the Philadelphia premiere with The Philadelphia Orchestra in February 2021, which the Philadelphia Inquirer called “exquisite.”

Highlights of her 2021–22 season include debut performances with the Atlanta, Detroit, and St. Louis symphony orchestras, as well as her Canadian concert debut with the National Arts Center Orchestra in Ottawa. In March she will receive the 2022 Sphinx Medal of Excellence, the highest honor bestowed by the Sphinx Organization. Embracing a dual role as both performer and pedagogue, her season includes teaching residencies at the Gilmore International Keyboard Festival and the National Conference of the Music Teachers National Association.

Ms. Cann regularly appears in solo and chamber recitals throughout the US, China, and South Korea. Notable venues include the National Center for the Performing Arts (Beijing), the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (Washington, DC), Walt Disney Concert Hall (Los Angeles), and the Barbican (London). She has also appeared as cohost and collaborative pianist with NPR’s From The Top.

An award winner at top international competitions, in 2019 she served as the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra’s MAC Music Innovator in recognition of her role as an African-American classical musician who embodies artistry, innovation, and a commitment to education and community engagement.

Ms. Cann studied at the Cleveland Institute of Music and the Curtis Institute of Music, where she holds the inaugural Eleanor Sokoloff Chair in Piano Studies.

Established in 1986, the Andrew Wolf Chamber Music Award
honors the memory of Andrew Wolf, a 1966 graduate of the Curtis Institute, a cofounder of Bay Chamber Concerts, and a leading chamber music pianist, who died in 1985 at age 42. Wolf collaborated with many distinguished musicians during his short career and established a specialty in chamber music. As a teenager, he cofounded Bay Chamber Concerts in Rockport, Maine, with the idea of ​​giving talented young musicians an opportunity to perform with some of the world’s great artists. Today, Bay Chamber Concerts continues its tradition of discovering, supporting, and encouraging extraordinary young musicians and sponsors this prize.

Nominations for the award are made by leaders in the world of chamber music and, like the overall selection process, are not made public to honor Mr. Wolf’s concern that performers should not be stigmatized by competing and not winning competitions. In the final round to determine the winner, judges attend live performances anonymously to hear finalists play.

More information about Ms. Cann is available at Curtis.edu/MichelleCann.

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