Discover Canada 2015 – 3rd edition of the National Contest on Canada for High School Students


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The semifinals of Discover Canada 2016 were held on March 11, 2016 at the Institute of English Cultures and Literatures, at 12:00 p.m., lecture hall 0.5. Thirty-five students selected from 1138 students participated in the second stage of the Discover Canada 2016 contest, which is a joint project of the Institute of English Cultures and Literatures and I Liceum Ogólnokształcące in Żory. The participants of the second stage of the contest wrote an essay on one of the eight Canadian Studies topics, which were announced before the contest, as well as a test about Canadian culture, history, politics, and current affairs.

The event began with a lecture entitled “That Nut’s a Genius: Glenn Gould’s Legacy” by Jarred Dunn (Toronto, Canada), a pianist, recitalist, chamber musician, and soloist with orchestras. His career includes invitations to perform in Poland, Hungary, Spain, Malta, United States, Canada, and Australia. Currently, Jarred Dunn lives in Poland and is doing research into the acoustics of Auschwitz-Birkenau and music during the Holocaust at the Karol Szymanowski Academy of Music in Katowice, Poland. He is also a passionate piano teacher, educator, mentor, and has lectured in Canada, the United States, and Australia.

In his engaging lecture Jarred Dunn spoke about the musical accomplishments and influence of Glenn Gold on music in Canada. He also gave the students a completely new perspective on Gould’s life as “he was famous for doing exactly the opposite of his contemporaries” (Jarred Dunn). However, his opposition to authority was also part of his training, as he studied with a great teacher who constantly disagreed with Gould’s personal style of playing, which was singing, humming, and flamboyant gestures. Dunn emphasized that Gould’s main legacy is the way Gould questioned the tradition of concert playing – he had a great disdain for popular piano music (Chopin, Schumann) and created an unconventional discography. He also had no interest in developing his career as a concert pianist: “it is a dead life and irrelevant to the real world” (Dunn). At the end of his lecture, Dunn posed many questions to the students about the nature of criticism, what we have learned to treat as ‘normal,’ or to put it more simply, “why do I have to do it that way?” (Dunn).

The patronage of the contest was accepted by the Ministry of National Education, the Canadian Embassy in Poland, the Polish Consulate in Toronto, the President of the University of Silesia Prof. zw. dr hab. Wiesław Banyś, the President of the City of Żory, and the Chief Education Officer in Katowice.The University coordinator of the Discover Canada 2015 contest is dr. hab. Eugenia Sojka, Head of the Canadian Studies Centre.
Fourteen students were selected for the Finals of Discover Canada 2016 which will take place in June 2-4, 2016. Attractive prizes await the winners of the contest, including the admission to the Institute of English Cultures and Literatures and the Institute of English Language   (after graduation from high school), and high financial awards (3000 PLN for the first prize, 2000 PLN for the second, and 1000 PLN for the third one – sponsored by the President of the City of Zory).

More information of the contest can be found at: http://www.mt-oka.pl/