Named for Portia White, the Nova Scotia artist who rose through adversity to achieve international acclaim as a classical singer on the great stages of Europe and North America, this prize recognizes cultural and artistic excellence on the part of a Nova Scotian artist who has attained professional status, mastery and recognition in their discipline.
The primary recipient, who is an established Nova Scotian artist, receives $18,000. A secondary recipient, who is an emerging Nova Scotian artist or a Nova Scotian cultural organization selected by the primary recipient, receives $7,000.
For prize guidelines and application instructions, please see the listing for the Portia White Prize in this website's Grants & Awards section.
2015 Recipient: Dr. Walter Kemp
Walter Kemp holds degrees in Music from the Universities of Toronto, Harvard and Oxford (DPhil). He founded the Department of Music at Waterloo Lutheran University and developed its undergraduate programs and teaching personnel, leading to its emergence as the Faculty of Music, Wilfrid Laurier University.
In 1977, he was invited to Halifax to become Chair of the Department of Music of Dalhousie University and conductor of the Dalhousie Chorale. In 1978, he was appointed Organist/Choirmaster of St. Paul’s Anglican Church where he developed an active program of choral and orchestral concerts. Besides serving as Musical Director of the Nova Scotia Gilbert and Sullivan Society and guest conductor of Symphony Nova Scotia he has, since 1983, organized the 150-voice Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo.
After academic retirement, he joined Opera Nova Scotia in 2005 to begin fresh endeavors as volunteer Artistic Director. In his commitment to supporting new composers, the May 2015 Opera Nova Scotia Production featured a fully staged development of Monica Pearce’s Aunt Helen, based on the autobiography of folklorist Helen Creighton, and the stage premiere of I will fly like a bird, by Nova Scotia composer John Plant and author J. Andrew Wainwright. Kemp continues to compose a number of works for choir, including his Five Poems of William Blake recorded by Wayne Riddell and the Tudor Singers of Montreal.
2015 Secondary Recipient: Opera Nova Scotia
Dr. Kemp selected Opera Nova Scotia as the 2015 recipient of the $7,000 Portia White protege prize. The prize money will be used to commission a new musical creation by tabla master Vineet Vyas, based on a Hindu legend.