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June 24-27, 2020 on




  • Semi-Final Rounds:  June 24, 25, 2020 (afternoons starting at noon) 
  • Final Round:  June 25, 2020 (afternoon starting at noon)


      MEDIA RELEASE (June 3, 2020)

The Bader and Overton Canadian Cello Competition was created to inspire excellence and to provide world-class Canadian cellists with a great professional development opportunity.   The Isabel is passionate about championing the next generation of artists. Its leap forward has been to establish our own competition here at Queen’s University to foster Canada’s top talent and to provide substantial and much needed support to extraordinarily gifted young Canadian cellists who aspire to a concert career. 


The objectives for this national Cello Competition are as follows:

  • To invest in the next generation of extraordinary Canadian musicians and to facilitate their individual personal and career development and national exposure.
  • To provide an opportunity for exceptional musicians from across Canada with an opportunity to perform, share their musical achievement and creativity, enhance their skills and learn new repertoire.
  • To evaluate and reflect on musical achievement and creativity in a constructive manner.
  • To encourage interaction between Queen’s University with faculty in top national and international universities.
  • To further enhance the reputation of the Isabel and Queen’s University in North America.


After the successful Isabel Overton Bader Canadian Violin Competition in 2017, the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts at Queen’s University has created the Bader and Overton Canadian Cello Competition in 2020. The competition will now be held online June 24-27, 2020 in collaboration with CBC who will be webcasting the competition worldwide.


The Bader and Overton Canadian Cello Competition has been made possible through the generosity of the Isabel & Alfred Bader Fund, a Bader Philanthropy. The Bader’s vision, imagination, and generosity will enable gifted emerging musicians to learn, inspire, perform, and develop their careers. 


This Competition invited cellists who are Canadian citizens and permanent residents of Canada (as defined by Citizenship and Immigration Canada), between the ages of eighteen (18) to twenty-nine (29) as of January 1, 2020 to apply to the Preliminary Round, requiring each musicians to prepare and perform significant and difficult repertoire as a means of entering the competition.  


The repertoire listing and competition rules can be found at: (select competition: Bader and Overton Canadian Cello Competition).  Competition repertoire includes a special commission, The Turmoil of Madame Butterfly by Canadian composer and former Queen’s faculty member, Marjan Mozetich.



June 27, 2020, Kingston ON… The Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts at Queen’s University announced the awards for the BADER AND OVERTON CANADIAN CELLO COMPETITION on Saturday, June 27, 2020 at 12:00 NOON on


The Bader and Overton Canadian Cello Competition is made possible through the generosity of the Bader Philanthropies Inc. and Isabel Overton Bader, whose vision, imagination and generosity will enable gifted emerging musicians to learn, inspire, perform, and develop their careers. The broadcast partner was CBC, with thanks to Executive Producer Denise Ball and Producer Robert Rowat.


Bios of the award winners are available below, on this page.


“The level of playing was absolutely extraordinary, and we congratulate all the award-winning cellists and for their courage and litheness in participating in the newly configured online competition with beauty and grace,” says Tricia Baldwin, Director, Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts.




FIRST PRIZEBryan Cheng was awarded The Marion Overton Dick Memorial Cello Prize for $20,000 CAD, a future engagement to perform a concerto with the Kingston Symphony, and a future engagement to perform a recital at the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts that will be recorded by CBC Music for national broadcast.


SECOND PRIZE Both Leland Ko and Andreas Schmalhofer tied for second place, and were offered a $5,000 award each representing 50% of The Clifford Overton Prize for $6,000 CAD combined with The Margaret Foster and Heather Dick Prize for $4,000 CAD.


THE BADER FAMILY AUDIENCE PRIZE:  Andreas Schmalhofer was awarded the Bader Family Audience Prize for $1,000 CAD.


This Competition invited cellists who are Canadian citizens and permanent residents of Canada (as defined by Citizenship and Immigration Canada), between the ages of eighteen (18) to twenty-nine (29) as of January 1, 2020.  





The Isabel is grateful to our distinguished jurors who are committed to supporting the next generation of outstanding talent.  Jury members for the Preliminary, Semi-Finalist and/or Finalist rounds are as follows.

Minna Rose Chung, Winnipeg MB: Associate Professor of Cello of the Desautels Faculty of Music, University of Manitoba, member of Desautels Piano Trio, and member of the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra. 


Denise Djokic, from Halifax NS currently residing in Urbana IL: Soloist, visiting professor at U. of Ottawa, and faculty member of National Youth Orchestra of Canada, named one of the top “25 Canadians Who Are Changing Our World” by Maclean’s Magazine. 


Joseph Elworthy, Vancouver BC: President & CEO of the Vancouver Academy of Music, cellist Joseph Elworthy is a featured soloist, recitalist, and chamber music performer.


Matt Haimovitz, Montreal QC: Soloist praised by The New York Times as a “ferociously talented cellist who brings his megawatt sound and uncommon expressive gifts.” Associate Professor, McGill University in Montreal QC.


David Hetherington, Toronto ON: Member of the Amici Chamber Ensemble, former Associate Principal Cello TSO, faculty member of Glenn Gould School and National Youth Orchestra of Canada.


Christina Mahler, Victoria BC:  Chamber musician, former Principal Cellist of Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, former instructor at U. of Toronto and Tafelmusik Baroque Summer Institute.  


Paul Marleyn, Ottawa ON: Paul Marleyn, Ottawa ON: Soloist, Chamber musician, former Principal Cellist of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, former cellist of Trio Hochelaga, Professor of Cello and Head of Strings at the University of Ottawa, summer faculty member at Domaine Forget International Music Festival, and Founding Artistic Director of the Agassiz Chamber Music Festival and the International Cello Festival of Canada.


Evan Mitchell, Kingston ON: Music Director, Kingston Symphony, and guest conductor with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony. 


Shauna Rolston, from Banff AB currently residing in Toronto ON:  Internationally-acclaimed, award winning soloist and chamber musician. Professor of Cello at the University of Toronto, regular Visiting Artist for the Music and Sound Programs at the Banff Centre.


Wolf Tormann, Kingston ON: Chamber musician, member of the Isabel Quartet, Principal Cellist of Kingston Symphony, and Adjunct Lecturer, Cello, Queen’s University.



The Semi-Finalist Candidates




Recipient of the 2018 Prix d'Europe, cellist Dominique Beauséjour-Ostiguy is ranked among the "30 hot Canadian classical musicians under 30" 2018 edition of CBC Music. He completed his master's degree in interpretation at the Faculté de l’Université de Montréal under the supervision of Yegor Dyachkov in 2018. He has done many internships and masterclasses with world renowned musicians, including Mischa Maisky, Alisa Weilerstein, Jean-Guihen Queyras, Hans Jorgen Jensen, Raphael Wallfisch, Philippe Muller, and Richard Aaron. He received the Peter Mendell Award in 2017 and twice the First Prize in strings at the Canadian Music Competition. As a soloist, Dominique performed with the Orchestre Symphonique de Laval, Ensemble Volte, Orchestre Symphonique des Jeunes de Montréal, Orchestre de l’Université de Montréal, and Orchestre du Conservatoire de musique de Montréal. A sought-after and invested chamber musician, he is a founding member of the Andara String Quartet and the Trio de l'Île. Dominique has recently joined the renowned Trio Hochelaga. Dominique is also a composer and arranger. In 2017, he founded BOA, a project of instrumental music consisting only of original compositions. Two of his works have also been performed by the Orchestre Symphonique de Laval under the baton of Maestro Alain Trudel. Dominique plays a David Tecchler (1704) cello and a Pierre Simon (v. 1855) bow, all graciously made available by the company Canimex Inc. of Drummondville (QC), Canada.




Brian Cheng is the winner of the 2019 Grand Prize at the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal Competition and the first-ever Canadian laureate at the prestigious International Paulo Cello Competition 2018. Now 22, he made his solo debut at age 10 with the Orchestre de chambre I Musici de Montréal, his Carnegie Hall recital debut at 14, and his Elbphilharmonie debut in 2018 with the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen. Solo highlights of recent and upcoming seasons include appearances with Canada’s National Arts Centre Orchestra, Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, and the Niagara, Okanagan, Nova Scotia, Adelphi, Missouri Springfield, and Newfoundland symphony orchestras. Bryan undertook a coast-to-coast Canadian tour with the National Youth Orchestra as the 2017 Canada Council for the Arts Michael Measures Prize winner. Bryan will perform in a summer 2020 tour with the Orchestra of the Americas with additional performances with Finland’s Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, Lahti Symphony Orchestra, Tapiola Sinfonietta, and Germany’s Schleswig-Holsteinisches Sinfonieorchester and Südwestdeutsches Kammerorchester Pforzheim. He has collaborated with such esteemed conductors as Matthias Pintscher, Susanna Mälkki, Peter Oundjian, Joshua Weilerstein, and Jonathan Darlington. As cellist of the Cheng² Duo and chamber musician, Bryan performs recitals across the globe. The 2019/20 season takes him on a European tour of the Duo’s Beethoven 2020 project, Ludwig & Beyond, to Hamburg, Berlin, Paris, Frankfurt, London, Los Angeles, San Diego, Michigan, New York, Vancouver, and Ottawa. This project will be featured at Montréal’s Salle Bourgie as well as Russia’s TransSiberian Art Festival, Germany’s Kammermusikfestival Spannungen, Italy’s Trasimeno Festival, and Québec’s Virée classique and Orford Musique, among others. He has released a trilogy of albums on German label audite that has been critically-acclaimed in a dozen countries: Russian Legends (2019), Violonchelo del fuego (2018), and Violoncelle français (2016). Bryan currently studies at the Universität der Künste Berlin with Jens Peter Maintz, and plays the ca. 1696 Bonjour Stradivari cello and ca. 1830 Shaw Adam bow, generously on loan from the Canada Council for the Arts Musical Instrument Bank as First Laureate of their 2018 Competition.



Olivia Yelim Cho is currently pursuing her Bachelor of Music in Cello Performance at the University of Michigan with Richard Aaron. She was a semi-finalist in the 2015 International Tchaikovsky Competition for Young Musicians, the 2016 OSM Manulife Competition, and 2018 Johansen International Competition. Formerly a student at the Vancouver Academy of Music (VAM) in the Young Artist Collegiate Program, Olivia began her musical studies at the age of five under the tutelage of Joseph Elworthy. At the University of Michigan, Olivia served as principal cellist of the University Philharmonia Orchestra in the 2019 fall season. The preceding summer, Olivia was awarded a fellowship to study at the Aspen Music Festival and School (AMFS) in the studios of Richard Aaron and Wolfgang Emanuel Schmidt. In 2017, Olivia attended the Orford Music Academy on full scholarship and the Aspen Music Festival & School (AMFS) as a recipient of the Emerging Artist Grant from VAM. Olivia has performed at Vancouver’s Orpheum Theatre with the VAM Symphony Orchestra (VAMSO) as the youngest grand-prize winner in the history of the Kay Meek Competition. Additional events have included her solo recital for the Vancouver Women’s Musical Society in 2017, as well as working as a mentor for the 2018 Vancouver Quiring Chamber Music Camp. Apart from music, Olivia also enjoys graphic design and calligraphy.



Twenty-one-year-old cellist Leland Ko is now in his fourth year at Princeton University where he studies with Alberto Parrini and is a member of the Princeton University Orchestra. He was a long-time student of Ronald Lowry of the Rivers School Conservatory and Paul Katz of the New England Conservatory. Leland was a member of the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra (BYSO) and Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra (BPYO) for many years, and with these orchestras he has had the opportunity to perform in many different cities all over the world, including Boston, New York, London, Amsterdam, Prague, Berlin, and Madrid. Despite a background in orchestral playing, Leland has often sought out chamber music at various summer festivals over the years, having attended the Perlman Music Program’s Summer Music School from 2011-2016 and its Chamber Music Workshop from 2017-2019, as well as Ravinia’s Steans Music Institute in 2018 and 2019. Through these festivals, Leland has had the chance to study with and occasionally perform alongside artists such as Ronald Leonard, Merry Peckham, Laurence Lesser, Lluis Claret, Joel Krosnick, Natasha Brofsky, Miriam Fried, Paul Biss, Atar Arad, Timothy Eddy, Marcy Rosen, Ralph Kirshbaum, Frans Helmerson, Gary Hoffman, Itzhak Perlman, Donald Weilerstein, Vivian Weilerstein, and Peter Salaff. Leland’s love for chamber music has also led him to be an Artist in Residence of New York Piano Society (NYPS). He is a frequent performer on Swedish pianist Per Tengstrand’s concert series “Music on Park Ave” at Scandinavia House in NYC and the Music Director of Opus 21, a student-run chamber music collective at Princeton. Leland is currently pursuing an undergraduate degree in German Literature at Princeton University. He was also a competitive long-distance runner for several years, but remains loyal to his original passion of tennis, both as a player and even more so as a fan. Leland plays one of the many cellos made in Maine over the last few decades by Nathaniel Slobodkin and a Swiss-made bow by Pierre-Yves Fuchs.



Jonah Krolik, 23, earned his Bachelor Degree in Cello Performance from the Eastman School of Music, under the instruction of Steven Doane and Rosemary Elliott. A dual-degree student, Jonah also majored in chemistry as a pre-med student at the University of Rochester. Jonah is the recipient of a Performer’s Certificate award and Marge Wallawender Scholarship from Eastman, and served as principal cellist of the Eastman Philharmonia. An avid chamber musician, Jonah has worked under the guidance of the Takács Quartet for the past two summers and collaborated with MacArthur Genius Award-Winning pianist, Jeremy Denk. In the past, Jonah has been a prize-winner at competitions throughout the Southeastern United States and performed as a soloist with the North Carolina Symphony and Chapel Hill Philharmonia. Previously, Jonah was a fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center, Sarasota Music Festival, Music Academy of the West (2017, 2018), the Banff Centre’s Masterclasses for Strings and Winds, Yellow Barn Young Artist Program, Bowdoin International Music Festival, and Greenwood Music Camp. Jonah is currently pursuing his Master of Music at the Juilliard School under the direction of Natasha Brofsky.



Andreas Schmalhofer won the First Prize of the 2015 Johann-Andreas-Stein Competition, Third Prize of the 2017 international Anton Rubinstein Competition, a special prize in Gersthofen competition, and Fourth Prize of the 2018 Peter-Pirazzi-Stiftung Competition in Frankfurt. Andreas is a prizewinner of the Allegro Vivo Festival in Austria. At age 15, he was awarded the first prize in the Jugend-Musiziert national youth competition and the Classical Prize from WDR (West German Radio). In 2007, he was awarded the Kulturpreis der Stadt Bobingen, Germany. Andreas started his first cello lessons at the age of five with Hartmut Tröndle. At the age of 14, he started learning from Jean-Guihen Queyras as a young student in Musikhochschule Stuttgart. Andreas studied with Eldar Issakadze (Ingolstadt), Stephan Haack, and Julius Berger. Since 2011, he is a scholar with the foundation “Live Music Now.” Since October 2018, he has pursued his Master’s studies with Laszlo Fenyö at the Musikhochschule Karlsruhe. He has participated in masterclasses by Danjulo Ishizaka, Matt Haimovitz, Wolfgang Böttcher, Laszlo Fenyö, and Kent Nagano. Andreas received scholarships for the International Masterclasses in Canada “Stage des Cordes” (2006 and 2013). His debut was at the age of 17 with the Romanian State Philharmonic Orchestra of Bacau performing the Dvorak Cello concerto. Andreas has performed in many International festivals such as cities in Amsterdam, Gstaad, Budapest, Munich, and Salzburg. Andreas currently plays on a Pietro Guarneri cello from 1725 which is a loan from the L-Bank Baden-Württemberg.



Praised by Ronald Leonard as having “prodigious technique, a beautiful sound,” and “something special to say,” cellist Michael Song’s career has recently led him to perform recitals at significant venues including Koerner Hall, Carnegie Hall, and Harris Hall at the Aspen Music Festival. Michael’s upcoming appearances include invitations to partake in celebrations hosted by the American Beethoven Society and the Beethoven Center for Beethoven’s 250th anniversary season. In 2019, Michael received a unique Merit Fellowship at the Aspen Music Festival and School and was invited to participate in the Concours OSM in Montreal as a semifinalist. Michael currently studies with Hans Jørgen Jensen and Andrés Díaz at the Glenn Gould School. He was accepted to the Curtis Institute of Music at 17, and is an alumnus of the Colburn School where he served as principal cellist of the Colburn Virtuosi from 2017-18. At Colburn, he studied with Clive Greensmith, Hans Jensen, Ronald Leonard, and Arnold Steinhardt. Michael has studied more briefly with Lynn Harrell, Wolfgang Emanuel Schmidt, Richard Aaron, Laurence Lesser, Mark Kosower, Carter Brey, Peter Wiley, Julia Lichten, and Danjulo Ishizaka. He has performed in masterclasses for Colin Carr, Brinton Smith, Desmond Hoebig, Darrett Adkins, Zvi Plesser, David Ying, and Steven Doane. Michael performs on a rare cello made in 1723 by Domenico Montagnana and a bow by Jean Pierre Marie Persoit, both made available through generous sponsors.



Cellist Tate Zawadiuk is both a soloist and chamber musician. Most recently, Tate performed as a soloist with James Ehnes and the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra for its Centennial Celebration Gala Concert. Tate has also performed as a soloist with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, the Vancouver Philharmonic, New Westminster Symphony, Richmond Symphony Orchestra, Vancouver Youth Symphony Orchestra, and the Vancouver Academy of Music Orchestra. In these concerts, Tate worked with renowned conductors such as Bramwell Tovey, Otto Tausk, Pierre Simard, Evan Mitchell, Pierre Simard, Leslie Dala, and Edmond Agopian. Tate has collaborated with world class musicians such as Emanuel Ax, James Ehnes, Ida Kavafian, Steven Tenenbom, Orion Weiss, Jinjoo Cho, Mathieu Herzog, Paul Coletti, and Martin Beaver. In February 2017, he was invited by Johannes Moser to perform cello ensemble repertoire at the Laguna Beach Playhouse. Jonah frequently collaborates with pianist Rodolfo Leone, winner of the 2017 International Beethoven Piano Competition Vienna. For five consecutive seasons, Tate was the principal cellist of the Vancouver Youth Symphony Orchestra, and is currently one of the principles of the Colburn Orchestra, and has worked with world renowned guest conductors such as Stéphane Denève, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Michael Tilson Thomas, Xian Zhang, James Conlon, Ludovic Morlot, and David Zinman. In 2016, Tate received an Award of Excellence from the National Youth Orchestra of Canada and attended the Académie de Villecroze where he worked with Colin Carr. As a chamber musician, Tate is part of the Viano String Quartet. The quartet won First Prize at the 2019 Banff International String Quartet Competition, Third Prize at the 2018 Wigmore Hall International String Quartet Competition, and Third Prize at the 2017 Osaka International String Quartet Competition. Tate first began playing the cello two days before his third birthday and had his debut as a soloist with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra when he was 12. Tate has studied with Ronald Leonard at the Colburn Conservatory of Music with John Kadz, Johanne Perron at the Mount Royal Conservatory of Music, Ariel Barnes at the VSO School of Music, and Mary Thomson at the Vancouver Academy of Music. Currently, he is in his fourth year of undergraduate studies with Clive Greensmith at the Colburn Conservatory of Music. He has performed in numerous masterclasses with world class cellists such as Aldo Parisot, Colin Carr, Hans Jørgen Jensen, Lynn Harrell, Andrés Díaz, Daniel Müller-Schott, Desmond Hoebig, Raphael Wallfisch, Denis Brott, Stephen Geber, Johannes Moser, and Peter Wiley. Tate plays on a 1701 Tecchler on loan from David Kerr’s Violin Shop in Portland, Oregon.





Visit the Isabel’s new Digital Concert Hall to enjoy all of the performances June 24, 25, and 27, 2020.



Media Release: Cello Competition Semi-Finalists 2019/20

Media Release : Cello Competition 2019/20