Kathleen Renne talks to Stephen McHolm
Stephen McHolm has been the chief artistic and administrative officer of The Esther Honens International Piano Competition Foundation (Honens) since 2004. His vision of discovering 21” century artists for 21 century audiences and his commitment to the development of emerging artists have positioned the Foundation as a distinct world leader. Today Honens awards the largest cash prize and most comprehensive artistic and career development program of any international music competition of its kind.
McHolm’s innovative business model, which includes donor chapters across Canada, and national and international strategic partnerships with businesses and diverse arts organizations, has increased earned and contributed revenues by more than 65 per cent since 2004, allowing Honens to become one of Canada’s farthest-reaching arts organizations. Its profile continues to grow under McHolm’s guidance through commissions, premieres and Laureate debuts on the world’s most prestigious stages, including those of the Berlin Phitharmonie, New York’s Carnegie Hall and Wigmore Hall in London.
Music and the arts have been central to McHolm’s life since an early age. He studied piano through the Western Ontario Conservatory of Music from age five, was a producer and host for campus radio and researched models of arts funding and the emergence of corporate sponsorship in Canada for his degree in Communications from the University of Ottawa. He also received a certificate in arts administration from Edmonton’s Grant MacEwan College.
McHolm’s career in arts administration began at the Canadian Arts Presenting Association (CAPACOA), a national service organization for the performing arts’ presenting and touring sector. Through CAPACOA he met his mentor, Andrew Raehurn, who was then President of the Honens Foundation. Raeburn recruited him as Honens’ Artistic Administrator in 1998. McHolm was named one of Calgary’s ‘Top 40 under 40’ by Calgary Inc. Magazine in 2003 and Board Vice President of CAPACOA for 2008 and 2009. He is now a Vice President of the Geneva-based World Federation of International Music Competitions, a member of the International Music Council of UNESCO.