OAF News

Composer Afarin Mansouri is awarded the Kathleen McMorrow Music Award

Toronto, October 24, 2022 -  Afarin Mansouri (Toronto) is the recipient of this year’s $10,000 Kathleen McMorrow Music Award. The award recognizes the composition and presentation of contemporary classical music by Ontario composers. This award is in support of Mansouri’s new opera Zuleykha, which is sung in the Farsi language and features traditional Eastern music within the European operatic tradition.  The opera was commissioned by Loose Tea Music Theatre and premiered this past summer at the Toronto Summer Music Festival.  

About Afarin Mansouri

Dr. Afarin Mansouri is an award-winning composer and musicologist whose works have been performed in Canada, the United States, England, Iran, and South America. Afarin has collaborated with various organizations and festivals such as Seattle Opera, Canadian Opera Company, Tapestry Opera, Queen’s University, Willard Laurier University, Tirgan Festival, Toronto Nuit Blanche, and the YOU Dance program at the National Ballet of Canada.

In the past few years Afarin has devoted her compositional career to producing operas including, The Journey, Notes of Hope: Saffronic; Forbidden; Queen of Swords; Lullaby at the Shore; Morning Prayers, and more recently Zuleykha.  In September 2022, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra performed Afarin’s celebration prelude Mithra which was dedicated to the Iranian women who are fighting for their freedom.

Afarin received a PhD in music from York University in 2019 with her research focusing on the topic of children’s opera, its history, and effects on the development of intellectual skills. As an educator and researcher, Afarin has presented various research papers, lectures, and opera workshops on national and international level. She is the founder and director of Music Nest (www.musicnest.org) which has developed new methods of combining storytelling and music pedagogy.

Zuleykha Trailer, May 2021 at the Watershed Music Festival
opera by Afarin Mansouri, directed, filmed, and edited by Alaina Viau
Cultureland in partnership with Loose Tea Music Theatre

About the Award
The Kathleen McMorrow Music Award was established in 2015. Kathleen McMorrow headed the Music Library at the University of Toronto, Faculty of Music from 1974 to 2013. She established the award to recognize and encourage the composition and presentation of Canadian contemporary classical music.

The Ontario Arts Foundation manages the endowment that funds the award. The Ontario Arts Council is responsible for the selection process. The award recipient is selected from the applicants to the Ontario Arts Council Music Creation Projects program deadlines.

Previous award winners include Suad Bushnaq (2021), Parisa Sabet (2020), and Jordan Pal (2019).


 For more information, please contact:

Bruce Bennett
Executive Director, Ontario Arts Foundation
Tel: (416) 969-7413

 Established in 1991, the Ontario Arts Foundation (OAF) is passionately committed to building long-term support for the arts in Ontario. In 2021-2022, the OAF paid over $4.4 million in endowment income and $300,000 in awards and scholarships.

For more than 55 years, the Ontario Arts Council (OAC) has played a vital role in promoting and assisting the development of the arts for the enjoyment and benefit of Ontarians. In 2021-2022 the Ontario Arts Council invested $56.4 million in 237 communities across Ontario through 2,665 grants to individual artists and 1,050 grants to organizations. 

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