September 14, 2023 – The Ontario Arts Council (OAC) is pleased to announce that the recipient of the 2023 Vida Peene Orchestra Award is the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra (HPO). This award recognizes artistic and organizational achievement, and the $10,000 award will be presented during the HPO’s Gemma Conducts Schumann & Mendelssohn concert at Hamilton’s FirstOntario Concert Hall the evening of Saturday, September 23.  


  • For over a century, the HPO has presented orchestral music and education programs that have contributed to the shaping of Hamilton’s cultural landscape. It continues to offer high-calibre, inclusive and accessible programming, with an aim to energize, move and inspire its diverse community. 
  • The HPO’s programming is guided by four strategic pillars: artistic excellence, education, wellbeing and community engagement: 
  • Artistic excellence: Led by music director Gemma New, the orchestra presents dynamic mainstage performances ranging from classical repertoire to popular music, to world premieres by living composers with a focus on new works by Canadian composers. The HPO also runs artistic fellowships. A composer fellowship program aimed at mentoring early-career composers with professional musicians and administrators and a conducting fellowship through Tapestry Opera’s Women in Musical Leadership program. 
  • Education: The HPO operates the Hamilton Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, a training and performance program for musicians ranging in age from 12 to 24. It also offers curriculum-based presentations, workshops and concerts in local schools across the Hamilton region.  
  • Wellbeing: The HPO offers programs that promote shared experiences through music to contribute to maintaining and enhancing a sense of wellbeing. This includes their Seniors Connect program, which combats social isolation through a shared mainstage concert night and social for a community of seniors, as well as free performances in long-term care centres and seniors’ communities.  
  • Community engagement: Working closely with community partners, the HPO develops performances and programs tailored to serve specific community needs and interests, including reducing barriers. This includes free talks and performances in a variety of spaces and participatory events for community musicians of all ages and skill levels to engage in growth and collective music-making. 


Twitter: @H_P_O   
Instagram: @HamiltonPhilharmonic 

For further information: 

Shoshana Wasser, Associate Director of Public Affairs and Communications, Ontario Arts Council  
416-969-7434 | 1-800-387-0058 | 

Kyla Lacroix Bardsley, Marketing and Communications Coordinator, Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra 
905.526.1677 x 211 |