Orchestras Canada celebrates outstanding contributions to Canadian orchestras by annually awarding the prestigious Betty Webster Award (“The Betty”). 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 Betty Webster Award was established in 2002 to honour Orchestras Canada’s founding Executive Director. The Award is a tribute to Betty Webster’s visionary leadership and her extraordinary contributions to the health and vitality of Canada’s orchestral community. Betty served as joint Executive Director of the Association of Canadian Orchestras and the Ontario Federation of Symphony Orchestras from 1975 until their merger in 1997; she served as founding Executive Director of Orchestras Canada/Orchestres Canada until her retirement in 2001. Betty envisioned a national network of Canadian orchestras that would enable unified advocacy and research, the creation of a forum for industry networking, professional development and sharing of best-in-practice, and the development of next generation audiences and performers through the promotion of orchestral youth and education programs.
The Betty is presented in the recipient’s hometown, and includes a cash prize to be presented to the Canadian orchestra of the winner’s choice.
2016: Ottawa Youth Orchestra Academy Founder Wins National Award
John Gomez, founder and music director of the Ottawa Youth Orchestra Academy (OYOA), is the winner of the Orchestras Canada Betty Webster Award for 2016. Mr. Gomez was the unanimous choice of a national jury.