Godwin Friesen – 2017 Shurniak Concerto Competition

Godwin Friesen made a big impression on the patrons of the SSO in the fall of 2016 when he was on stage with Thomas Yu to play Saint Saens Carnival of the Animals – and then a few months later he won the Shurniak Concerto Competition!

The Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra partners with the Saskatchewan Music Festival Association to present the winners of both the Shurniak Concerto Competition and the Wallis Opera Competition.  This is not only an exciting opportunity to support the exceptional young talents in our province, its proven to be a remarkable stepping stone for emerging Saskatchewan artists.  Past winners of the competitions include Thomas Yu, Lahni Russell, Oxana Ossiptshouk, Samuel Deason, and many more!

Godwin Friesen was born into a home rich with music and quickly realized his own love for composition and performance. He learned a lot as a young singer and multi-instrumentalist in the Friesen Family Band, which recorded three albums and toured across the country. While studying piano with Saskatoon’s Bonnie Nicholson, Godwin placed first at the 2015 National Music Festival and received the national Senior Mary Gardiner Award in Canadian contemporary music. In 2016 he performed Saint-Saens’ Carnival of the Animals with pianist Thomas Yu and the SSO. As winner of the 2017 Shurniak Concerto Competition, he performed Shostakovich’s 2nd Piano Concerto with the RSO in October. Last June, Godwin was one of ten pianists selected to compete in the 2018 PianoArts North American Competition in Milwaukee, where he won the Audience Communication Award. His first composition for orchestra, Pilgrimage, was premiered by the Saskatoon Youth Orchestra last spring. Godwin is a regular keyboardist in worship at Toronto’s C3 Church and Saskatoon’s The Rock. One of his acquired skills—as whimsical as parts of Ravel’s Concerto in G—is juggling five balls. He is currently studying on full-tuition scholarship at The Glenn Gould School in Toronto, under the direction of John O’Conor.

Godwin’s Ravel Concerto is something very special – so we can’t wait for you to hear it live with the SSO this weekend!

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