Twenty-four-year-old Canadian violinist Blake Pouliot is the grand prize winner of the 2016 Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal (OSM) Manulife Competition. He studied violin in Canada with Marie Bérard and Erika Raum, and completed his training as an associate of the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. He has attended the Aspen Music Festival and School and is currently a Professional Studies Certificate candidate at the Colburn School Conservatory of Music in Los Angeles, where he studies with Robert Lipsett. He makes his San Francisco Symphony debut at this performance.
In September 2017, Mr. Pouliot recorded his debut album, featuring the works of Ravel and Debussy, for Analekta Records. Upcoming and recent highlights include return engagements with the National Arts Centre Orchestra, Toronto Symphony, and OSM; and debuts with the Seattle, Milwaukee, Vancouver, Edmonton, Newfoundland, and Pasadena symphonies. He is also featured in recital at the Banff Centre, Fête de la Musique Mont Tremblant, Orford Arts Centre, and Pasadena's Boston Court. Mr. Pouliot toured across South America during the summer of 2017 as a soloist with the YOA Orchestra of the Americas performing Piazzolla's Four Seasons with conductors Carlos Miguel Prieto and Paolo Bortolameolli. He then returned to Montreal where he was featured in recital at the OSM's Virée Classique series.
Mr. Pouliot has received several honors in Canada, including the Canada Council for the Arts's Michael Measure Prize, which gave him the opportunity to tour major Canadian cities with the National Youth Orchestra of Canada performing the Sibelius Violin Concerto. He has also had the honor of performing a private recital for Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper in 2012. A featured performer on CBC Radio Canada on numerous occasions, Mr. Pouliot also appeared on Canadian television programs Flashpoint and Warehouse 13 as a teenager. He earned first prize at the 2010 Canadian Contemporary Music Festival for his piano composition Starlight on Water.
Mr. Pouliot performs on a 1729 Guarneri del Gesù violin, on generous loan from the Canada Council for the Arts Musical Instrument Bank as First Laureate of their 2015 competition.