Tuesday, May 2, 2023

The Talent Trust kicks off its 79th year at the ECMA's!

On this day in 1944, the Talent Trust was founded after 
members of the Halifax Ladies Club, along with voice teacher Dr. Ernesto Vinci, successfully advocated the city of Halifax and the province of Nova Scotia for unparalleled financial support towards Portia White's studies in New York. Portia White ascended to become one of the best singers of the 20th century.  The province recognized the difference their support made in Portia White’s career and founded the Nova Scotia Talent Trust on May 2, 1944, to help other deserving and talented Nova Scotians succeed. 

Since that time we've assisted the professional development of over 1,000 Nova Scotians and have awarded scholarships and special awards totaling over $2.5 million dollars.

Like Portia White, many NSTT scholarship recipients have achieved great success in their artistic careers, including this year's Awards nominees:

Edward Enman - Classical Composer of the Year

Jennifer King, O Mistress Moon - Classical Recording of the Year

Atlantic String Machine (Karen Graves), A Single Juniper Post - Classical Recording of the Year; Instrumental Recording of the Year

Duo Concertante (Nancy Dahn), Ecology of Being - Classical Recording of the YEar

Vineet Vyas, Satyam - Global Recording of the Year

Gina Burgess, ISNOW - Roots/Traditional Recording of the Year

As we kick off our 79th year, we are excited to celebrate with at the East Coast Music Awards, who are ringing in their 35th anniversary!!!

In honour of both anniversaries, here's a list of all the Talent Trust alumni who took home ECMA's:

1998 - Four the Moment (Anne-Marie Woods) - African-Canadian Recording of the Year

1999 - David MacDonald - Classical Recording of the Year

2003 - Denise Djokic - Classical Recording of the Year

2006 - Denise Djokic - Classical Recording of the Year

2010 - Gypsophilia (Gina Burgess, Matt Myer) - Jazz Recording of the Year

2012 - Gypsophilia (Gina Burgess, Matt Myer) - Jazz Recording of the Year

2013 - Gypsophilia (Gina Burgess, Matt Myer) - World Recording of the Year

2017 - Duo Concertante (Nancy Dahn) - Classical Recording of the Year

2018 - Duo Concertante (Nancy Dahn) - Classical Recording of the Year

2019 - Duo Concertante (Nancy Dahn) - Classical Recording of the Year

2019 - Reeny Smith - Bucky Adams Memorial Award

2019 - Reeny Smith - R&B/Soul Recording of the Year

2020 - Marc Djokic - Classical Recording of the Year

2022 - Breagh Isabel - Songwriter of the Year

We can't wait to celebrate the Talent Trust, ECMA's, and the incredible East coast music industry this weekend!  

You can find us at the Halifax Harbourfront Marriott Hotel Thursday to Saturday 10am-6pm and Sunday 10am-1pm.  For more info about the ECMA's and the full list of nominees, please visit their website.  

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Want to support the next generation of Nova Scotian artists? Donate today! 

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Talent Trust Scholarships: Frequently Asked Questions


Scholarships — Frequently Asked Questions 

How do I know if I'm eligible for a Talent Trust scholarship? 

Visit our Eligibility page for the list of criteria.

What kind of study programs does the Talent Trust support?

  • University arts programs
  • College arts programs (like NSCC)
  • Programs in film, dance, theatre, music, literary arts, visual arts, or circus arts offered by private institutions
  • Private studies with one teacher
  • Summer classes in the arts
  • Summer festival study opportunities
  • Mentorships
  • Artist residencies
  • If you’re considering a study program not on this list, please let us know so we can assess its eligibility. 
    (We don’t fund the Verbier Music Festival Orchestra summer placement because it is free.)

Do you support arts teacher training?  

No. We don’t provide scholarships for teacher training programs. 

Do you support art therapy training?

No. We don’t provide scholarships for art therapy training programs. 

Do the application requirements change from year to year?

Possibly. We regularly review our application requirements, so they could change from one year to the next.

Tip: Review the General Application Guidelines and support material requirements for your discipline before you begin your application. You can find all updated files at nstalenttrust.ns.ca/Scholarships/Support-Material/

I study with a private teacher. What do I need for my application? 

Collect all the information required in the General Application Guidelines (page 2). See our General Application Guidelines for details.

Combine all the information from your teacher in one PDF file before adding it to your application. 

Late submissions of private teacher information will not be accepted. 

Tip: Get in touch with your teacher at least a month before the deadline. 

What browser should I use to submit my application?
Our system is built to work best with Chrome. Note: Microsoft's Internet Explorer is out of date and will not work with our system.

How long does it take to complete the online application?
According to our latest survey, plan on spending an hour or more to complete the application process. If you have all your information before you begin, you may be able to shorten that time.

Tip: Plan ahead. Carefully review all the application and support material requirements before you begin.

Do I have to complete the application at once? Can I start today and finish it tomorrow? 

The system is able to save everything so you can work on your application a little at a time. 

Tip 1: Use Chrome as your browser for best results. 

Tip 2: If you have any technical problems let us know right away.

How much can I ask for in my Budget?

Our scholarships are between $800 - $4000. You can only ask for a portion of your study expenses.

How many video links can I attach to my application?  

One video link. Combine your videos into one file. Your video index needs to indicate at what time each piece starts and ends, e.g.  introduction 0:00 – 0:32, first music piece title 0:32 – 2:58 etc

Tip: In addition to the video index in your application, add the start time of each piece in the video information section on YouTube. Don't change the video link until the end of the application year.

I don’t want anyone to see my application video. What can I do? 

On YouTube you can set the video to unlisted. Only people with the link can see it. Do not make the video private. If you do, we won’t be able to view it. 

I’m a visual artist. Can I upload separate images of my work? 

No. You need to upload a portfolio in PDF format containing all your images and the information of each image. 

Use high quality photos (no large files); no frames should show (crop if necessary), only your artwork is important

Your images should be 72 dpi for your digital portfolio (300 dpi is only required for printing)

Each page should contain a single image of your work and its description (10 images = 10 pages)

Keep it simple! (maximum file size is 8 MB)

What happens after I submit my application?  

Our staff will look through your application to make sure all required files are attached and your links work. If we see anything that could be improved, we’ll send you an email and ask you to send an updated version by email.

When your application is complete, you will receive a confirmation email that also contains the date when you will be contacted with your application results. 

Be patient: our staff will get in touch with you as soon as possible. 

Tip: The earlier you apply, the more time you will have to improve your application. 

I made a mistake in my application and only noticed after I pressed submit. What can I do? 

Email our staff at scholarship(at)nstalenttrust.ns.ca and let us know right away. We can adjust your application for you. 

Do not try to update your application yourself! The system will create duplicates which will make it difficult for us to know which version is the correct one. 

Start your application process early so you have enough time to thoroughly review it. 

Save your application and read through it a day or two later to catch any small errors. Then submit it.

COVID-19 adjustments in 2022

Given the importance of maintaining social/physical distancing, and possible self-isolation for some, we understand that meeting some of the application requirements for the Spring/Summer scholarship deadline will not be possible. For example, it may not be possible to record your videos in a studio/theatre or to have someone accompany you for your piece. 

Please know we will be understanding of these limitations and will welcome modifications (filming in your living room, solo performances rather than being accompanied, etc.). Please do your best to meet the requirements that are within your control. (side note: Always hold your camera horizontal so that the Scholarship Selection Committee members can see you fully.)

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Want to support the next generation of Nova Scotian artists? Donate today! (smile)

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Happy National Volunteer Week!

Thank you Volunteers! 

Volunteerism is a powerful force that has the ability to transform communities, and is the backbone of most non-profit and charitable organizations.  The importance of volunteers cannot be overstated.  It is through the hard work, guidance, and support of volunteers that charities are able to achieve their goals and make lasting impacts in their communities.

I would like to take the opportunity to acknowledge the incredible volunteers who contribute to the success of the Nova Scotia Talent Trust.   Our small-but-mighty organization has just one employee (that's me!) and one part-time contractor (Jackie) who supports the scholarship review process.  It is our volunteers who make it possible for the Talent Trust to thrive, grow, and stay committed to its mission to support Nova Scotia's emerging artists.

Our Board Members offer their time and expertise, and provide a sense of community within our organization.  They attend meetings, form committees for special projects, support fundraising, and provide governance and oversight of the Talent Trust's operations.  They are also an incredible think-tank and sounding board for new ideas and initiatives.  I have never had the pleasure to work with a more committed and effective Board, and I extend my most heartfelt thanks to each member, past and present, for the time and effort they have put into the Talent Trust.  It is truly incredible to have the support of such a dynamic cohort of artists and professionals.

The Scholarship Selection Committee is another crucial part of the Talent Trust.  Made up of 12 professional artists representing all disciplines, the Scholarship Selection Committee reviews the applications, attends meetings, provides feedback to each applicant, and gives recommendations on scholarship eligibility and criteria.  They ensure that each application is reviewed thoroughly and fairly, and offer their perspectives as professionals in their respective disciplines.  The collaborative discussions among the Scholarship Selection Committee members is amazing to observe during the application review meetings.  Thank you to each one of you for your commitment to the Talent Trust and emerging Nova Scotian artists.

I would also like to acknowledge our Honorary Lifetime Directors and the NSTT Foundation Board of Directors for their ongoing support and their service as ambassadors and champions for the Talent Trust. Your contributions have helped shape the Talent Trust and build its capacity to support emerging artists. Thank you for all you have done and continue to do.

Finally, to all our volunteers who help out with the Special Awards Ceremony, raffles, events, and the Bluenose Marathon - thank you!  Whether you are offering in-kind services to keep our expenses low or helping us to raise funds, you are putting money directly into the hands of Nova Scotia's most promising artists.  The Bluenose Marathon is May 19-21 and we would love to welcome you back to Team Talent Trust!  I am so grateful to all of you for the community love and support.

As we celebrate National Volunteer Week, take a moment to thank a volunteer.  I am so fortunate that the Talent Trust has so many to thank!  Our volunteers are truly the heart and soul of our organization. 

Thank you all for believing in the creativity of Nova Scotians!

With gratitude,

Andrea Urquhart
Executive Director, NSTT


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Want to support the next generation of Nova Scotian artists? Donate today!

Thursday, April 13, 2023

Application Tips from the Scholarship Selection Committee

Scholarship applications for Fall/Winter Studies are open until May 1st, 2023 at 5pm ADT. 

Top tips to applicants from the Scholarship Selection Committee:

1. Pay attention to details.  

Your video submissions should always be recorded horizontally, do your best with lighting, and whenever possible remove any distracting items in the background.  

Make sure you acknowledge accompanists, choreographers, composers, directors, etc. in your Portfolio Index.

Have someone look over your application to spot any spelling or punctuation errors. 

2. Write a clear and concise Artist Statement.  

This is where the Committee gets to learn about you, your art, and what inspires or motivates you.  It is a big challenge for many artists to turn the spotlight on themselves, but remember: the people reviewing your application WANT to know about you and connect with you as an artist.

Here are some tips for crafting a compelling artist statement:

Keep it concise: An artist statement should be brief and to the point, typically no more than a few paragraphs. Avoid using jargon or overly technical language, and focus on conveying your ideas in a clear and concise manner.

Be authentic: Your artist statement should reflect your genuine voice and perspective. Don't try to sound like someone else, or use language that feels inauthentic or forced.

Focus on your inspiration and process: An artist statement is an opportunity to share the stories, experiences, and concepts that inspire your work. It should also provide insight into your creative process, including the materials, techniques, and methods you use to create your art.

Explain the meaning behind your work: An artist statement should provide context for your artwork and explain the deeper meanings or themes that you are exploring.

Tell us how your chosen study/training/development opportunity will benefit you as an artist. Explain your goals and what specific skills and/or projects you will be working on.

Edit and revise: Like any writing, an artist statement should be edited and revised to ensure that it is clear, concise, and well-written. Consider asking your instructor, mentor, or friend to review your statement and provide feedback.

3. Refine your Artist Resume.

Keep your resume up-to-date and try to keep it to two pages.  If you are senior-level artist, you do not need to include your junior-level experiences in great detail.  Ensure you acknowledge instructors, choreographers, composers, mentors, etc that you have worked or collaborated with. 

Some tips in writing a strong Artist Resume: 

Use a clear and simple format: Keep the design and layout of your resume clear and straightforward. Use standard fonts and make sure that the information is presented in a logical order.

Highlight your achievements: Focus on your accomplishments and awards in your resume. Mention any exhibitions, shows, or competitions where your work has been featured.

Include your education and training: Mention your educational background, including any degrees, certifications, or workshops that you have completed.

Showcase your skills and techniques: Highlight your artistic skills and techniques that make you unique. Mention any mediums you work with or specialized techniques you employ.

Keep it concise: Keep your resume concise and to the point. Avoid using overly technical language or jargon that may not be familiar to the reader.

We are here to support you!  If you need help with your artist statement or any part of your application, reach out to us. 


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Want to support the next generation of Nova Scotian artists? Donate today!

Thursday, April 6, 2023

Devin Huang wins Rose Bowl Competition at Kiwanis Music Festival

Devin Huang is a 16-year-old emerging musician who received his first Talent Trust scholarship in 2017 at only 10 years of age.  Devin studies piano with Professor Lynn Stodola, a highly regarded musician and private instructor who has taught and mentored some of Nova Scotia's top pianists.

Kiwanis Music Festival competitions have been ongoing since March 28.  Devin competed in the 2023 Doctor Piano and Yamaha Canada Piano Rose Bowl Competition on April 2nd, along with Lucy Zhang and fellow Talent Trust scholarship recipient Alex Yang.

The competition was adjudicated by Dr. Jarred Dunn and St. Stephen Runge. The recipient of this prestigious award is Devin Huang! Runner-up with the Kiwanis Club of Dartmouth Award is Alex Yang. Congratulations to both Devin and Alex!

Devin has been a regular participant in numerous Nova Scotia Kiwanis Music Festivals, and also won the Dr. Piano and Yamaha Canada Rose Bowl in 2020 and 2022. He is not the only Talent Trust scholarship recipient to take home this title. Lala Lee (2015, 2017), Andrew Son (2018), Jacob MacDonald (2019), and Alex Yang (2021) were also winners of this award.

Although it is early in Devin's musical career, he has a long list of achievements and accolades for his outstanding talents. In 2022, he took home the Debut Atlantic Award for Musical Excellence. In 2021, Devin represented Nova Scotia at the Federation of Canadian Music Festivals National Competition, winning First Prize in the Emerging Artist Piano Division.  He also competed in the Canadian Federation of Music Teachers’ Association Piano Competition, winning the Third Prize as well as the Chopin Award. In August 2020, Devin was named one of Canada’s hot “30 under 30” classical musicians by CBC Music.

Congratulations, Devin!

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Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Minimal Romantics: Hsiu-Ping Patrick Wu's Boston Debut Recital

Taiwanese-born Canadian Hsiu-Ping (Patrick) Wu is an award-winning composer, violinist, multimedia artist, and 2022 Talent Trust scholarship and special award recipient.  In addition to composing, Patrick is an active violinist, performing solos, chamber music and orchestral repertoire. 

Patrick is preparing for his Boston debut recital, Minimal Romantics.  This exciting evening will include a range of Patrick's works performed by talented musicians, including the Gaia Quartet.  

The event takes place Saturday, March 18, 8PM at Arlington Street Church in Boston, MA.

Event Description: 

Taiwanese-Canadian violinist-composer Hsiu-Ping Patrick Wu is constantly on the search for musical language on different sides of the spectrum. Like his multifaceted identity, Wu’s music ranges from the style of neo-romanticism to avant-garde soundscapes, fusing theatrical elements and improvisational techniques.

Recital Program:
Prelude - solo piano
Trio de Mémoire - flute, violin, piano
Fading Memories - horn, violin, viola, cello
The End of the Beginning - string quartet
Souvenir - solo violin
Neon Vanish - flute, clarinet, alto saxophone, trumpet
L'Étranger - violin, cello, piano
Canvas Study - alto saxophone, electric guitar, vibraphone, piano
Portraits - flute, clarinet, violin, cello, vibraphone, piano

Fee: Pay what you can

Click here for tickets

Patrick is currently pursuing a Graduate Diploma in Composition at Longy School of Music of Bard College, where he holds his Master of Music in Composition and Violin Performance. He earned his Bachelor of Music from the Fountain School of Performing Arts, Dalhousie University.

"Being a Taiwanese- Canadian musician in the United States, I often find myself struggling to define my culture and music. While having studied Traditional Chinese and Indian music, my music is primarily composed in Western notation. I like to compose memorable motifs, or circle around a tonal centre. In recent years, I am trying to compose music that are both inspired by my Taiwanese and Canadian heritage." 

- Hsiu-Ping Patrick Wu

For more about Patrick, his work, and performances, please visit his website

Click the video below to enjoy Trio de Mémoire for Flute, Violin and Piano (2018/2022), an original composition featured in the recital.

Flute: Maya Johnson Violin: Yi Tang Piano: Yunhao Jiang Recorded on March 13th, 2022 at Edward M. Pickman Hall, Longy School of Music of Bard College.

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Thursday, March 9, 2023

Hailey Coates to be Featured Soloist at Fountain School's Concerto Night

Hailey Coates is currently studying flute performance at the Dalhousie University Fountain School of Performing Arts and received a Talent Trust scholarship in 2022. Having started private flute lessons in 2015, Hailey has studied with Kim Breilien, Denis Bluteau, and currently Christine Feierabend. She also studies piano privately. 

Hailey is in her fourth year with the NSYO and is the principal flute of the Nova Scotia Youth Orchestra and the Dalhousie Symphony Orchestra. During her eight years of playing she has performed in many ensembles including women’s choir, marching band, jazz band, flute choir, drumline, several wind ensembles, and most recently a wind quintet. In these ensembles, she has played flute, piccolo, alto, tenor, and baritone sax, oboe, bass drum, auxiliary percussion, trumpet, mellophone, and more. Hailey loves playing music and will pick up an instrument any time she gets the chance. 

She currently offers private flute and piano lessons, in addition to teaching flute at the Scotia Suzuki School of Music and Joyful Sounds Music Studio. 

Hailey has performed in Washington Music Educators Association solo competitions, unaccompanied flute in the Oak Harbor Music Festival in 2017, the Chamber Players Series at the Peggy Corkum Music Room in 2021, for the Women For Music committee in September 2022, and will soon perform in Dalhousie Symphony Orchestra’s own Concerto Competition in March 2023. 

Conducted by Leonardo Perez and Peter Allen, the Fountain School's Concerto Night will be held at the Rebecca Cohn Auditorium on Tuesday, March 21, 2023 at 7:30pm. Click here to purchase tickets

This musical extravaganza features outstanding student soloists with a talented young orchestra. Popular concerti and arias by Bruch, Beethoven, Kabalevsky, Mozart and many more are performed under the direction of Leonardo Perez and Peter Allen. Featured soloists this year are Mary Austin, Caroline Boulter, Chloe Dionne, Victoria Dubois, Shanti Sivarulrasa, James Thomas, Hailey Coates, Madeline Maitzen, Charise Catarina Pohl, and Josh Robinson. The concert also features a premiere of an orchestral work by composition student Dylan Hay. 

Click below for Hailey's beautiful performance "Chaminade's Concertino, Op. 107" in October 2022.

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