2016-2017 Wirth Vocal Prize Finalists

Jean-Philippe Mc Clish

Headshot of J.P. Mc Clish

Why did you choose to study at the Schulich School of Music?

1) First of all I wanted to create a team around me that can help me improve and guide me on my artistic path, a team that I can trust even, as we say in French, with closed eyes! Before coming to McGill I had my vocal coach and artistic father, Martin Dubé, and I was working in private with Michael McMahon who invited me to study at McGill. At that time I was in Québec city and I took the bus every two weeks to work with Michael. When I asked Martin how I should continue singing, he told me that I needed to study with Dominique Labelle if I go to McGill. I didn’t apply to any school to do my Masters because I didn’t have enough money, but thankfully I got lucky and someone dear to me helped me financially. I followed what Martin told me and I do not regret it since I have come to meet so many people who could help me grow artistically. I am so happy to have such a good team around me with Martin Dubé, Dominique Labelle, Patrick Hansen and Michael McMahon, and many others.

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Where do you call home?

2) I call Québec city home, because that is where I am from and that is where my family and friends live. I miss walking in the old part of the city and I love seeing the castle with the river and the mountains all around. I miss sometimes the friendly people and ambiance of the city and I love the fact that it only takes 10 minutes to drive from the city to be in the country. When I go back home and arrive at the bridge, and I see the river and all the beautiful things in Quebec, I really feel like I am at home!

Other than on stage or in the practice room, where might one find you?

3) I can say that I have a kind of routine, which I think it is really important if we want to have a career. When I am not at school practicing I am mostly at home doing that routine. Every evening after dinner I go into my room, close the door and look at my score for two hours without singing. After I might play a video game, or read or watch a TV show to calm my mind because I cannot sleep if I go to bed right after looking at my scores. My mind is thinking too much then and too busy. I also like to go to the gym, about four times a week. I go to the McGill gym when I finish school early, before I go home and I also go to a gym close by my house.

What is one unexpected talent or pastime that you have?

4) I really love to cook. When I was 13 years old my father obligated me to go work, so I got a job washing dishes in a restaurant which gave me sense of responsibility. At sixteen years old I was promoted to become a cook and at twenty one I was a sous-chef. Now I use those skills as a hobby and I enjoy making dinners at my place for my friends and to see their satisfaction!

What would it mean to you to be named the winner of the Wirth Vocal Prize?

5) To win the Wirth Competition would be an amazing encouragement. It illustrates that all the hard work I have done has paid off and that I need to continue to work and grow. On the other hand, to not win the competition means that I have still come very far, and that I need to continue working and growing that much harder. I am a guy who when a door closes I open another. When I got refused for some things in the past, I just told myself ‘Well, which project can I do now?’ I started back at square one and tried again, since I believe that these setbacks have taught me perseverance, and I believe that the hard times have made me stronger! I firmly believe that is all about a point of view!!


Simone Mcintosh (winner)

Headshot of S. McIntosh

Why did you choose to study at the Schulich School of Music?

Throughout Canada, McGill’s Schulich School of Music consistently ranks as one of the best, if not, the best music school, so it has always been a school I’ve aspired to attend. I decided to come to McGill because of the wealth of knowledge in all genres of classical singing: Early music, contemporary, art song, opera, and so much more. I am fortunate enough to have the most wonderful teachers, coaches and mentors to guide me through my education and help me grow as a singer and artist.

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Where do you call home?

I am originally from Vancouver, but have lived in five different cities including Toronto and Montreal. At this point, I cannot say which city I consider home, as I’ve loved living in each city for very different reasons. As a rather social person, I would say that home for me is where my friends and family are (cliché, I know), which could be in almost any city I go to.

Other than on stage or in the practice room, where might one find you?

If we’re not including home, I would likely be out for coffee, beer, or dinner with some friends or my wonderful boyfriend.

What is one unexpected talent or pastime that you have?

I LOVE knitting, crochet, sewing, and fashion design in general. My family is extremely crafty, and it has definitely been passed along the generations. If I weren’t a singer, I could imagine myself designing clothes and sewing… But hey! I don’t see why I couldn’t be a fashion designing opera singer!

What would it mean to you to be named the winner of the Wirth Vocal Prize?

It would be such an honour to be named the winner! It would be an incredible opportunity to help launch my career as I graduate from the Master’s in Opera and Voice program. Whatever the outcome, I am so thankful to have been a participant of the competition, and would have to attribute a huge portion of that to the wonderful program and faculty at the Schulich School of Music.


Igor Mostovoi

Headshot of I. MostovoiWhy did you choose to study at the Schulich School of Music?

When I came to Canada I knew that classical music exists but I didn’t know a lot about it. The passion I had was for singing and performing. I heard that McGill is the best place to study music in Canada and after listening to singers who were studying at the Schulich School of Music at that time I was very impressed and wanted to try myself. I applied, auditioned and was very lucky to be accepted and to have people who helped me through that period of my life which I am very thankful for. It was a life changing time.

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Where do you call home?

Home for me is the place where I have my family and friends who always wait, support and love me and where I feel myself comfortable and can be myself without hiding my emotions, happiness or sadness.

Other than on stage or in the practice room, where might one find you?


On the metro going from home to school and the other way around. (Joking) You can find me in the gym, walking or biking in the parks, sometimes listening to jazz concerts and other types of music. I love walking through old parts of different cities, so old port in Montreal would be the place too.

What is one unexpected talent or pastime you have?


I studied and competed in Martial Arts for 6 years.

What would it mean to you to be named the winner of the Wirth Vocal Prize?


Winning any competition is a result of collaboration and hard work between singer and his or her teachers and mentors, as well as support of the family. My teachers and mentors are very kind and patient with me and my family is extremely supportive about everything I am doing. To be named winner of the Wirth Vocal Prize would be thanking these people for all their hard work, patience and support.