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Michelle Mourre wins $8,000 conducting award

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A former Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra conductor-in-residence has won an $8,000 conducting award from the Ontario Arts Council.

Michelle Mourre received the biennial Heinz Unger Award in Toronto earlier this week.

The prize is given to an "emerging professional conductor who has experience at a professional, semi-professional and/or community orchestra," according to an OAC news release.

Mourre, 37, is currently the artistic director of the Brandon Chamber Players, though she resides in Winnipeg with her husband, WSO principal cellist Yuri Hooker, and their two children.

"The recognition is very nice," Mourre said on Thursday.

"It was an honour to be chosen by such a prestigious panel of musicians and composers."

The Heinz judges were Glenn Buhr, a former WSO composer in residence, Gwen Hoebig, current WSO concert master, Chan Ka Nin, composer and professor, and Marc David, principal conductor of the Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra.

Mourre served as the WSO's conductor-in-residence from 2003 to 2006. She debuted with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra in April 2009.

In May, she is slated to conduct a classics concert with the Greater Grand Forks Symphony.

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