Orchestras Canada has announced the 2012 winner of the prestigious Betty Webster Award for outstanding contribution to Canadian orchestras: oboist and veteran musician leader Francine Schutzman.
Francine Schutzman has been second oboe and English horn with the National Arts Centre Orchestra since 1974. An thoughtful and articulate advocate for musicians’ issues on the national level, she has been associated with the Organization of Canadian Symphony Musicians since 1981, serving as chair for eight years, and with the Musicians’ Association of Ottawa-Hull, of which she is currently President.
In the words of Award committee chair Vicki Young (Managing Director of the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra), “Francine exemplifies the very spirit of the award. She has served her colleagues and the orchestral community both onstage as oboist with the National Arts Centre Orchestra and behind the scenes through her work with the Musicians’ Association and OCSM. Her collegial warmth, calm presence, and her commitment to finding solutions through sincere communication have been noted by her nominators. By pairing her compassionate listening and her strong sense of justice, she has been instrumental in influencing her colleagues’ work lives while at the same time setting a positive example for the next generation.”
The Betty Webster Award was established in 2002 to honour Orchestras Canada’s founding Executive Director, Mrs. Elizabeth Webster. The “Betty” is presented each year to one individual or organization that has made a sustained and significant contribution over a number of years to the Canadian orchestral community, with an emphasis on leadership, education and volunteerism. The award includes a small cash prize, to be presented to the orchestra of the winner’s choice.
This year’s Award Committee was comprised of: Vicki Young, Manitoba Chamber Orchestra (Winnipeg, MB) – chair; Michael Oesterle, composer (Montreal, QC); Sylvia L’Ecuyer, broadcaster (Vancouver, BC); Marsha Moffitt, musician (Hamilton, ON); Katherine Carleton, ex officio (Toronto, ON).
Francine Schutzman was nominated by Matt Heller of the Organization of Canadian Symphony Musicians, inspired by a unanimous recommendation of delegates at the OCSM conference last August. We’re currently working with OCSM to finalize a date for the presentation of the award.