CMC Ontario has announced the winners of the 2021 Beckwith Award. We want to congratulate music educators Bernie Andrews, Catherine Kloepfer, and Laura Lee Matthie, ensembles the Scarborough Philharmonic Orchestra and the Kingston Symphony, and the presenter NUMUS.

The process of making and sharing music connects so many communities, and CMC Ontario is inspired by the work of the 2021 award winners who embrace this role in their work. These individuals and organizations explore new models for career development among artists, unique approaches to learning and self-expression, and programs that invite in a variety of audiences.

The Beckwith Award is named for composer John Beckwith—who just celebrated his 94th birthday. Beckwith is one of the founding members of Canadian Music Centre, an ardent supporter of the organization, and a champion of contemporary Canadian music. We feel the enthusiasm that Beckwith shares with the CMC is reflected in the incredible work of the 2021 winners.

For further information and media inquiries, please contact:
Matthew Fava, [email protected]


The Kingston Symphony is a professional orchestra that has excelled in making orchestral music meaningful to modern audiences. Its various outreach and education programs bring music to a broad and increasingly diverse audience, providing new relevance to the music of the past while championing the works of Canadian composers. For 67 years the Kingston Symphony, now led by Music Director Evan Mitchell, has strived to make the orchestral world relevant to audiences in Kingston and the surrounding region. It is an ardent supporter of Canadian music and has commissioned and premiered important works by composers such as Istvan Anhalt, John Burge, Dean Burry, Cecilia Livingston, Marjan Mozetich, and Ryan Trew.

NUMUS is a presenter and producer of contemporary music based in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario. Canadian composter Peter Hatch founded NUMUS in 1985 to showcase established and emerging talent, with a strong focus on local artists. The organization went on to release several recordings, host several festivals, and provide seasonal programming that now features approximately 10-12 concerts per season. There is no other arts organization in Kitchener-Waterloo with a similar vision or mandate that operates year-round.

Currently, NUMUS has several outreach initiatives meant to give young artists in its community exceptional opportunities. These include the annual Emerging Improviser Contest, which gives young improvising musicians the opportunity to perform in NUMUS concerts alongside world-class improvisers, and the Emerging Curator contest in which students interested in artistic direction can propose their own ideas for innovative concerts, with the winner receiving their own series concert and mentorship from NUMUS’ Artistic Director. The majority of these winners go on to perform in subsequent NUMUS concerts, build successful tours and gain important performance opportunities, create and distribute albums, and some also give back by becoming board members. Artistic Director, Kathryn Ladano, who began her tenure in 2014, currently leads the organization.

The Scarborough Philharmonic Orchestra (SPO), founded in 1980, has been serving Scarborough for 40 years. In 2009, the SPO welcomed its current Music Director, Ronald Royer, raising the artistic standards of the orchestra to a new level with performances of major repertoire such as Ravel’s Daphnis and Chloe, Stravinsky’s Petrushka, and Mahler’s Symphony No.4.

The SPO regularly commissions and performs new Canadian compositions. The SPOs Composer-In-Residence (CIR) program has included such artists as Barbara Croall, Omar Daniel, Bruno Degazio, Alex Eddington, John Estacio, Chan Ka Nin, Jim McGrath, Alexander Rapoport, and Elizabeth Raum, with Daniel Mehdizadeh currently serving in the role.

The SPO mentor’s new generation musicians and composers. The annual SPO New Generation Composers Workshop provides compositional training and career guidance in preparation for a reading session which includes a recording of the composer’s music.

The SPO collaborates with members of the Chinese community in Scarborough regularly presenting concerts featuring traditional and modern Chinese music paired with Western music. This proximity to community has also resulted in the founding of the SPO Women’s Choir, and a newly formed collaboration with the Iranian-Canadian Composers of Toronto.

Bernie Andrews, Ed.D. is Professor of Education at the University of Ottawa. He has several years of experience teaching and administering music and arts program at post-secondary and other school levels. He has published extensively on music education, curriculum theory and the arts in provincial, national and international professional and refereed journals. His latest books include Working together: A case study of a national arts education partnership, Peter Lang, 2016 and Perspectives on arts education research in Canada, Volumes 1 and 2, Brill, 2019 and 2020.

Bernie’s research is focused on educational music composition, interactive teaching strategies, arts partnerships, arts-based research methods, and teacher development in the arts. He has received three Social Science and Humanities Research Council grants for the study of the generative processes of music composition. His projects, in collaboration with Canadian Music Centre staff and composers, has resulted in the composition of a large number of new works for young musicians in schools and private instruction. Bernie studied in the Faculty of Music at the University of Toronto for his bachelors and masters degrees in music education when John Beckwith was dean of the Faculty.

Catherine Kloepfer is an educator with the York Region District School Board. She graduated from the Trent-Queen’s Education program in 2001 and has been teaching Music since 2003. She currently teaches music from Kindergarten through Grade 8 music at Coledale Public School. Catherine works to bring musical learning to her students that highlights contemporary Canadian music of all genres and performance opportunities to her students including choirs, bands, small ensembles, school wide musicals, concerts and festivals.

Catherine is dedicated to giving students the chance to expand and build upon their skills and advocating for student voice. Outside of her own school, Catherine has been active in helping to create and sustain student music opportunities within the York Region District School Board. She has been involved in the York Region Elementary Enrichment Band since 2003 and became part of the Camp Leadership Team in 2009. In 2011, Catherine joined the Markham Area East Band as a co-conductor and co-director. In May 2016 Catherine created the annual Celebration of Bands Invitational Festival, bringing together students from different schools with a love of band to make music together. This non-competitive student led festival focuses on community building, peer adjudication, a Canadian Composer workshop and mass band experience.

Catherine believes strongly in the community that music can create and the importance of collaboration in musical education. She continues to work with her fellow music educators to bring meaningful music education that encompasses learning, composition and playing to her students through these pandemic teaching times when community is more important than ever.

Laura Lee began her teaching career in 1995 with the Simcoe County District School Board after receiving her Honours Music Education and Bachelor of Education Degrees at The University of Western Ontario.

Her current school, Orillia Secondary School, opened in 2015 and Laura Lee was part of the planning teams for each step along the way: accommodation review, closure, new building design, amalgamation and finally the move. Laura Lee’s program has been part of a few musical commissions over the years including a piece to commemorate the opening of the school.

Laura Lee has always been interested in facilitating experiential learning for her students. Over the years she has brought in numerous professional musicians and conductors to present workshops, provide concerts and engage musicians of all levels at her school. To promote the values of musicianship and lifelong learning, she has conducted a variety of musical ensembles including jazz bands, percussion & saxophone ensembles, and concert bands. Each group provides opportunities for her students to share their talents and further develop their own learning.

As a passionate educator and advocate for music education, Laura Lee served on the board of the Ontario Music Educators’ Association since 2004—serving as President form 2008-2010, and currently serving as Treasurer. Laura Lee was awarded the 2018 MusiCounts Teacher of the Year and the 2015 Excellence in Education Award in her board.