Peggy Lee (left) and Cole Schmidt (right), 2013 Mayor's Art Award for Music honouree and emerging artist, respectively (Peggy Lee's photo by Anne Fisbein)

2013 recipients

Peggy Lee


Peggy Lee, cellist, improviser, and composer, makes her home in Vancouver where she is part of a rich, creative music community. She records and performs with longtime musical associates including Tony Wilson, Ron Samworth, Dylan van der Schyff, John Korsrud, Veda Hille, Lisa Miller, Wayne Horvitz, and Robin Holcomb.

Lee also leads or co-leads a number of musical projects: The Peggy Lee Band, Film in Music, Waxwing (with Tony Wilson and Jon Bentley), and Beautiful Tool (with Mary Margaret O’Hara). Other performing credits include the Vancouver Opera Orchestra and the new music ensemble Standing Wave.

Lee has collaborated extensively in theatre and dance with companies and artists such as Ruby Slippers, Rumble Theatre, Presentation House, David Hudgins, EDAM, Kokoro Dance, Delia Brett, and Ziyian Kwan. Peggy has received previous awards including the Freddie Stone Award for integrity and innovation in music (2005) and a Jessie Richardson Theatre Award for outstanding composition (2010).

Cole Schmidt

Emerging artist

Cole Schmidt is an active participant in Vancouver's creative music scene. In addition to curating the weekly music series “NoSchMo,” which features original, improvising groups, he regularly performs with such local mentors as Peggy Lee, Ron Samworth, and Tony Wilson.

As a composer, Schmidt spends the majority of his time writing and recording with 2013 Juno Award winners Pugs and Crows and the newly formed group Sick Boss. He can also be heard alongside other local artists such as Debra-Jean Creelman, Copilots, Karen Foster, and Soft Morning City.

He was awarded the Galaxy Rising Star Award in 2010 for his performance with Pugs and Crows, and was a participant in the 2011 Banff International Workshop in Jazz and Creative Music. Schmidt has toured throughout North America and Europe, including a five-week tour with Drip Audio's DarkBlueWorld in Eastern Europe and Russia, and the Vilnius Jazz Festival.

Past recipients

2012 recipients

John Korsrud


2012 Honouree Artist John KorsrudJohn Korsrud is a composer, bandleader, trumpet player, and educator. He studied composition with Louis Andriessen in Amsterdam from 1995 to 1997. Composition commissions include the Vancouver Symphony, the CBC Radio Orchestra, Turning Point Ensemble, and several Dutch ensembles. His film scores have received Leo and Yorkton Awards and Gemini nominations. Korsrud’s career highlight was performing his trumpet concerto at Carnegie Hall, commissioned and performed by the American Composers Orchestra in 2010. 

Korsrud composes for and leads his 18-piece Hard Rubber Orchestra, the 14-piece Drum and Light Orchestra, and the 20-piece Goma Dura. He has produced nearly 100 concerts including operas, TV specials, multimedia, CBC Radio broadcasts, raves, and an ice show for the 2010 Winter Games. 

Korsrud is the recipient of the Canada Council’s Joseph S. Stauffer Award, the 2005 Alcan Arts Award and is the second Canadian to receive a fellowship to the Civitella Ranieri in Umbria, Italy. As a trumpet player, he has played almost every genre, from lead trumpet with the Vancouver Symphony to rock bands such as Matthew Good and DOA to new music with Anthony Braxton. Korsrud teaches at Vancouver Community College.

Eli Bennett

Emerging artist

2012 Emerging Artist Eli BennettEli Bennett, an international award-winning saxophonist and emerging film composer, is Canada’s most recognized emerging jazz artist. At only 23, Bennett is a two-time recipient of the CBC Galaxie Rising Star Award from the National Jazz Awards, and has been named a Rico Reeds Artist and a Yamaha Young Performing Artist.

He has performed twice at the Grammy Awards in Los Angeles and shared the stage with jazz legends Oscar Peterson, Dave Holland, Hank Jones, and Terence Blanchard. Recently, Bennett was awarded the Fred Sheratt Award from the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences and received a 2012 Leo nomination for his additional music for the film Nash - the Documentary. In 2012, Bennett launched Eli Bennett Publishing with the release of his first eBook of jazz saxophone solos, which has sold in over 26 countries.

Currently, Bennett is scoring films for up-and-coming directors from New York, Los Angeles, Toronto, and Vancouver. Born and raised in Vancouver, Bennett is an active member of the local music scene and is extensively involved with music and media at Coastal Church in downtown Vancouver.

The 2012 peer jury was Colin Miles, Sal Ferreras, and Jeremy Berkman.

2011 recipients

Jeremy Berkman


2011 Music Honouree Jeremy BerkmanJeremy Berkman is a trombonist and founding co-artistic director/ensemble member of Turning Point Ensemble (TPE). He has had a varied career in both musical performance and backstage production.

Currently principal trombonist for Vancouver Opera Orchestra, he also makes music with outstanding colleagues in Touch of Brass Quintet, cellist Peggy Lee's octet, and big bands lead by John Korsrud, Fred Stride, Jill Townsend, and Jesse Cahill. With TPE, Jeremy has co-led partnerships with community groups, public schools, and other arts organizations.

Having contributed to over 25 recordings by orchestras, jazz ensembles, and singer-songwriters, this season he will record and tour with fellow TPE co-artistic director Owen Underhill's Trombone Quintet with Montreal's Bozzini String Quartet.

An advocate for including musical composition with creative writing, dance, and visual arts as part of a comprehensive education, he has co-produced an exciting youth program, Creating Composers, with TPE in Burnaby, Vancouver, and North Vancouver.

Iman Habibi

Emerging artist

2011 Music Emerging Artist Iman HabibiIman Habibi is an award-winning composer and pianist whose music has been programmed by numerous concert organizations, such as The Marilyn Horne Foundation (New York), The Canadian Opera Company (Toronto), Tapestry New Opera (Toronto), Atlantic Music Festival (Maine), the BC Scene Festival (Ottawa), the Powell Street Festival (Vancouver), and Vox Novus (New York).

His awards include second prize at the 2008 Vancouver Back Choir's National Competition, and first prize at the 2009 Guelph Chamber Choir's national competition. His music and interviews are broadcast regularly on radio across North America, such as CBC and WQXR (New York).

Iman is also well-known for his collaborations with pianist Deborah Grimmett. Their piano duo known as Piano Pinnacle won third prize and The Audience Choice Award at the debut at the International Northwest Piano Ensemble Competition.

The 2011 peer jury was Colin Miles, Denise Ball, and Sal Ferreras.

2010 recipients

Sal Ferreras


2010 Honouree Artist Sal FerrarsDr Salvador Ferreras is first and foremost a percussionist, but also a dedicated music educator and producer. He is artistic director of the Literary Cabaret at the Vancouver International Writers and Readers Festival, dean of the Vancouver Community College School of Music, former member of the British Columbia Arts Council, and a regular advisor on cultural policy with various organization in Canada.

In 2003, Sal was inducted into the British Columbia Entertainment Hall of Fame, and in 2005 he was awarded the Willan Prize for outstanding contributions to choral music in British Columbia.

He has collaborated in almost every musical genre on the Canadian music scene and currently tours with his Persian-based trio Safa and the Latin American trio, The Southern Cross. He has released three solo recordings: To Drive in LA (1986), Invisible Minority (1994), and Woodcuts (2001).

Evan Arntzen

Emerging artist

2010 Emergin Artist Evan ArntzenEvan Arntzen is a saxophonist, clarinetist, and vocalist born and raised in Vancouver. Coming from a musical family, he was instructed by his grandfather, Lloyd Arntzen, who taught him New Orleans jazz from the time he was seven years old. He completed the Capilano University Jazz Studies program in 2007 and has been establishing himself as a powerful young voice in the Canadian jazz scene.

He is in demand as a soloist and performer in the realms of traditional jazz, and improvised music. He now performs regularly with such bands as the October Trio, the Amanda Tosoff Quartet, and Bria Skonberg's Hot Five. Evan will continue to pursue music full-time, while residing in Vancouver.

The 2010 peer jury was David Pay, Colin Miles, and Denise Ball.

2009 recipients

Colin Miles


2009 Honouree Artist Colin MilesColin Miles has, for over three decades, been a tireless advocate for Canadian music and composers. Based in Vancouver, he has championed generations of our city's composers and provided leadership not only in our city and our region, but also abroad for the promotion of our country's music.

In addition to his 31 years as BC's regional director for the Canadian Music Centre, Mr Miles has been an active violist in the Vancouver Opera Orchestra, hosted countless salons at home with his wife Winnie Nowell, and sat on numerous boards and committees, both within and outside the music community.

At a time in his life and career when many other people are slowing down, and on the eve of his retirement from the CMC, Mr Miles has becomes one of Vancouver's most vocal advocates for the essential role the arts play in our lives. He led the movement to save the CBC Radio Orchestra, is spearheading the music community's advocacy at the provincial level, and has always spoken with great passion on behalf of the arts community.

Jordan Nobles

Emerging artist

2009 Emerging Artist Jordan Nobles Jordan Nobles, known for creating music filled with an "unearthly beauty" (Mondomagazine), has emerged as one of Canada's finest composers. Known for his commitment to spatial music, he often takes performers and audiences away from traditional concert experiences. Whether surrounding audiences with ten flutes, filling museums with live musicians on multiple floors, or inviting players to move across the stage during performances, he adds an extra, and often emotional, level of conversation to musical thought.

His music has won First Prize in the Vancouver Bach Choir's National Competition for Large Choirs, and been premiered in Toronto, New York, Vancouver, Calgary, and Lima, Peru. Canada's leading orchestras, choirs chamber ensembles and soloists regularly perform his works, as do groups as diverse as the New York Miniaturist Ensemble, Cologne's Kammercho CONSONO, and New York's Flexible Orchestra. In February 2010, Mr Nobles will collaborate with Aeriosa Dance as part of the 2010 Vancouver Cultural Olympiad.

The 2009 peer jury was Charles Barber, Morna Edmundson, and David Pay.

2008 recipient

Denise Ball


A CBC music producer, Ms Ball has spent more than two decades working with some of Canada's finest musicians, producing, for example, the award-winning recording of concerti by Barber, Korngold, and Walton, featuring the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra for CBC Records (winner of the Grammy, Juno, and Western Canadian Music Awards for best classical release of 2007).

Since 1991, she has been the producer and manager of the CBC Radio Orchestra. She was also co-founder and co-artistic director of Vancouver's Curio Ensemble.

The 2008 peer jury was John Alleyne, Joy Coghill, Sal Ferreras, Jane Heyman, Michael Noon, Robert Sunter, Alexander Varty, Donna Wong-Juliani, and Max Wyman.

Ask. Tell. Connect.

Phone 3-1-1 to ask, tell, and connect with the City

Outside Vancouver:

Speak your own language

When should you call 9-1-1? Click to find out       Deaf? Have difficulty speaking? Click to learn how to make a TTY call

More ways to contact us

Thank you

The Mayor's Arts Awards are made possible with the generous support of organizations who demonstrate a strong commitment to arts and culture in Vancouver.

View our sponsors

Contact Cultural Services

Location and mailing address
Cultural Services
Woodward's Heritage Building
501 - 111 West Hastings St
Vancouver, BC V6B 1H4

Phone: 604-829-2007

Fax: 604-871-6005

Get Arts & Culture news first

Subscribe to City of Vancouver Arts & Culture mailing lists.

Get news about:

  • VanCulture
  • Public Art

Sign up now

Last modified: Mon, 18 Nov 2013 14:25:52