About the Ontario Arts Foundation

     

Neil Craighead

Classical Singer

Christina and Louis Quilico Awards

2013 Recipient

"In addition to the prize money, this award brought with it a great sense of confidence. The opera industry is a difficult one, and self doubt is constant and recurring. Having someone believe in your talent and be willing to invest in your future is a special feeling."

     

What are you currently doing?

I am a professional opera singer, currently singing the role of Pietro in Pacific Opera Victoria's new production of Simon Boccanegra.  I will be returning to Toronto to sing at the COC in two productions this winter/spring (2017). Music is my primary source of income, though the work isn't as full time as I would like it to be and I supplement it with renovation work as well as film and television background work. I am working towards the day when music alone will provide enough for my family and I to live comfortably and save enough for retirement.


What did receiving the Christina and Louis Quilico Award mean to you?
 

The Christina and Louis Quilico Award was a great boost to me in my final year of the Canadian Opera Company's Ensemble Studio. The financial boon was welcome, but the award also brought with it a great sense of confidence. The opera industry is a difficult one, and self doubt is constant and recurring. Having someone believe in your talent and be willing to invest in your future is a special feeling.

I used some of the money to attend a summer training program at St. Andrews by the Sea with my teacher Wendy Nielsen, as well as buying necessary supplies like scores and audition attire.

 
What does private arts philanthropy mean to you as a working artist?

I feel that private arts philanthropy is crucial in the North American arts scene. Unlike Europe, where the arts are largely state sponsored, the arts in North America rely on the generosity of donors, both corporate and private. Every company I have worked for has a strong base of donors that support them financially and contribute in many other facets as well, from sitting on boards and committees to providing leadership and drive. Without them, these companies simply would not exist, or would have a much smaller scope than they currently do. 

 

Read more award recipient profiles here >> 

 

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