Edward Philip Oscapella Scholarship in Music

Established and endowed in 2002 in loving memory of Ed Oscapella by his family and friends for promising students entering the Major in Performance in the Bachelor of Music Program in the School of Music. Preference should be given, but the award/s should not be limited to, students of piano or violin.

Edward Philip Oscapella was born in Stratford, Ontario on August 9, 1951 to talented and hard-working parents who instilled in him a sense of confidence and ambition that was evident from his earliest years. He started playing the piano at age four and also tried his hand at other instruments throughout his childhood years. In fact, a favourite family photograph shows a 12-year-old Ed in full hockey gear lugging a bass fiddle, which was as big as he was, to hockey practice (since his school orchestra rehearsal was immediately afterward)!

Ed aspired to be a concert pianist and studied with Josephine Parrot of Oshawa, Ontario winning numerous local music festivals (the family had moved to Oshawa in 1961). In 1970 he was accepted at the University of Toronto as a student of Anton Kuerti, who called him one of his most gifted students. There, Ed’s entrepreneurial talents emerged in the form of concert production. He didn’t think there were enough performance opportunities for him and his fellow students so he created them, producing a weekly recital series at the Oshawa Public Library (that ran for two years) and other concerts at various venues in and around Toronto. 

On completing his university studies Ed was selected from a field of over 200 applicants to receive the Ontario Arts Council’s first grant to support the creation of an artists’ management agency. He founded Oscapella Concerts and represented a roster of classical artists including fellow student Liona Boyd.  His subsequent 25-year career was devoted to the arts in Canada: he worked as a senior arts administrator at the Canada Council; Haber Artists; Toronto Dance Theatre; The Grand Theatre (London, Ontario); Vancouver Symphony; Anna Wyman Dance Theatre and the Canadian Craft Museum. 

In 1990, Ed was appointed Executive Producer of Ceremonies and Culture for the 1994 Commonwealth Games in Victoria. He was responsible for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies (which were broadcast worldwide), the nightly Harbour Festival in downtown Victoria, and an Arts and Cultural Festival which provided over $800,000 to local arts groups.

After the Games and until his death from cancer on April 22, 2001, Ed was a partner with his wife Ann Tanner in an arts management and event consultancy called Oscapella Tanner Creative Concepts. Many tributes were written about Ed following his death praising his creativity, business acumen and unique sense of humour. This note from Max Wyman of the Vancouver Sun captures the essence of the man:  “Ed was a remarkable man – a genuine original who fitted no formula:  clever and smart and funny and clear-eyed.” 


The Edward Philip Oscapella Scholarship in Music was founded by Ed’s wife Ann Tanner and their two children, Tanner Oscapella and Lauren Oscapella. Ed married Ann in Toronto in 1983. Tanner and Lauren were both born in Vancouver --Tanner in 1987 and Lauren in 1990. The family moved to Victoria in 1992. Ann shares her husband’s love of the arts and was his partner in their home-based arts management and event consultancy, Oscapella Tanner Creative Concepts Inc.  Ed regularly accompanied his son Tanner for his violin recitals and festival performances and coached his daughter Lauren with her choir and flute studies.

Also, knowing a bit about Ed’s parents helps to explain his commitment to the arts and his many talents — his incredible musicianship, acute intellect and creativity, and skilful entrepreneurism. Ed’s father was Edward Oscapella Sr., born of Polish and Ukrainian immigrants in 1915. He grew up on a farm in Milton, Ontario and although farm responsibilities occupied a great deal of his time, music was always his calling. He studied violin, participated in music festivals and, when war broke out and he found himself landing on the beaches of Italy, he was in great demand as a performer for the troops. After the war he completed his musical studies at the Royal Conservatory and joined the Stratford Festival Orchestra. In 1960 he moved the family to Oshawa where he became a music teacher, travelling from school to school for 21 years. He also had a full roster of instrumental students whom he taught in his home studio and was in turn concertmaster and conductor of the Oshawa Community Orchestra. Ed Sr. liked nothing better than to pull out his violin to play duets with his son Ed or to join friends in impromptu fiddling. Music was even behind his first meeting with his future wife, Elisabeth Groh, at the Royal Conservatory (where she studied viola). 

Elisabeth came to Canada when she was a child from a German community in the former Yugoslavia. Her family settled in Toronto and she married Ed Sr. in 1950.  Elisabeth’s talents as an accomplished tailor and fashion designer were honed early with mandatory needlework and sewing as a child. She was head of the Bridal Department at Simpsons and travelled regularly to New York as a buyer. She worked in the costume department at the Stratford Festival (in its early years when it was still in a tent) and sewed costumes for Christopher Plummer, Bruno Gerussi and Douglas Campbell among others. After the move to Oshawa she taught pattern drafting and design at Centennial College for 25 years. 

The Oscapella household was always a going concern, from Ed Sr.’s violin students and Ed’s many long hours of practice on the family piano to Elisabeth’s sewing and fashion projects. Ed’s younger brother Eugene (now a lawyer in Ottawa) learned to study with earphones! Ed Sr. passed away in 1989 and Elisabeth in 2018.

Ann married Scott McDonald in 2007 and together they continue to support this scholarship.

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