Three DMA composition students recognized with Faculty of Music’s top honour

20 June 2019

The Faculty of Music is thrilled to announce that this year’s graduating awards will go to three outstanding composers: Parisa Sabet and Bekah Simms are this year’s Tecumseh Sherman Rogers and William and Phyllis Waters Graduating Award winners, respectively, each receiving $25,000. Roydon Tse, as runner up, will receive a third prize valued at $15,000.

Parisa Sabet
Tecumseh Sherman Rogers Graduating Award

Following completion of her undergraduate degree at Roosevelt University in Chicago, Iranian-Canadian composer Parisa Sabet (pictured above) returned to Toronto for graduate studies, working under the supervision of composer and professor Christos Hatzis. With a repertoire spanning solo works to full orchestral pieces, Parisa’s compositions have won numerous competitions and have been performed throughout North America. Parisa’s work includes sound design and film composition, and she has scored several documentaries focused on Iranians who have been persecuted due to their beliefs. A recipient of multiple awards and honours including the inaugural Irene R. Miller and Anoush Khoshkish Fellowship in Music, Parisa also received a 2013-14 Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Canada Graduate Scholarship for her research on Indigenous music by women in Iran.

Bekah Simms
William and Phyllis Waters Graduating Award

Originally from St. John’s Newfoundland, Bekah Simms began her graduate work at the University of Toronto in 2014 as a student of composer and professor Gary Kulesha. Two years later, CBC named Bekah to its 30 hot Canadian classical musicians under 30 list and she was well on her way to her current position as a sought-after composer, with music performed and commissioned by ensembles and artists throughout North America. Bekah has received over 25 awards and honours including the Toronto Emerging Composer Award, the Karen Kieser Prize in Canadian Music and, earlier this year, a JUNO Award nomination for Classical Composition of the Year for “Granitic.” Bekah released her first album, impurity chains, last year. Photo credit: Bo Huang

Roydon Tse
Runner up, Faculty of Music Graduating Awards

Originally from Hong Kong, composer, pianist and educator Roydon Tse immigrated to Canada in 2007 and began his post-secondary music education at the University of British Columbia, followed by graduate studies at the University of Toronto. Roydon has received over 40 prizes and awards for his music including the SOCAN Foundation Awards for Young Composers, the Washington International Composition Competition and the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta’s Emerging Artist Award. This past spring, Roydon’s work "Release" for Harp won the Costello Competition in Philadelphia. Roydon is the third U of T Music composition student to win the prestigious competition in its six-year history (Bekah Simms won in 2015 and Matthias McIntire in 2016). Photo credit: Tim Blank

We are very pleased to present the four finalists, representing four different areas of study, with Faculty of Music Graduating Awards valued at $10,000 each. Congratulations to Pauline (Julia) Henderson (Master of Music, Music Technology & Digital Media), Nolan Sprangers (Bachelor of Music – History, Culture and Theory), Noah Franche-Nolan (Bachelor of Music - Jazz Comprehensive, Piano) and Alexandra Hetherington (Bachelor of Music in Performance, Voice), pictured from left in photo, along with Dr. John Lawson, Dean Don McLean, Parisa Sabet, Bekah Simms and Roydon Tse.

“Each year as we consider candidates for our prestigious graduating awards (thanks to the visionary support of stewarding donors John Lawson and William Waters), we are inspired by the quality and diversity of our applicants. This year three DMA composition graduates, each with a distinct creative voice and well-established career path, were our top awardees. We were also able to recognize exceptional candidates from Music Technology & Digital Media, Jazz-Comprehensive, Voice Performance-Composition, and Musicology programs — demonstrating the extraordinary range of multidisciplinary accomplishment that characterizes U of T Music. Congratulations to our graduating award winners and to all our 2018-2019 100th anniversary season graduates. Represent us well.”
– Don McLean, Dean and Professor, Faculty of Music

Congratulations to all our award recipients and to U of T Music’s Class of 2019!

Established in 2005, the William and Phyllis Waters Graduating Award created by Dr. William Waters and the Tecumseh Sherman Rogers Graduating Award created by Dr. John B. Lawson are, at $25,000.00 each, the largest awards given by the Faculty of Music. The competitive application process is open to graduating students who are Ontario residents and includes a student submission outlining future plans and how the award will assist with career development, and letters of recommendation from faculty members.

List of previous recipients:

Tecumseh Sherman Rogers Graduating Award
2018 – Joel Allison (MMus Opera 2018)
2017 – Younggun Kim (DMA Piano Performance 2017)
2016 – Emily D’Angelo (BMusPerf Voice 2016)
2015 – Charles Sy (MMus Opera 2015, BMusPerf Voice 2013)
2014 – Alexandra Smither (BMusPerf Voice 2014)
2013 – Andrew Haji (MMus Opera 2013, BMusPerf Voice 2011)
2012 – Riho Maimets (MMus Composition 2012)
2011 – Leslie Ann Bradley (MMus Voice Performance 2011, OpDip 2002, BMusPerf Voice 2000)
2010 – Lindsay Barrett (OpDip 2010)
2009 – Christopher Ku (MA Music 2009, BMus 2007)
2008 – Lucille Mok (BMus 2008)
2007 – Christopher Donnelly (MMus 2007 Jazz Piano, BMusPerf Jazz Piano 2005)
2006 – Ryan Jackson (BMusPerf Organ 2006)

William and Phyllis Waters Graduating Award
2018 – Elaine Choi (DMA Choral Conducting 2018, MMus Choral Conducting 2010, BMus 2008)
2017 – Matthew Emery (MMus Composition 2017)
2016 – Bianca Chambul (BMusPerf Bassoon 2016)
2015 – Michael Bridge (BMusPerf Accordion 2015)
2014 – David Zucchi (BMusPerf Saxophone 2014)
2013 – Matt Woroshyl (BMusPerf Jazz Saxophone 2013)
2012 – Coco Chen (BMusPerf Violin 2012)
2011 – Laura Silberberg (MMus Composition 2010, BMus 2008)
2010 – Alex Goodman (BMusPerf Jazz Guitar 2010)
2009 – Lauren Sweetman (MA Music Ethnomusicology 2009, BMus 2007)
2008 – Katarzyna Sadej (MMus Voice Performance 2008)
2007 – Stephen Hegedus (MMus Voice Performance 2007, BMusPerf Voice 2005)
2006 – Sarah Nematallah (BMusPerf Violin 2006)


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