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                              The following is an excerpt from the Saskatchewan Music Festival Association Annual Report.  For the                                    full article, please go to the SMFA website - News and Events - 2022 Annual Report - Godwin’s                                               Testimonial (page 24).  Sask Valley Music Festival is honored to have been a part of Godwin’s musical                                      journey!


Godwin Friesen grew up making music with his eight-person family, touring Canada and recording three albums. In 2015 he placed first in piano at the National Music Festival and in 2019 he won The Glenn Gould School (GGS) Concerto Competition. Last June, he won second prize at the PianoArts North American Competition in Milwaukee, having also earned Best Performance of a Composition by Bach. He also participated in the 2022 Dublin International Piano Competition, advancing as far as the quarterfinals.


Godwin has performed concertos with several orchestras including the Milwaukee, Regina, and Saskatoon Symphony Orchestras, as well as an orchestra of his fellow students whom he directed from the piano. This fall his piano trio, which recently won the GGS Chamber Competition, participated in the Trondheim International Chamber Music Academy in Norway.


Godwin’s compositions have been performed by a youth orchestra, a children’s choir and other small ensembles. Godwin completed a bachelor’s degree and an Artist Diploma at the GGS with John O’Conor, and is now pursuing a master’s degree at the Université de Montréal with Henry Kramer.


In Godwin’s words: I have lived in four different provinces, so when people ask me where I’m from, there isn’t a simple answer. But I recently started taking advantage of the useful idiom, “formative years,” to explain how Saskatchewan was the province where I really developed as a musician, setting me up to keep growing to where I am today and beyond. Being able to study with Bonnie Nicholson during those five years was one of the most significant reasons for that development and so was my participation in the various music festivals and competitions in Saskatchewan, thanks to her encouragement.


My first experiences were in the Sask Valley Music Festival, at age thirteen, when I had no idea how I might rank in comparison with other pianists. The encouragement that I got from the results that year, including being sent to provincials and winning (which I couldn’t have imagined possible) encouraged me to keep being ambitious and participating year after year. One of those early years, I remember being picked up by snowmobile to get to the festival in Waldheim because of a snowstorm; I enjoyed participating so much that the strange commute was worth it.

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