Yellowknife’s Carmen Braden was named classical composer of the year at the Western Canadian Music Awards in Whitehorse on Thursday night.

Braden, who just released her second studio album, was selected from a shortlist of five – including two of her former teachers, Allan Bell and Laurie Radford.

“There are heavyweights on that list. When my face showed up on the big screen, it was awesome,” Braden told Cabin Radio, dedicating her win to the teachers she has had.

“Awards are tricky things. It doesn’t change the work that I’ve done or that I’m going to do,” she said.

“But to have an acknowledgement that the kind of music I’m writing is valued and has a place – within the context of my home, and the broader part of Canada that I live in – gives me hope and courage to keep going.

“And it should encourage other young people from the North to follow the path they want, no matter how off the beaten path it may feel at the time…”